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Accounting for education

Accounting for schools, colleges and universities 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 Statements of Recommended Practice for Further and Higher Education, guidance and background knowledge.

We have a separate page on accounting for academies.

What's on this page?

  • Statements of Recommended Practice
  • Useful links
  • Online articles
  • Books and articles from the library

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Statements of Recommended Practice

Issuing body

Statements of Recommended Practice (SORPs) related to further and higher education are issued by Universities UK (formerly known as the Committee of Vice-Chancellors and Principals).

Sources for the SORP and associated guidance

Statement of Recommended Practice: Accounting for further and higher education (2019 edition)
Revised edition of the SORP published in October 2018, effective for periods beginning on or after 1 January 2019. It incorporates the amendments set out in FEHE SORP Guidance Note 2015 and the Triennial Review 2017.

Statement of Recommended Practice: Accounting for further and higher education
Statement of Recommended Practice approved by the Financial Reporting Council in March 2014. This SORP must be adopted for accounting periods beginning on or after 1 January 2015. It reflects changes to UK GAAP arising from FRS 100, 101 and 102.

FEHE SORP guidance note 2015
Guidance issued by Universities UK, published in March 2016, highlighting amendments to the SORP to reflect FRS 102.

Model accounts

SORP Model Financial Statements – Sep 17
Illustrative financial statements produced by the British Universities Finance Directors Group (BUFDG) in Excel format. The worksheets include consolidated statement of comprehensive income and expenditure, consolidated and university statement of changes in reserves, balance sheet and statement of accounting policies. Last updated in September 2017.

Casterbridge College accounts for 2015-16
Example accounts, produced by BDO for the Association of Colleges, for a fictional college incorporating FRS 102 and the new SORP.

Useful links

Consistent financial reporting framework (CFR)
Guidance on the consistent financial reporting (CFR) framework from the Department for Education. It provides detailed definitions for each CFR code to assist maintained schools in mapping income and expenditure to the appropriate areas of the framework. The CFR is optional for nurseries and non-maintained special schools.

Accounting for further and higher education: Critical implementation considerations in applying the 2014 SORP and new UK GAAP
Guide produced by BDO in May 2014 examining key changes to the accounting standards, offering a detailed comparison of current UK GAAP and SORP 2007 with FRS 102 and SORP 2014.

Higher education institutions and the new UK GAAP: A comparison of current and future accounting
Presentation slides from BDO, hosted by the BUFDG website, giving a summary of differences.

FRS 102 and FE HE SORP: Revenue, government grants and non-exchange transactions
Guidance, in Powerpoint format, from the BUFDG on how the accrual model and performance model should be applied. Includes a summary of examples and how they should be recorded within the statement of comprehensive income, frequently asked questions and worked examples based on real transactions. Updated in June 2014.

Service concession case studies
Guidance from the BUFDG, in Word format, giving examples of schemes within the education sector applying the service concession arrangements within FRS 102 and the FE HE SORP.

Archived documents

Statement of Recommended Practice: Accounting for Further and Higher Education – Draft for comment
Exposure draft of the proposed 2015 SORP issued in August 2013.

Accounting for Further and Higher Education Statement of Recommended Practice Exposure Draft (SORP2015 ED): Consultation questions
Consultation document issued in August 2013.

Statement of recommended practice: Accounting for further and higher education
SORP published in October 2007, which took effect from 1 August 2007. The SORP is available to download in PDF format free of charge or to purchase in hard copy.

Statement of recommended practice: Accounting for further and higher education (2003)
SORP issued in September 2003 and superseded by the 2007 SORP.

Supplement A to Circular 04/04: Papers Issued by the Sector Accounting Policies Group
Supplement published in May 2004 that collects together a number of papers issued by the Sector Accounting Policies Group (PDF 26 pages).

Further Education Colleges: Accounting Policies and Return of Audited Financial Statements (Circular 03/08)
Additional guidance published in April 2003. This guidance supersedes Circulars 01/04 and 02/07.

01/04 Supplement A: Specific FE guidance to supplement the SORP
Additional guidance to supplement guidance note 01/04 Finance: Sector Accounting Policies and Return of Audited Financial Statements. This Circular was superseded by Circular 03/08 in May 2003.


British Universities Finance Directors' Group (BUFDG)
Group representing finance directors in UK higher education. Resources include a listing of institutions' annual reports and financial statements.

Association of Colleges
Information on the College Finance Directors Group (CFDG) of the Association (requires login). Resources include the Joint Audit Code of Practice and factsheets on VAT and taxation.

Skills Funding Agency
Government body that regulates and funds training and education of adults in England. The website provides information on financial assurance.

Online articles

The Library provides access to leading business, finance and management journals. These journals are available to logged-in ICAEW members, ACA students and other entitled users subject to suppliers' terms of use.

Articles are available to logged-in ICAEW members, ACA students and other entitled users.

Articles and books in the Library collection

To find out how you can borrow books from the Library please see our guide to book loans. You can obtain copies of articles or extracts of books and reports by post, fax or email through our document supply service.

Can't find what you are looking for?

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