Government policy has led to a flood of state schools converting to academy status.
The independence granted and opportunities arising are an exciting prospect for many governors and school heads. However, the additional responsibilities, risks and financial implications will be daunting for many. As auditors and advisors to academies, we offer a range of services to support you on your journey.
Preparing for financial and regulatory compliance
Converting to academy status necessarily gives rise to many financial and regulatory matters which must be addressed. You should plan to ensure these are dealt with effectively and at the appropriate time. We can help you identify your requirements and their priority which will include:
- Establishing the financial position on change of status, including the value of property and other assets and the transfer of surplus funds relating to the former school.
- Setting up your accounting systems and chart of accounts.
- Developing key board policies such as accounting policies, risk management, reserves policy, investment policy, conflicts of interest, governor recruitment, induction and training, fraud prevention and whistle blowing policies.
- Establish financial regulations and procedures.
- Fulfilling company secretarial duties under company law, including completing statutory documents for board changes, annual return and annual general meeting.
- Guidance for governors on their roles and responsibilities as charity trustees and company directors.
- Terms of reference for committees.
- Interpreting and accounting for the Local Government Pension Scheme year end actuarial valuation.
- Ensure Responsible Officer duties are fulfilled.
- VAT - ensure the school is compliant with HMRC requirements.
We can help you with any of the above issues, depending on your need.
Support for your finance team
Academy status dramatically increases the responsibilities of the finance team, which becomes independent from Local Authority support. Many academies will need additional financial skills and assistance to adequately support management and governors, whilst meeting new regulatory requirements. We can provide help in a number of ways such as:
- Preparation of budgets and regular management accounts.
- Completion of Teachers’ Pension Scheme annual return.
- Payroll bureau service.
- Preparation and submission of returns to Young People's Learing Agency such as Whole of Government Accounts information.
- Completing Responsible Officer reports.
- On going advice and guidance on any issues relating to finance and accounting.
- Preparation of the annual statutory accounts
Academies have a legal responsibility to prepare annual statutory accounts that comply with legal and regulatory requirements. These accounts must be filed at Companies House and Young People's Learing Agency. Preparing these accounts is an onerous task, particularly your first set. We can prepare accounts from the school’s trial balance and management information, ensuring compliance with the Academies Financial Handbook.
We can also help draft your trustees’ annual report, including the policies to be disclosed on reserves and risk management.
Preparation of the annual statutory accounts
Academies have a legal responsibility to prepare annual statutory accounts that comply with legal and regulatory requirements. These accounts must be filed at Companies House and Young People’s Learning Agency. Preparing these accounts is an onerous task, particularly your first set. We can prepare accounts from the school’s trial balance and management information, ensuring compliance with the Academies Accounts Direction 2010/11. We can also help draft your Trustees’ Annual report, including the policies to be disclosed on reserves and risk management.
Statutory audit services
Chantrey Vellacott DFK already provides audit services to a number of academies. Our high calibre team can provide you with a tailored service for a very competitive fee.
Taxation and VAT issues
Our team is highly experienced in advising on VAT issues facing the academy and wider charity sector. We have improved the VAT positions of many organisations by developing more appropriate VAT recovery methods and ensuring the most beneficial VAT arrangements are in place. We can provide advice that will minimise the tax or VAT burden on the academy relating to its operations or any property developments.
We can offer you:
- Advice on your approach to tax governance, tax compliance and management of your tax risk and your relationship with HMRC.
- Advice on your structure to ensure you qualify for all relevant tax exemptions and reliefs.
- Insights into the latest tax authority thinking and major developments affecting academies and the impact on your tax systems.
- Support in configuring your accounting systems to make the tax compliance process more efficient and robust.
- Advice on claims and elections.
- Advice on cost sharing agreements in group situations.
- Advice on employment tax matters.