Academies’ Business Cycle

Earlier this week the Education Funding Agency (EFA) updated the academies business cycle, which sets out information to help head teachers, finance directors or business managers and governors plan ahead, prepare for and implement mandatory legal requirements.

However, the Agency warned that some of the timings are only indicative and may change, as some of the guidance information relates to the current academic or financial year and will change when announcements are made throughout the year.

The update goes on to say that some of the information listed in the business cycle is aimed at established open academies and Free Schools, which are those that have completed an annual cycle of the financial assurance framework, while some is for new academies.

For example, each new academy is required to submit a budget forecast return six weeks after receiving their final funding letter, while a financial management and governance self-assessment (FMGS) is due from all new academies within four months of opening.

There is certainly plenty going on in the next few months from a funding point of view. Next month the EFA will confirm the national funding rate for 2013/14 for post 16 pupils and will issue accounts return requests for the financial year 2012-13 to new academies that have not prepared audited accounts as at 31 August 2012. While also in March the Agency will issue budget forecast requests to all academies for the academic year 2013/14.

In April, the pre -16 Funding factors for 2014/15 will be announced, as will the initial round of the Academies Capital Maintenance Fund 201314 allocations. While in May a plethora of capital allocations will be announced, including the Devolved Formula Capital allocations for 2013-14, the Building Condition Improvement Fund, the 16-19 Demographic Growth (Basic Need) Fund and the Devolved Formula Capital allocations.

May will also see the publication of the Academies Accounts Direction for the academic year 2012/13.

As an accountant, Gill Freeman specialises within academy finances and charity tax.

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