New academies accounts direction and academies financial handbook published

Rebecca Frost

On 15 June the Academies Accounts Direction 2019/20 was published.

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 -

 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 -

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