If you are considering conversion to academy status, or have already converted but are looking to become part of a chain of academies, you may be considering a multi-academy trust (MAT).
We are one of the UK’s leading audit and accounting firms to the academy sector and currently advise a range of primary, secondary and mixed MAT clients.
To help you develop a greater understanding of MATs we have developed our first MAT focused white paper which focuses on appropriate structures, the advantages and disadvantages, the ideal MAT size, the practicalities of forming a MAT and more, which can be downloaded below.
Supporting our MAT clients
We have advised many multi-academy trusts from initial set-up and ongoing as their auditors. Issues for consideration, and where we can add value and support, range from deciding on the MAT structure and governance through to evaluating funding options and meeting the specific MAT reporting requirements.
Below are some of the areas in which we can advise you:
Deciding on the committee structure
We can advise on the most suitable structure and committees for your trust.
It is important that a certain level of due diligence is carried out before a MAT takes on a new school. We can assist you so that the financial position of any new school joining the MAT school is clear from the outset, in order to avoid any hidden nasties coming out of the woodwork at a later date.
Financial statements are prepared at trust level, and it is therefore important that someone within the trust takes responsibility for overseeing finance at this level. We can support the Finance Director with the preparation of the accounts from trial balance.
Choosing and setting up your financial software
The complexities of a MAT mean it is vital that you use appropriate software. We are able to advise on the options available to you, and the pros and cons of each one.
Since the VAT registration threshold applies to the trust, it follows that your MAT may find itself more likely to need to register for VAT. Our team of VAT specialists can provide additional support by way of an annual VAT review service or ongoing VAT advice.
All academy trusts, are required to prepare financial statements to 31 August each year and the audited year end accounts need to be submitted to the EFA by 31 December of the same year. As an experienced firm of auditors, we are able to provide an effective, timely and economic service with a ‘hand holding’ approach.
The Academies Financial Handbook requires MATs to appoint an Accounting Officer to review and report on the internal control risks through a programme of internal audit work. We can provide appropriate internal audit services by assisting with your Accounting Officer’s internal financial controls review.
Larger MATs, and some smaller MATs, will operate a central trust function. Individual academies may be asked to contribute to the central trust through what is often referred to as ‘top-slicing’. We can advise on the levels of top-slicing within the MAT.
The next step
For more information about multi-academy trusts and their structure, please download our summary guide to understanding multi-academy trusts.
If you would like to discuss the accounting services that we can provide for your MAT or would like to arrange a meeting to discuss the establishment of your MAT, please contact one of our specialists at your nearest location, or complete the contact form.