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Conversion Support

Whether you're considering conversion or have already made the transition, Bishop Fleming can provide the support you need

Academy school conversion support

Bishop Fleming has helped over 150 academies through the conversion process. We would be delighted to talk to you about your school’s situation and how our conversion support services can be tailored to your specific needs.

Considering Conversion

If your school is considering whether or not to apply for academy status, you may wish to undertake a Due Diligence Review prior to application to ensure that you are fully aware of all the financial, governance and funding implications of a transition and whether it is a viable option for your school or college. At Bishop Fleming, as part of our conversion support service, we can undertake a full review and discuss the pros and cons with you.

If you decide to go ahead with conversion, the next step in the decision making process will be to review the Education Funding Agency (EFA) documentation about becoming an academy, consult with parents, teachers and governors and decide if becoming an academy is the right choice for your school.

Once you have made the decision with the EFA and have started the legal process, we can provide you with our conversion support package. This package provides help and guidance on a range of areas, including determining whether your accounting system is correctly set up, reviewing income to ensure you do not unexpectedly breach Corporation Tax or VAT thresholds and looking at whether you need a trading subsidiary. As part of our support package, our clients find real value in having ready access to a dedicated professional who has been through this process many times and is available at the end of the phone or email to provide assistance as and when it is needed.

Bishop Fleming has helped over 150 academies through the conversion process. We would be delighted to talk to you about your school’s situation and how our conversion support services can be tailored to your specific needs.

Applied for Conversion

If your school has already made the decision to convert to academy status, you now have an exciting journey towards greater autonomy and financial control, and will be thinking about appointing the right advisers to help you through the next stages. There are so many questions to consider and decisions to be made.

  • Have you agreed the structure of your board and formed sufficient committees?
  • Have you applied for your start-up grants?
  • Have you thought about setting finance policies?
  • What might those look like?  How will you value the assets of the school on conversion?
  • Have you considered whether your non-educational trading income might be liable to corporation tax?
  • Do you have a competent payroll provider?
  • How will you choose the appropriate bank and accounting software?
  • Do you know how to use it?
  • Do you know how to prepare the financial statements and have these audited?

Bishop Fleming’s experienced team can help you through these and many other issues, ensuring you make informed decisions that are right for your school. Our expert service covers the full range of requirements including:

  • School Statutory Audit & Full Annual Accounts preparation including annual reports, liaising with HMRC and preparing EFA submissions
  • Ensuring that the academy is created with the appropriate legal structure.
  • Full Managed Payroll Services & Support
  • Regulatory matters including Teachers Pension Scheme and Local Government Pension Scheme / certificates
  • Review of Banking Arrangements
  • Accounting Software, Training & Support (Sage, FMS, PS Financials and Corero)

We will explain and support you through the first year financial returns including the March Accounts Return, the Budget Forecast Return, the August Annual Return and Financial Management and Governance Self-Assessment (FMGS).

Already Converted

Schools that have already converted to academy status may be approaching their first audit or have already been through the process. As one of the top three providers of accountancy services to academies in England we have dealt with almost all the issues you will come across and have the experience and know-how to deal quickly and effectively with new issues.

As part of the year end process, all academies are required to have financial statements audited, undertake a regularity audit and have the annual return reviewed. Bishop Fleming’s experienced academy team can guide you through these processes and help you avoid regulatory pitfalls.

Newly converted academies may require assistance with a myriad of issues including:

  • Advising on topics to include at your first board meeting
  • Advising on the financial implications of land transactions (freehold, leasehold and licences)
  • Assisting with calculating the surplus/deficit at the date of transfer and negotiating with the LA
  • Assisting with the cash flow implications of the surplus/deficit
  • Advising on with the role of Accounting Officer
  • Advising on the appropriate committee structure, in particular the audit committee
  • Advising on VAT and corporation tax issues, e.g. trading activities and property transactions
  • Providing guidance on financial and regulatory compliance including understanding the charities SORP
  • Ensuring that month-end procedures are correctly in place
  • Advising on accounting policies
  • Advising on the valuation options for fixed assets can be valued on conversion
  • Ensuring that VAT registration and the VAT reclaim process is understood and the requirements correctly applied
  • Ensuring that all the necessary statutory and other returns are accurately completed in the first year, including verifying that year end procedures are operating correctly to provide accurate reports.

To assist in making the year end a smooth and efficient experience, Bishop Fleming hold regular Year End process training seminars for clients, to ensure you get the maximum benefit from our experience in this area.


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