Academies - help with the learning curve
Having greater control over a school's curriculum and finances is one of the advantages of being an academy. However, that freedom also brings new financial and accountability responsibilities plus a demanding timetable.
Becoming an academy means losing the 'safety net' of assistance provided by the Local Authority as government funding comes via the Education and Skills Funding Agency (ESFA). There are fresh regulatory challenges to meet and a lot of new information for Business Managers and Trustees to deal with. The process can feel daunting, but you can rely on our academy specialists at Wise & Co throughout the academic year, for the knowledge and support your academy needs to develop and meet regulatory requirements.
Our team has extensive experience as auditors and accountants across the education and not-for-profit sectors; currently acting for more than 100 not-for-profit organisations - including private schools and academies, with incoming resources between £10,000 to over £10,000,000.
How can we support your academy?
- Preparing or reviewing annual financial statements in-line with statutory requirements;
- Annual audit and regulatory review in accordance with statutory requirements;
- Assurance review of the Academy Accounts Return;
- Advice on forming or joining a Multi-Academy Trust which can lead to greater efficiencies and savings;
- Advice on choice of accounting system and assistance with financial budgets and forecasts;
- Preparing or reviewing monthly or end of term management accounts;
- Attending committee or Board of Trustees meetings, to discuss financial matters or to help with risk assessment reviews;
- An internal audit function through termly visits to test financial systems and controls systems;
- Auditing the teachers’ pension scheme.
Academies: funding, payments and compliance
Charities and charity trustees: school governors
Since becoming an Academy we have lost the safety net of the Local Authority. A lot of new financial accountability and responsibility now lies on the Business Manager's shoulders. Having the services of Wise & Co has given me confidence to deal with these new challenges. The young team of accountants that come and do the year-end accounts and pension audit are knowledgeable and friendly. My manager is always at the end of the phone if I have any questions and full of helpful advice as we are expanding our MAT. We have a director from Wise & Co who takes the time to come to our sign-off accounts meeting with the trust board of Directors, and answer any concerns they may have. I highly recommend their services to all of my colleagues.
We understand the challenges facing Bursars and Governors at independent schools, which may include;
- The need to develop a USP to differentiate from fierce competition;
- Falling enrolment numbers partly due to the general affordability of private education leading to reduced income and potential cash flow difficulties;
- The general regulatory burden;
- Offering realistic fees but generating enough income/resources for campus enhancement and extracurricular activities as well as providing bursaries;
- Meeting the public benefit requirement.
How can we support your independent school?
- Guidance on whether to operate as a limited company or an unincorporated charity;
- Preparing and auditing annual financial statements in accordance with the Companies Act and the Charities Statement of Recommended Practice (SORP);
- Preparing or reviewing monthly or termly management accounts;
- Auditing the Teachers’ Pension Return;
- Advice on set-up and operation of trading subsidiaries for non-charitable activities;
- Assistance with financial forecasting;
- Advice on the VAT implications of business activities.
Trustee board: people and skills
Public benefit: rules for charities
ISI guidance for schools