While the changes this year are not significant, the following are worthy of mention –
- New statutory requirements in the Trustees’ Report for streamlined energy and carbon reporting (appropriate for large companies as defined by the Companies Act 2011)
- A requirement in the Trustees’ Report to explain how audit arrangements are affected by the newly revised FRC Ethical Standard
- Identifying legal costs in the notes to the financial statements
- Changes to the cashflow statement to include an analysis of changes in net debt
The ESFA has also stated that during July 2020 they will be issuing a supplementary bulletin to the Accounts Direction to cover COVID-19 reporting in academy accounts. However they have confirmed there will be no extension to the usual 31 December deadline.
A link to the new Academies Accounts Direction - https://www.gov.uk/guidance/academies-accounts-direction#academies-accounts-direction-2019-to-2020
The new Accounts Direction was closely followed on 24 June by the new Academies Financial Handbook 2020/21.
Key changes in this year’s handbook include –
- Further information on governance arrangements including the role of members and the requirement for a clerk
- A recommendation that CFOs of larger academy trusts should have a relevant accountancy qualification, and that all CFOs should maintain professional development
- New requirements for the publication of information on higher paid staff and whistleblowing on the academy trust’s website -
- Confirmation that the academy trust’s funds must not be used to purchase alcohol
- Clarification on internal scrutiny requirements and confirmation that the academy trust’s external auditor is unable to provide internal audit services
A link to the new Academies Financial Handbook - https://www.gov.uk/guidance/academies-financial-handbook