Academy trusts that are preparing 31 August 2012 financial statements must submit their completed accounts return for 2011/12 to the Education Funding Agency (EFA) by the end of today through the academy trust’s auditor, once the auditor has completed their review of the return.
The returns should be sent as an electronic version only, using an Excel spreadsheet, along with a PDF of the auditor’s statement.
The EFA uses a combination of audited accounts, financial returns and other information to generate the EFA’s consolidated accounts, which are then further consolidated into Whole of Government Accounts (WGA).
Whole of Government Accounts is a set of national accounts that are required by legislation to give Parliament and the public a view of spending by the whole of the UK government, including all public sector bodies. The purpose of WGA is to achieve better financial management, accountability and transparency.
The EFA’s consolidated accounts are audited by the National Audit Office (NAO) on behalf of the Comptroller and Auditor General (C&AG) in accordance with International Standards on Auditing and will undertake appropriate procedures in accordance with that framework to satisfy the C&AG that these accounts are true and fair.
To this end, each academy is a component of the consolidation and therefore each academy’s accounting officer has a responsibility to prepare the financial information requested by the EFA for this purpose.
It should be noted that one of the new developments in academy trusts’ 2011-12 financial statements is a requirement for accounting officers to make a statement on regularity, propriety and compliance.
Academy trust external auditors are then required to provide an enhanced audit opinion covering regularity. This provides greater assurance to governing bodies and the Secretary of State, through the EFA, and means that the EFA is able to greatly reduce its need for assurance visits and other returns.
As an accountant, Gill Freeman specialises within academy finances and charity tax.