Guidance

Academies Accounts Direction

Detailed guidance for academy trusts and auditors on preparing and auditing academy trusts' annual financial statements.

Overview

The Academies Accounts Direction is the reference pack for academy trusts and their auditors to use when preparing and auditing financial statements for the accounting period ending on 31 August annually.

To produce the Accounts Direction, the Education and Skills Funding Agency (ESFA) takes the requirements set out by the Charity Commission in its Statement of Recommended Practice (SORP) and translates them into a form applicable to academy trusts.

The Accounts Direction outlines the requirements for each academy trust to:

  • prepare an annual report and financial statements to 31 August
  • have these accounts audited annually by independent registered auditors
  • produce a statement of regularity, propriety and compliance and obtain a regularity assurance report on this statement from the auditor
  • submit the audited accounts and auditor’s regularity assurance report to ESFA by 31 December
  • file the accounts with the Companies Registrar as required under the Companies Act 2006
  • publish the audited accounts on the trust’s website by 31 January

The Accounts Direction explains the elements you must include in your academy trust’s annual report and financial statements and the accounting treatments required. It also provides a model format for the report and the financial statements and ensures consistency of treatment between academy trusts.

Academies Accounts Direction 2016 to 2017

All academy trusts must use the Academies Accounts Direction 2016 to 2017 (PDF, 2.49MB, 158 pages) when preparing their financial statements for the period ending 31 August 2017.

You should refer to the 2016 version of the Academies Financial Handbook.

Submit your 2016 to 2017 financial statements

Academy trusts must submit to ESFA audited accounts for the period ending 31 August each year by 31 December, using the Academies Accounts Direction as a reference pack.

Read this guide to submitting academy trust audited financial statements 2016 to 2017 (PDF, 722KB, 22 pages) .

You will need to complete this short online form.

The form covers important information from your audited accounts and enables you to upload your audited financial statements and auditor’s management letter.

The form includes additional questions about trust financial health. We’ve published 2016 to 2017 accounts submission – additional questions about trust financial health (PDF, 233KB, 2 pages) to provide an opportunity for trusts to prepare their answers before they complete the online form.

Additionally, you must publish your accounts on your academy trust’s website as soon as possible after approval by the trustees, but by no later than 31 January each year.

You must also file these accounts with Companies House within 9 months of the end of the accounting period. For most trusts, this will be 31 May.

Training videos

Academies Accounts Direction 2015 to 2016

Academies Accounts Direction

Reporting on regularity

Reporting on regularity

Accounting for business combinations

Accounting for business combinations

Academies Accounts Direction 2015 to 2016

The Academies Accounts Direction 2015 to 2016 (PDF, 1.11MB, 152 pages) explained to academy trusts how to prepare and submit their financial statements for the period ending 31 August 2016.

Academies Accounts Direction 2014 to 2015

Academy trusts incorporated before 1 January 2015 used the Academies Accounts Direction 2014 to 2015 (SORP 2005) (PDF, 2.32MB, 151 pages) to prepare and submit their financial statements for the period ending 31 August 2015.

Trusts incorporated on or after 1 January 2015 used the Academies Accounts Direction 2014 to 2015 (SORP 2015) (PDF, 2MB, 149 pages) for theirs.

Academies Accounts Direction 2013 to 2014

The Academies Accounts Direction 2013 to 2014 (PDF, 1.13MB, 150 pages) explained to academy trusts how to prepare and submit their financial statements for the period ending 31 August 2014.

ESFA enquiries

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Published 12 June 2015
Last updated 6 December 2017 + show all updates
  1. Updated with information about additional questions in the accounts submission coversheet online form about financial planning, monitoring, support and challenge.
  2. Page updated with information about how academy trusts submit their 2016 to 2017 financial statements.
  3. The Education and Skills Funding Agency (ESFA) has published the Academies Accounts Direction 2016 to 2017. This is the reference pack for academy trusts preparing and submitting financial statements to EFA for the year ending 31 August 2017.
  4. EFA has updated this page to replace the links to video guides, which can now be watched on this page.
  5. Updated with link to the online submission cover sheet and guide to submitting your accounts.
  6. The Education Funding Agency (EFA) has published the 2015 to 2016 update to the Academies Accounts Direction. This is the reference pack for academy trusts preparing and submitting financial statements to EFA for the year ending 31 August 2016.
  7. The Education Funding Agency (EFA) has updated the guide to submitting academy trusts' audited accounts with additional information to help trusts upload their documents to the Document Exchange. There are no other changes to the page.
  8. The Education Funding Agency (EFA) has published a guide for academy trusts to help them submit their accounts for the year ending 31 August 2015 to EFA by the deadline of 31 December 2015. Trusts will also need to complete a short online cover form.
  9. The Education Funding Agency has published additional resources for trusts using the Academies Accounts Direction 2014 to 2015 (SORP 2015).
  10. First published.