The Education Funding Agency has published the Academies accounts direction 2013 to 2014 (Accounts Direction).
The Accounts Direction is a reference pack for academy trusts and their auditors for financial statements of accounting periods ending on 31 August 2014.
Key changes within this edition of the Accounts Direction include:
- website accounts publication for academies is brought forward from 31 May to 31 January (though the EFA accounts filing deadline of 31 December remains the same) with two years of accounts being kept on websites as a minimum;
- changes to the trustees' report to accommodate Company Law strategic report requirements;
- amendments to minimum related party disclosure requirements including whether transactions were at arms-length;
- transparency disclosures that there were no central charges in multi-academy trusts and that no related party transactions took place where this is the case;
- increased levels of guidance on accounting and disclosure in a number of areas including special payments, leased assets, funding for fixed assets and multi-academy trusts;
- updated guidance for the auditor / regularity reporting accountant on the regularity assurance engagement, materiality, whistleblowing and the management letter.
Additional guidance for academy trusts and their auditors will be welcome; though the real test, as always, will be in the application of new requirements. External drivers for transparency, media focus and other enhanced requirements relevant to the 2013-14 academic year, mean that the stakes have never been higher for advisors, accountants and auditors of academies.
To find out more about the current state of play in the academies sector, you may be interested in our Mercia Academies Update Conferences in June and September 2014.