Last month the Chief Financial Officer at the Education Funding Agency (EFA), Simon Parkes, wrote an open letter to the finance directors and business managers of academy trusts outlining key points about 2012 to 2013 audited financial statements and auditor management letters, including a note on academy trusts’ responsibilities with regard to fraud and irregularity.
In the letter, Mr Parkes praised the 87 per cent of academies that submitted their financial statements for 2011 to 2012 on time, saying that this was a welcome improvement on the previous year.
However, he pointed out that this still meant that over 10 per cent did not produce financial statements in a timely fashion, which is one of the most basic requirements of a company, charity or public body.
Mr Parkes went on to give some tips on how to ensure that an academy’s 2013 submission could be made easier. This could include using a qualified accountant to produce the financial statement and to have an accounts preparation timetable and quality assurance process in place as soon as possible.
He also urged the letter’s recipients to consider any issues that might impact on the academy trust’s ability to meet the submission deadline, such as staffing or governance issues.
The letter also suggested that the finance directors or business managers should be speaking to their auditor by now so that they have a timetable in place to enable them to complete their work on time.
Finally, Mr Parkes said, academies need to ensure that they have arrangements in place to publish their financial statements on their website, as the Academies Accounts Direction requires that the 2012-13 audited financial statements be published by May 2014.