Guidance

College accounts direction

Guidance for sixth form and FE colleges on preparing and submitting their annual report and financial statements ‘accounts’ to ESFA.

Documents

College accounts direction 2019 to 2020

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Letter to college accounting officers: August 2020

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Finance record for 2019 to 2020

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Details

The college accounts direction sets out ESFA’s financial reporting requirements for sixth-form and further education colleges.

The accounts direction outlines the requirements for each college to:

  • prepare audited accounts to 31 July 2020
  • submit accounts and associated documents to ESFA
  • publish accounts on the college’s website as soon as possible after signing

In the light of the COVID-19 pandemic, the deadline for colleges to submit these documents to ESFA has now been extended to 31 January 2021. Colleges will then have until 28 February 2021 to publish their audited accounts on their website. Please note that there is a supplementary bulletin to be read in conjunction with the College Accounts Direction relating to matters arising from the COVID-19 pandemic.

Colleges must refer to the college accounts direction 2019 to 2020 when preparing their accounts.

Colleges, rather than their auditors, will need to submit all required documents by following the submission process below.

Finance record

ESFA has issued an updated Finance Record for colleges to submit with their audited annual report and accounts for the college financial year 2019 to 2020. This requires colleges to complete a two-year return comprising an outturn statement for the 2019 to 2020 financial year and a budget forecast for the 2020 to 2021 financial year.

We have published an updated version of the College Financial Planning Handbook to provide guidance on how to complete this return.

The deadline for submission of this new Finance Record for colleges is the same as that for submission of the annual report and accounts, 31 January 2021.

Submitting your documents

Colleges must submit these documents to ESFA via an on-line portal.

The new portal uses the IDAMS (Identity and Access Management System) to authenticate users which colleges should already be familiar with. Once a college has logged in they will be able to upload their documents by selecting the tile for ‘Financial Statements’. The four mandatory elements (audited financial statements, auditors management letter, finance record and the audit committee annual report) must initially be uploaded at the same time by colleges but can subsequently be resubmitted separately, if required. There is also an option to upload additional supporting documentation. Colleges will receive email confirmation that their upload has been successful.

Further details are available within the submission portal. If the person responsible for submitting these documents does not have access to the IDAMS system they can request an account using the ‘I don’t have an account’ link on the login page.

Please complete ESFA’s online enquiry form if you have any questions about your submission.

Published 2 March 2017
Last updated 9 December 2020 + show all updates
  1. We have published an updated version of the finance record for 2019 to 2020. Details of the update are on the contents page of the finance record under ‘version control’.

  2. We have published the finance record for colleges to submit with their audited annual report and accounts for the college financial year 2019 to 2020, and version 2 of the college accounts direction. A list of changes made can be found in the document.

  3. We have published our proposed timeline for college financial returns during 2020 to 2021.

  4. We have updated this page to reflect the changes in deadlines for colleges to submit their documents to ESFA. The deadline for colleges to submit these documents to ESFA has now been extended to 31 January 2021. Colleges will then have until 28 February 2021 to publish their audited accounts on their website.

  5. We have published the college accounts direction for 2019 to 2020.

  6. Update to gov.uk page to provide colleges with details of the submission arrangements for the Financial Statements by the 31st December 19.

  7. We have published the college finance record template.

  8. We have published the college accounts direction for 2018 to 2019.

  9. We have updated the finance record template 2018.

  10. We have published the college finance record for 2017 to 2018, which further education and sixth-form colleges must complete and return to ESFA by 31 December 2018.

  11. College accounts direction for 2017 to 2018 has now been added.

  12. Updated section added Submitting your accounts and associated documents

  13. We've now published the finance record 2016 to 2017 template.

  14. First published.