CIPFA urges academies to manage their finances as effectively as their teaching


Academies should access the right expertise to make sure that they manage their finances as effectively as they manage their teaching, according to the Chartered Institute of Public Finance and Accountancy (CIPFA).

In response to a survey released this week, which suggests that three quarters of academies do not require financial advice from councils, CIPFA is urging academies to access guidance and support from expert sources to make sure that their financial management is professionally managed.

Schools converting to academy status are free to implement their own financial management systems and so far every academy has opted to leave responsibility for financial management with a member of staff employed directly by the school.

However, according to CIPFA’s Academies Survey, only one in five academies are members of support networks or consortia. Without some form of external support there is a risk that academies will not be able to ensure effective governance practices. 

To support academies in establishing and managing their finances effectively, CIPFA is offering publications and toolkits; training and accredited courses; and membership of advisory and network services.

CIPFA has so far received over 500 applications to the new NCSL/CIPFA Financial Reporting for Academies Certificate, and is currently recruiting to its second cohort of students on the NASBM/CIPFA Finance Training for School Business Managers course.

Adrian Pulham, Education and Membership Director at CIPFA, commented,

“Academies are keen to deliver first-rate education, but they should recognise that first-rate public financial management is crucial in running effective schools. CIPFA’s new services aim to give academies the support and expertise they need to ensure that their money is spent on delivering high-quality education.”



CIPFA Press Office
T: 020 7543 5600

Notes to editors


  • There are currently over 1,300 existing academies and a further 1,500 schools are applying for academy status.


  • Once status is achieved these schools are effectively left to their own devices in terms of financial management with freedom from local authority control.


  • The survey released this week, and the ‘three quarters’ figure on financial advice, come from The Key’s survey.


  • Further statistics in this release come from the interim results of CIPFA’s Academies Survey
    • 92.6% (50 respondents) of academies said that responsibility for financial management lay with a bursar/business/finance manager employed by the school.
    • A further 7.4% (4 respondents) replied by ticking the ‘other’ box, 3 saying that responsibility lay with a Director of Finance or other school employee. The fourth respondent indicated that the academy is not yet at the stage where it needs to consider overall financial responsibility.
    • 79.6% (43 respondents) of academies indicated that they are not members of support networks or consortia compared to 20.4% (11 respondents) who are.


  • National Association of School Business Management asked CIPFA to prepare a proposal looking at options for the delivery of finance training to School Business Managers across the country which would be aligned to the competency guidance document produced by NASBM and the National College which led to the creation of the CIPFA Accredited Finance Training. NASBM site.


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CIPFA, the Chartered Institute of Public Finance and Accountancy, is the professional body for people in public finance. Our 14,000 members work throughout the public services, in national audit agencies, in major accountancy firms, and in other bodies where public money needs to be effectively and efficiently managed. As the world’s only professional accountancy body to specialise in public services, CIPFA’s portfolio of qualifications are the foundation for a career in public finance. They include the benchmark professional qualification for public sector accountants as well as a postgraduate diploma for people already working in leadership positions. They are taught by our in-house CIPFA Education and Training Centre as well as other places of learning around the world. We also champion high performance in public services, translating our experience and insight into clear advice and practical services. They include information and guidance, courses and conferences, property and asset management solutions, consultancy and interim people for a range of public sector clients. Globally, CIPFA shows the way in public finance by standing up for sound public financial management and good governance. We work with donors, partner governments, accountancy bodies and the public sector around the world to advance public finance and support better public services. This includes the development of local professional qualifications in African countries like Lesotho and Nigeria and in Europe in post conflict states in the Balkans.