New financial reporting model for colleges

A new financial reporting model will be introduced for colleges from January 2020, a new report has revealed.

Introducing the system, the Education and Skills Funding Agency (ESFA) said the model will “simplify” the way colleges submit their financial data.

According to the report, college returns will be consolidated into a single annual return from January 2020, as opposed to submitting financial returns at least twice a year.

However, colleges in “early intervention” or “formal intervention” or in receipt of ESFA loans will need to submit returns on a more regular basis.

The regulator said the new system has been created to “meet user needs” and give colleges greater flexibility to “cope with variation in how they manage their finances”.

Commenting on the report, Julian Gravatt, Deputy Chief Executive Association of Colleges, said: “Colleges work with a robust set of financial rules developed by ESFA and its predecessors over the last 25 years. The new financial model is a major upgrade and we’re pleased at the Association of Colleges that the agency is working closely with college finance directors to put it in place.”

Eileen Milner, ESFA Chief Executive, added: “We are committed to ensuring that we balance the risks of protecting public funds, and preventing colleges going into financial decline with a commitment to ask from the sector for things which are reasonable.

“We are recruiting a qualified team to implement the model, which our process of testing with colleagues in the sector, suggests will save colleges a significant amount of time and resources so they can focus their efforts on delivering high quality education.”

The ESFA has confirmed that the last return under the old financial reporting model will be December.

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