Academies Update Conference 2019

Our one day academies conference has been specifically designed for partners and senior managers with responsibility for a number of clients in this sector. You may have attended last year and would like an update, or maybe you are new to academy engagements, either way, do not miss your opportunity to hear the latest position for Academies.

The topics covered are:

  • Legal Update
  • ESFA Update
  • Pensions
  • Risk Review at Academy Trusts
  • Direct Taxes
  • Academy Assurance & Financial Reporting


CPD hours: 6


Please note: the venue for this event was previously listed as Grange St Paul's Hotel London. The conference is taking place at the same building, however the hotel has now been taken over and is now called Leonardo Hotel Royal London St Paul's.

Loading events...

Full conference agenda

Adrian Shardlow, Browne Jacobson LLP

Adrian will give a review of developments in the academies world including recent experience of conversions, mergers and transfers.

Sue Reeve, ESFA

In this session Sue from the Education & Skills Funding Agency (ESFA) will give an update on information needs from academy trusts in 2019 and discuss other hot topics including outcomes from the 2018 audit season and other ESFA's monitoring activities.

Craig Alexander or Steven Law, Hymans Robertson

This session will cover current pension topics affecting academies, what this means to conversations you have with your clients, and what to look out for from an accounting perspective.

Neil Owen, VAT Advisory Services Limited

In this session Neil will take a close look, in the light of developments over recent years, at computational issues around business/non business and partial exemption, revisit some ongoing areas of difficulty and consider any specific areas of topical interest.

Chris Whiting, Academy Advisory 

As regulatory focus shifts toward academy trust processes for checking financial systems, controls, transactions and risks, Chris will look at the different approaches academy trusts are taking to complying with Handbook requirements as the sector matures. From Responsible Officer checks, to supplementary work performed by auditors and full-blown internal audit functions, Chris will take a look at areas of best practice, scalability and the challenges faced by trusts in putting a solution in place to meet their needs.

Jon Sparkes, Bishop Fleming

Jon will provide an update on the latest direct tax issues affecting the sector.

His session will cover:

  • Recent legislative changes
  • Case studies around use of trading subsidiaries and non-primary purpose trading
  • Off-payroll working and employment taxes update

David Smith, Mercia Group Ltd

Academy auditors are independent, right? Related party transactions in academy trusts are OK, no? It's impossible to be both efficient and effective on a small MAT audit, isn't it? All alcohol expenditure by academy trusts is irregular ... erm, OK. In this session, David will look at these and other hot topics in assurance and reporting for academy trusts as we hit the 2019 reporting season before wrapping up for the day.

Conference speakers

Craig is a Fellow of the Institute and Faculty of Actuaries and has been with Hymans Robertson’s public sector team since 2009, advising Local Government Pension Schemes and employers across the UK. He leads the public sector accounting team responsible for delivering IAS19 reports for local authorities and August FRS102 figures to academies. He has also worked closely with the Education and Skills Funding Agency to help improve the accounts returns process for academies and their auditors.

Steven has 14 years’ experience advising the LGPS and currently provides advice to five LGPS schemes including the two largest funds in the country. He has particular expertise in the restructuring and consolidation of public sector liabilities through his leading role on several significant transformational projects. Externally, Steven is an assistant examiner for the Institute and Faculty of Actuaries and recently drafted the syllabus for the actuarial exam on economic modelling. He is a member of the Association of Consulting Actuaries and the International Association of Consulting Actuaries.

Neil Owen is an independent consultant, speaker and occasional writer.  He has worked exclusively in VAT for thirty-five years, initially working for Customs & Excise and entering professional practice in 1990.  A Fellow of the CIOT and an Associate of the Institute of Indirect Taxation, he is also a Fellow of the British Institute of Agricultural Consultants.  He was for ten years the National Secretary of the VAT Practitioners Group and for six the editor of the book, CCH VAT Planning.  Neil is an experienced and enthusiastic lecturer, with the unusual reputation for making VAT interesting.

Sue is a manager in the Education and Skills Funding Agency (ESFA) holding roles in the interventions and investigations team and recently in the Financial Frameworks team. Sue has substantial public sector audit and assurance experience having previously worked at the Audit Commission for 21 years and local government for 3 years. Her current role includes developing guidance for the sector and liaising with auditors and academy finance staff.

Adrian is a Partner at Browne Jacobson. He specialises in all areas of education law including advisory work, public law, admissions, special needs and setting up academies under the Academies Act 2010. Adrian has been involved in many academy conversions involving all types of schools and 6th form colleges. He has particular expertise in dealing with sponsors and multi-academy trusts and is involved with many mergers, expansions and transfers between MATs.

David Smith is Director of Assurance and Accounting Content at Mercia incorporating SWAT.

Since joining Mercia from Grant Thornton in 2010, David has been editor of the Mercia Audit and Audit Exemption Manuals, authored our Assurance and Academies Specialist Assignment Manuals and developed our New UK GAAP accounts and disclosure checklists.  Nowadays, David spends much of his time lecturing on Mercia’s face-to-face, in-house and online CPD courses as well as providing technical consultancy and quality review services.  In July 2018, David became a director of Mercia incorporating SWAT, responsible for ensuring that Mercia and SWAT assurance and accountancy content provides innovative, relevant, accurate and practical solutions to accountants in practice.

David plays an active role with various committees and working groups at ICAEW and ESFA and is a member of the ICAEW’s Technical and Practical Auditing Committee.

Jon is a Chartered Accountant and Chartered Tax Adviser with more than 20 years experience. He spent 9 years with a ‘Big 4’ firm during which he was part of their Charities Network advising a range of national and international charities and not for-profit organisations including higher and further education institutions, private schools, charitable training providers and other charities.

He is now Bishop Fleming’s charity tax specialist working with their academy clients on tax issues such as non-primary purpose trading, setting up trading subsidiaries and Gift Aid.

Chris is a Certified Chartered Accountant who has specialised in the education sector over the past 15 years, working as a finance director within multi-academy trusts and as an advisor to the sector. Chris formed Academy Advisory in 2014 to provide a range of services to the academy sector including: audit, assurance, consultancy, finance support and finance director services. Chris is responsible for over 70 academy audits in addition to his work as a finance director and advisor to a broad range of single and multi-academy trusts.

One Day Conference