Services for Academies

Services for Academies

 

Academies have become a popular option in the education sector since the introduction of the Academies Act 2010, however, these independent schools are publically funded charitable companies and as a consequence are subject to a complex regulatory environment which brings with it new risks, challenges and responsibilities.

WNJ have a specialist team who can provide assistance for academies in all stages of their development:

Application

Whilst the conversion process has not been completed by many schools in the Lancashire area we already have staff experienced in the audit of schools operating as charitable companies. We can provide guidance about the regulatory environment you are entering into and provide links with local solicitors with whom we can work alongside to submit a successful application.

Conversion

As a newly converted academy it is likely there will be unfamiliarity with the large number of new financial and governance responsibilities. We can provide support and opportunities of outsourcing in a wide range of areas, including accounting, internal audit, tax, VAT, and payroll.

Established

As the initial challenges of understanding the regulatory environment are being fine tuned an established academy is likely to face a whole new range of challenges. These may include developing plans for expansion of activities or buildings, introducing a trading subsidiary to take advantage of commercial opportunities, and identifying opportunities for efficiencies within the finance model. WNJ will be able to assist in all these areas.

Each academy is required to appoint a statutory auditor. WNJ has an experienced team who provide a high quality statutory audit service with clear communication to the finance team and governors throughout. However, it is also important to consider what other services your auditing firm can provide. Our specialist team can also provide the following:

First year support – this includes forming an opening financial position as a result of assets/liabilities transferred from the former school, valuation of land and buildings, implementing accounting packages and providing training in meeting the requirements for keeping proper accounting records under the Companies Act and Charities Act, and implementing appropriate systems and controls.

Governance support – providing guidance in adopting good practice in accordance with the EFA’s Financial Management and Evaluation.

Budgeting – the General Annual Grant 2 (GAG 2) return must be submitted within 6 weeks of the final funding letter (in the first year) and by the 31 July in subsequent years. WNJ can provide assistance in the preparation of this budget covering the upcoming academic year.

Accounts preparation – WNJ can provide support in this technical area to ensure the accounts are compliant in accordance with the format required under the Companies Act and Charities Act – an expertise that an academies finance team may not have.

Abbreviated Accounts Return – this financial summary of the academies income and expenditure and balance sheet must be filed at the EFA by the 31 December each year. WNJ can provide assistance in the completion and submission of this return.

VAT – advice and services can be provided with regards to registration, compliance and planning.

Whole of Government Accounts – WNJ can assist in the preparation of the financial data prepared to 31 March, rather than the financial data of the academies normal financial year, i.e. 31 August.

Responsible Officer – each academy should nominate and elect a governor as the responsible office (RO) whose task is to oversee the academy’s finance department, which will include monitoring and checking the academy’s systems and controls. WNJ can provide ongoing assistance, advice and consultancy with this internal audit function.

Payroll – WNJ can provide opportunities of outsourcing all or part of the payroll responsibilities via our payroll bureau services to ease the administration burden on the finance team. WNJ are BACS accredited.

Tax –as charitable companies, academies usually benefit from available exemptions for taxation purposes, however, care must be taken when an academy decides to take advantage of potential trading opportunities which can be a complex area, WNJ can provide specialist advice in this area.

Pension audit – WNJ can assist in fulfilling the requirements of the Teachers Pension Scheme by either preparing and submitting an audited End Of Year Certificate (EOYC) by the last working day in April each year or alternatively an unaudited EOYC followed by form TR17 by 30 June.

Company Secretary – WNJ offers a full company secretarial service to ensure that the academy complies with the latest company legislation.

 

Please contact Paul Woodburn on 01772 430000 or email pw@wnj.co.uk for further information.