Don’t forget the importance of the Responsible Officer’s duties

7 February 2018

Now that the madness of year-end financial statements and Academies Accounts Returns are over, you would hope to have some breathing space but that is not the case!  The spring school census for 2018 opened on 18 January and the deadline for approved submission of 14 February is now fast approaching.

While you’re busy focusing on meeting the various deadlines that come your way, you must also make sure that your school is keeping up with the Responsible Officer (RO) work and that regular reviews of the controls and processes in place at your trust are being carried out. When we’re busy it’s easy to let things slip, but making sure that procedures are maintained is really important as you don’t want to find out during the year-end audit that your bank reconciliations haven’t been done properly, or that you’ve missed out on receiving some cash from HMRC as your VAT returns were not completed on time.

The RO work can be done by a governor with suitable experience, an external adviser, or you could have a reciprocal arrangement with another school so that you review each other’s controls and processes. Either way it’s important that it is done regularly and that it is documented so that it can be relied upon when you prepare your financial statements and sign off on the effectiveness of your controls.

We are all aware that GDPR will come into effect on the 25 May 2018 and you have probably all been looking at the controls in place regarding your data, but have you thought about the other areas of your academy such as HR, payroll or your financial controls? All of these areas should be considered regularly, especially your financial controls, as this can help your academy achieve value for money.

If you need assistance with the RO work or would like a more detailed review of your academy’s internal controls then please contact your usual UHY adviser or nearest academy schools specialist who will be happy to help.