Guidance

Academies Accounts Direction

Detailed guidance for academy trusts, external auditors and reporting accountants on preparing and auditing academy trusts' annual financial statements.

Overview

The Academies Accounts Direction is used by academy trusts, their auditors and reporting accountants to prepare and audit financial statements for the accounting period ending on 31 August annually.

In addition to the Accounts Direction, two further documents have been published:

  • a model set of accounts for academy trusts (known commonly as the “Coketown model”)
  • an auditor framework and guide, primarily for use by academy trust external auditors and reporting accountants.

The Accounts Direction and model set of accounts have the same contractual status, and compliance with both documents is a requirement of an academy trust’s funding agreement.

The auditor framework and guide is applicable to all external auditors and reporting accountants who are engaged to provide statutory audits and regularity reviews to academy trusts. It may also be of interest to trustees, accounting officers and chief financial officers to help them understand the requirements, roles and responsibilities of external auditors and reporting accountants.

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.

Academies Accounts Direction 2020 to 2021

Academies Accounts Direction 2020 to 2021

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Model set of accounts for academy trusts

Academies model accounts 2020 to 2021

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If you use assistive technology (such as a screen reader) and need a version of this document in a more accessible format, please email ESFA.GOVUK-ENQUIRIES@education.gov.uk. Please tell us what format you need. It will help us if you say what assistive technology you use.

Framework and guide for external auditors and reporting accountants of academy trusts

This framework and guide accompanies the Academies Accounts Direction and is applicable to all external auditors and reporting accountants who are engaged to provide statutory audits and regularity reviews to academy trusts. Its purpose is to support:

  • external auditors with their obligations to issue an audit opinion as to whether the financial statements present a true and fair view, and
  • reporting accountants with their report on regularity.

Supplementary bulletin 2020 to 2021

ESFA intends to publish a supplementary bulletin to the Direction and the framework and guide which separately covers the reporting and auditing of COVID-19-related matters.

Submit your 2020 to 2021 financial statements

Submission guidance will be published here later in 2021.

Academies Accounts Direction 2019 to 2020

The Academies Accounts Direction 2019 to 2020 explained how to prepare and submit financial statements for the period ending 31 August 2020.

The Academies Accounts Direction: supplementary bulletin July 2020 provided guidance to trustees, accounting officers and their external auditors on matters arising from the COVID-19 pandemic, which may have had an impact on the 2019/2020 accounts.

Submit your 2019 to 2020 financial statements

The accounts submission coversheet online form is open. The deadline for submission is 31 January 2021.

You must upload your audited financial statements, auditor’s management letter and internal scrutiny annual summary report within the accounts submission coversheet.

Additionally, you must publish your accounts on your academy trust’s website as soon as possible after approval by the trustees and by 28 February 2021.

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.

ESFA enquiries

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Published 12 June 2015
Last updated 31 March 2021 + show all updates
  1. We have added the Academies Accounts Direction for 2020 to 2021 with supporting documents.

  2. We have updated this page with guidance for academy trusts on submitting their audited financial statements for 2019 to 2020.

  3. We have updated the page to change the deadline for submitting financial statements, audit findings, accounts submission coversheet and annual internal scrutiny report for the year ending 31 August 2020 to 31 January 2021.

  4. Page updated with a supplementary bulletin to the Academies Accounts Direction. This provides guidance to trustees, accounting officers and their external auditors on matters arising from the COVID-19 pandemic, which may impact on the 2019/2020 accounts.

  5. Uploaded Academies Accounts Direction (AAD) for 2019 to 2020.

  6. Updated with the guide to submitting academy trust financial statements for 2018-19 and a link to the online form. The deadline is 31 December 2019.

  7. Page updated with the Academies Accounts Direction for the period ending 31 August 2019.

  8. Page updated with information about how academy trusts submit their 2017 to 2018 audited financial statements.

  9. The Education and Skills Funding Agency (ESFA) has published the Academies Accounts Direction 2017 to 2018. This is the reference pack for academy trusts preparing and submitting financial statements to EFA for the year ending 31 August 2018.

  10. Updated the page to include a guidance video for preparing academy trust financial statements.

  11. Updated with information about additional questions in the accounts submission coversheet online form about financial planning, monitoring, support and challenge.

  12. Page updated with information about how academy trusts submit their 2016 to 2017 financial statements.

  13. 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.

  14. EFA has updated this page to replace the links to video guides, which can now be watched on this page.

  15. Updated with link to the online submission cover sheet and guide to submitting your accounts.

  16. 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.

  17. 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.

  18. 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.

  19. The Education Funding Agency has published additional resources for trusts using the Academies Accounts Direction 2014 to 2015 (SORP 2015).

  20. First published.