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Accounting for academies

Published: 15 Sep 2016 Updated: 06 Feb 2024 Update History

Accounting for academy schools is a specialist area that requires expertise and an understanding of the sector. On this page you can access a range of articles, books and online resources providing quick links to guidance and background knowledge.


Academies Accounts Direction
Annually updated supplement to the Academy Trust Handbook published by the Education and Skills Funding Agency. Topics include:

  • summary of the financial reporting requirements
  • guidance on the preparation of the annual report and the financial statements
  • model accounts for academy trusts
  • framework and guide for external auditors and reporting accountants of academy trusts

Academies: Funding, payments and compliance
Collection of detailed guidance and documents from the Education and Skills Funding Agency, covering:

  • academies governance and financial assurance
  • academies financial returns
  • support for academy trusts
  • revenue funding and payments
  • academies compliance
  • new academies information
  • capital funding and estate management

Academy Trust Handbook (also known as the Academies Financial Handbook)
Annual guide produced by the Education and Skills Funding Academy which trusts are required to comply with as a condition of their funding agreement. Provides a framework for the implementation of effective financial management and other controls including guidance on annual accounts and external audit.

Academy trust financial management good practice guides
A series of guides produced by the Education and Skills Funding Academy aimed at trustees, accounting officers, principals/executive leaders and chief financial officers. Covering a range of areas, the guides outline good practice in academy trust financial management and assurance.

Communication with academy auditors 2021
Documentation from the National Audit Office, published in May 2022. The guide clarifies an academy auditor's role in the Department for Education's Academies Sector Annual Report & Account (SARA), the NAO's expectation of them and the risks of material misstatement in the group financial statements.

Useful links

Kreston Academies Benchmark Report 2024
Annual survey published by Bishop Fleming reporting on trends in multi-academy trusts (MATs) and figures for surpluses and deficits, income, staff costs, teacher to pupil ratios, non-staff costs, reserves and cash balances, fixed assets, pensions, governance and board size. The survey covers primary and secondary academies and MATs. Bishop Fleming's Academies Knowledge Hub also provides news and insights on the acadamies sector.

2023 academies benchmarking report
Annual survey report produced by UHY Hacker Young summarising staff costs and numbers, staff to pupil ratios, pension costs and liabilities, income, fixed assets and capital expenditure, cash balances, surplus or deficit and governance and audit findings across primary academies, secondary academies and MATs. Articles on the sector are also available via UHY Hacker Young's Academy page.

Articles and books in the ICAEW Library collection

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