Responding to COVID-19: insight, support and guidance

Easing the pressure: the incentive for early accounts closedown


In this Insight CIPFA examines what the future finance department will need to do to adhere to expected prompt financial reporting and to deliver good practice in terms of quality and efficiency.








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Local government is used to accounting in a complex system of rules for reporting, monitoring, governance and scrutiny. Finance teams may spend months looking back, consolidating and finalising the accounts that summarise what the organisation has been doing in the last year. 

With pressure on the sector to save money many are looking to find ways to enable them to spend more time looking to the future, and giving priority to planning. The drive to submit audited accounts early is not new but the Accounts and Audit regulations 2015 require authorities in England and Wales to approve and publish their accounts by 31 July, bringing the current turnaround forward by a month. Austerity measures and changes in funding streams have led to organisations rethinking how and why they do things. Finding a way to deliver signed off accounts early could save staff from endless hours reviewing previous spend and freeing them up to plan ahead. 

This Insight considers ways of designing a new normal for the future finance team.