Like last year the bulletin provides some additional guidance on the disclosures required in respect of the COVID-19 pandemic and has the same status as the AAD for 20/21 that was published earlier this year.
The bulletin covers 10 pages so is not an onerous read, and is broken down into six sections. The first is an introduction, part 2 is mainly directed at External Auditors and Reporting Accountants. Part 3 goes over the annual report disclosures, part 4 goes into more detail regarding COVID-19 disclosures and funding, part 5 covers accounting for laptops and other accounting matters, and part 6 is some further guidance.
The key points to be aware of are:
- The requirements in the bulletin are ones that all Academy Trusts must comply with.
- Academy trusts will need to publish information in their accounts regarding managing public money and if they supported their suppliers during the period by paying in advance they will need to consider the additional guidance given by the DfE in PPN 04/20 and the further guidance published in February 2021.
- Trusts will need to consider if additional disclosures are required in this year’s accounts to reflect the COVID-19 challenges of 20/21. The bulletin also highlights the importance of the Financial Review in the Trustees report, including the impact on reserves, and how any extra COVID-19 funding has been used, and the impact on any other trading activities.
- The going concern note to the accounts will also need to be considered more carefully as a result of COVID-19.
- COVID-19 may have impacted on the Trusts Governance and this should therefore be included in the Governance Statement. The majority of Academy Trusts had to adjust how Trustee meetings were held, and this should be included in the statement.
- The bulletin details out specific requirements in respect of COVID-19 funding disclosures in part 4. It specifically mentions that funding, regardless of materiality, for the following funding streams must be disclosed separately in note 4 to the accounts: Catchup premium and Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS). This disclosure also needs to be replicated in note 20 (Funds).
- Part 4 provides some additional guidance in respect of accounting for the free school meals voucher scheme. In most cases the Trust will have acted as a facilitator and will not need to make additional disclosures, but they may wish to add something to their Trustees report.
- Part 5 covers some guidance around accounting for laptops provided by the ESFA, DfE, local authorities and other third parties. The terms of these schemes will determine the accounting treatment depending on whether the Trust has acted as a principal or agent in the transaction. Guidance for determining this can be found in the Charity SORP in chapter 19. Once the trust has determined their role in the transaction the bulletin then gives guidance as to how they should be treated in the accounts and refers to the AAD and the Charity SORP.
The bulletin also provides some useful links to advice from the Charities SORP committee and some example accounts of charities that have been affected by the pandemic that Trusts may find useful in preparing their Trustees reports and disclosures in their accounts.
The next steps
If you need any further support or guidance in respect of the above points please do not hesitate to contact either Shona Munday or your usual UHY adviser and we will be happy to help.