No rest for academies as accounts return deadline looms

5 January 2018

Welcome to our first academy school blog of 2018!  I hope that everyone enjoyed the much-needed Christmas and New Year break.

2017 ended with big sigh of relief across the academy sector, with two big deadlines coming and going in quick succession, both of which have involved a huge amount of time and effort by trusts and their professional advisers.

Firstly, we had the 2018-2019 application deadline of 14 December 2017 for the Condition Improvement Fund (for single and small multi-academy trusts).  Fingers crossed for all our schools applying for the grant this year, who will be notified of their outcomes by April 2018.

Secondly, we had the deadline of 31 December 2017 for submission of all academy trusts’ financial statements to the ESFA for the year ended 31 August 2017.  Hopefully you all made the submission on time.

This was also the first year when extended financial statements were not allowed for newly formed academy trusts, meaning an additional complication and further consideration is needed when considering forming any new trusts and that crucial date of conversion.

For any trust that didn’t make the deadline, the EFSA are now taking a firmer stance towards non-compliance.  Thankfully, at the moment this doesn’t mean monetary fines or penalties but rather a publication in September each year (a name and shame list of sorts) of all those trusts who are late or do not submit two or more financial returns.

Those financial returns include the:

  • Financial statements – deadline 31 December 2017 (for the year/periods ended 31 August 2017)
  • Accounts return – deadline 19 January 2018
  • Budget forecast return outturn – 18 May 2018
  • Budget forecast return – 27 July 2018

It is also likely that the new land and building collection tool (deadline 31 October) will be added to this list for next year.

So, as we all seem to be accustomed in the daily life of schools and academies, just as one deadline passes another one fast approaches.

Over the next few weeks, trusts and their auditors will be hard at work once again preparing and approving the accounts return, which is due on 19 January 2018.  And yes, if you don’t recall that deadline in the past, in spite of the major problems with the online accounts return last year, the deadline has been brought forward from 31 January to 19 January 2018 to keep us all on our toes.

We suspect that this many not be our last blog on the accounts return, as we are already aware of a few minor issues and complications which may cause you some grey hairs.

If we can be of any assistance to you with any of the above returns then please do not hesitate to contact one of your UHY academy experts.