As one of the largest independent firms of Chartered Accountants in Essex and East London, we have a sizeable not for profit team which specialises in providing assistance to a number of schools and academies. We understand the conversion process and are working with a number of academies to ensure that the transition takes place as smoothly and cost-effectively as possible.
Specifically we can advise on the following matters:
- VAT – Working with you to ensure that either form VAT126 is completed correctly or alternatively to advise you on VAT registration and to guide you through the maze that is the partial exemption rules as they apply to Exempt Charities. Academies can provide a range of services to other entities and it is critical that these are classified and reported properly. VAT on construction projects is always a difficult area, and the impact of conversion midway through a project is fraught with challenges.
- Assistance with Management Accounts – Working with you we can ensure that the management information required for the GAG reports is consistent with management accounts which are required in order that the Governors can make decisions based on accurate information. The accounts of the charity have to comply with both the Charities Act and the Companies Act as you will be a company limited by Guarantee. Our extensive experience in this field means that we are well placed to provide the assistance you need.
- Clarity of Financial Information – We recognise that you may have limited professional financial expertise both internally and at Governor level, so we can work with your staff and governing board to ensure that they understand the figures and can use them to inform decision making.
- Financial Regulations – All academies need to have up to date financial regulations in place and we can work with you to ensure that these are practical to your academy, recognising the environment in which they have to operate. The YPLA model in particular needs tailoring to your own circumstances.
- Governance – We can work with governing bodies to ensure that their model leads to good
governance, and we can give on-going support once the conversion process has completed.
- Responsible Officer– Financial probity reviews. Many schools will come to recognise that the level of ‘internal audit’ comfort provided by the traditional Responsible Officer service is inadequate for the requirements of an academy. The governors are responsible for ensuring that the financial regulations are in place and adhered to, and hence that the financial statements are free from material error.We can offer financial probity reviews to provide the level of assurance that is required. It may be that you have already appointed external auditors, however the new rules on (external) auditor independence may preclude involvement and advice on accounting processes.
- Payroll Services – It may be that you have decided to stay with the local authority to have them supply these services on an outsourced basis. The costs of this service may easily increase as local authorities work in a cash-constrained environment, and as more schools convert so it is likely that the headcount in the payroll team will reduce and potentially lead to inefficiencies. We can offer a competitively priced payroll bureau service where you would have a dedicated person dealing with your staff.
- Cash Flow Management & Longer Term Planning – We recognise the need to ensure that cash flows are controlled carefully in all environments, and that governors must receive accurate forecasts. We can provide assistance with cash flow planning, as well as longer term projections and feasibility studies, so that you can work out the cost effectiveness of running/offering different course options.
If you are in the process of converting to academy status, or you are looking for an accountant that specialises in academies and education, then please get in touch via email or call 01245 495588.