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Reminder of filing deadlines

Posted by David Butler on December 14, 2017

Reminder of filing deadlines

Eileen Milner, the new Accounting Officer for the ESFA, has written to all Academy Trust Accounting Officers to warn them of the new regime regarding filing of financial returns. The letter can be found here. The new regime means any Trust that files 2 late financial returns in an academic year will be included on a list that will be published on the GOV.UK website in September.

Accounts and Management Letter

Academy Trusts must submit to the Education and Skills Funding Agency (ESFA) audited financial statements and Auditor’s management letter the period ending 31 August 2017 by 31 December 2017.

You will need to complete this short online form. This form has been developed for 2016 to 2017 to allow you to upload your audited financial statements (section 6) and Auditor’s management letter (section 7). Trusts will no longer be required to upload documents via the Document Exchange.

The form includes additional questions about trust financial health. The ESFA have published guidance here to provide an opportunity for Academy Trusts to prepare their answers before they complete the online form.

Full details on the submission process can be found in this guide to submitting Academy Trust audited financial statements 2016 to 2017.

Additionally, you must publish your accounts on your Academy Trust’s website as soon as possible after approval by the Trustees, but by no later than 31 January each year. You must also file these accounts with Companies House within 9 months of the end of the accounting period. For most Academy Trusts, this will be 31 May.

We recommend that all Academy Trusts submit their audited documents as soon as possible to avoid any unforeseen delays using the submission tool.

Please note that your audited financial statements are not the same as your accounts return, details about which have now been published here.

Accounts Return

The ESFA requires all Academy Trusts preparing financial statements as at 31 August 2017 and/or with open academies at 31 August 2017 to submit an accounts return for 2016 to 2017 by 19 January 2018. Note that the deadline for submission has been brought forward from last year.

There is additional information required in the accounts return that does not appear in your audited financial statements. This is to allow for the completion of the Consolidated Academies Sector Annual Report and Accounts (SARA). This additional information includes:

  • Split of DfE Group grant funding by issuing body;
  • Gender analysis of permanent staff by FTE as at August 2017 (for 2017/18 annual average FTE required);
  • Days lost to sickness;
  • Counterparty activities (no longer required on individual academy disclosure, but merely a sum of all academy balances);
  • Certain categories are pre-populated e.g. grants received from ESFA;
  • Apprenticeship levy accounting balances;
  • Extra line in debtors (accrued revenue grants); and
  • Liabilities – addition of transfer lines (academies joining/leaving) in provisions and loans.

Click here for our recent post on the SARA for 2015/16If you have any queries on either the submission of your audited financial statements and the preparation of the accounts return please do not hesitate to contact your Bishop Fleming representative.