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Accountants for Academies
The academies programme has expanded rapidly in 2010 and 2011, giving schools significant freedoms in excess of those given to maintained schools. Whilst this presents exciting opportunities for schools looking to convert to academies, there are also a number of challenges ahead for them, including a new accounting and financial reporting regime and dealing with the requirements of the department for education and other regulatory responsibilities. It is therefore important that academies consult early in the process and choose advisers who have the experience and expertise to help them meet these challenges and add value for them going forward.
James Cowper is one of the leading charity advisers in the south of England, with a portfolio of over 150 charities and education clients, including many independent schools. Members of our specialist charities and education team are fully trained and have the experience and expertise to help academies meet their new challenges and responsibilities. We are also founder members of the Kreston Charities Group, which comprises charity and education specialists from the UK members of our international network, Kreston International. The group advises over 1,000 charities, including a significant number of academies, and works together to share experiences and expertise in the charities and education sector.
The services we are able to offer include the following:
Considering the transition to academy status
We can advise on the financial and regulatory issues facing schools considering a move to academy status.
Preparing for conversion
In the run up to conversion we can advise on the following issues:
- The accounting practicalities of dealing with the conversion, including dealing with the surplus or deficit at conversion and valuation and accounting treatment of transferred assets (and liabilities)
- Establishing and advising on key financial policies and procedures
- Setting up accounting systems and choosing appropriate accounting software
- The requirements of the Academies Financial Handbook and the Funding Agreement with the Department of Education
- Setting up a payroll scheme
- Considering pension issues
- Considering banking arrangements
- The responsibilities of governors
We can assist you post conversion to operate a standalone finance function, assisting you to run the new academy effectively and to meet your new regulatory responsibilities. Our services include:
- Preparation of annual accounts in the required format
- Annual audit of the accounts
- Payroll bureau service
- Pension scheme certificates
- Ongoing advice and support on accounting issues, including preparation of budgets, business plans, management accounts and returns to the relevant Department for Education agency
- VAT recovery and compliance advice, particularly relating to property transactions and ancillary “trading” income
- Advice on other taxes such as corporation tax and employment tax
- Training and guidance for governors and finance team, including Accounting Officer, Principal Finance Officer and Responsible Officer requirements.
With offices in Newbury, Oxford, Reading, Henley-on-Thames, Southampton and London, and a firm wide team of 170 people, James Cowper are well placed to advise academies on a wide range of issues.