Gaining academy status heralds independence from your local authority (LA) and its regulations. However, it also brings about increased responsibilities from the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) in terms of audits and financial data.
Join us in the Business, Finance & Benchmarking Open Theatre at The Academies Show in Birmingham on November 23rd 2016 to find out more about a range of topics relevant to School Business Managers, Finance Managers and Directors and school accountancy teams.
After a school has converted into an academy, the LA is no longer responsible for submitting financial, audit and accounts data to the Government pertaining to education and business spend at the school. In order to comply with laws and regulations, an academy – or Academy Trust – must submit its financial data before a determined deadline in order to avoid fines or disciplinary action.
Academies are responsible for submitting a statement of financial activities, as well as disclosure of payments to trustees and other Governors. As academies have greater financial freedom than maintained school, they are culpable for their own accounting systems, with a qualified accountant or school finance manager taking on the role.
Previously, a designated Responsible Officer (RO) was in charge of ensuring all information was accurate and correct in line with the EFA’s guidelines, however the 2013 policy update stipulated the need for no such role, with the existence of an audit committee – comprised of School Governors and financial staff – assuming the role from then on. This forces increased accountability on the academy, and staff may require specialist study in order to fulfil the role, increasing training spend within the school, and placing all responsibility – however alien – upon the chosen staff member.
The statements submitted by the audit committee must clearly illustrate to the Government the academy or Trust’s financial performance over the academic year in terms of how much money and other resources were accepted and utilised by the school, as well as the academy’s financial positioning at the close of the school year, and how much it is now perceived to be worth. This information is used by the Government to assess each academy’s accounts management as well as to predict a financial forecast – both for and alongside the school’s – for the upcoming 12 months.
To find out more, and to register for your free ticket to The Academies Show in Birmingham on November 23rd 2016, click here.
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