Deadline Approaches For Academy Trusts’ Budget Forecast Return

The Education Funding Agency (EFA) is reminding academy trusts that any of them open as at 31 March 2013 must submit a completed Budget Forecast Return (BFR) to the Agency by 31 July 2013.

The BFR is used to consolidate academies’ financial results into the department’s budgets for the financial year 2012 to 2013 and to ensure that the estimates of their future funding requirements are accurate, as well as to assess their financial health.

The EFA has an online, macro-enabled form for people using the Office 2010 version of Excel and an Excel 97-2003 return for anyone using older versions of the programme.

The Agency has produced a 17-page guidance document to help academy trusts fill out the return and points out that it only refers to academy trusts, not schools, to avoid confusion as to the nature of the reporting entity.

This is because academy schools do not prepare financial statements; the schools are the operational unit of the charitable companies that manage the schools and the legal requirement to prepare, have audited and file financial statements lies with the charitable companies under the Companies Act 2006.

The guidance document gives line-by-line instructions on how to fill out the return and asks that anyone who has any queries about completing the return should contact the Agency before the due date.

Meanwhile, academy trusts that opened on or after 1 April 2013 and new academies joining an existing Multi Academy Trust on or after 1 April 2013 can use the budget forecast returns published by the Agency to complete. The budget forecast return must be submitted to the EFA within 6 weeks of academies receiving their final funding letter, or 31 July 2013, whichever is the later.

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