The academies programme has expanded rapidly giving schools significant freedoms in excess of those given to maintained schools. Whilst this presents exciting opportunities for schools looking to convert to academies, there are also a number of challenges ahead for them, including a new accounting and financial reporting regime and dealing with the requirements of the department for education and other regulatory responsibilities. It is therefore important that academies consult early in the process and choose advisers who have the experience and expertise to help them meet these challenges and add value for them going forward.
Ribchesters is one of the leading charity advisers in our region and beyond. Members of our specialist charities and education team, led by David Holloway (DChA), have the experience and expertise to help academies meet their new challenges and responsibilities.
The services we are able to offer include the following:
Considering the transition to academy status
We can advise on the financial and regulatory issues facing schools considering a move to academy status.
Preparing for conversion
In the run up to conversion we can advise on the following issues:
- The accounting practicalities of dealing with the conversion, including dealing with the surplus or deficit at conversion and valuation and accounting treatment of transferred assets (and liabilities)
- Establishing and advising on key financial policies and procedures
- Setting up accounting systems and choosing appropriate accounting software
- The requirements of the Academies Financial Handbook and the Funding Agreement with the Department of Education
- Setting up a payroll scheme
- Considering pension issues
- Considering banking arrangements
- The responsibilities of governors
We can assist you post conversion to operate a standalone finance function, assisting you to run the new academy effectively and to meet your new regulatory responsibilities. Our services include:
- Preparation of annual accounts in the required format
- Annual audit of the accounts
- Payroll bureau service
- Pension scheme certificates
- Ongoing advice and support on accounting issues, including preparation of budgets, business plans, management accounts and returns to the relevant Department for Education agency
- VAT recovery and compliance advice, particularly relating to property transactions and ancillary “trading” income
- Advice on other taxes such as corporation tax and employment tax
- Training and guidance for governors and finance team, including Accounting Officer, Principal Finance Officer and Responsible Officer requirements.