Information trusts to complete their accounts return.
Accessing the accounts return online form
The accounts return is now open please use this link to access the form. The deadline for submission by your auditors is the 21 January 2019.
The main guidance document for this year’s return is here:
If you’re having difficulties accessing the form please see this registration guidance page.
If you are having difficulties loading the AR form please check you have either the latest browser downloaded or try using an alternative browser. To find out more about internet browsers please see this helpful guide.
2017 to 2018 accounts return
Academy trusts preparing their financial statements for the year ending 31 August 2018 are also required to complete the accounts return. We’ve updated the accounts return guidance including the guide to completing the form, the excel workbook to help prepare your return and we’ve added a section explaining the pension requirements. Please note that trusts must complete the online form to submit their accounts return by 21 January 2019. If you are late submitting we will publish the names of all the trusts who are late in submitting two or more annual financial returns.
We have also published a document that outlines the key differences between the financial statements and the accounts return for the year 2017 to 2018. This highlights new information that trusts are required to report on as well as listing historical differences between the financial statements and the accounts return. Trusts can use this when preparing financial statements to plan ahead for the accounts return.
Pension actuarial results schedule
This year, to help with the completion of the pension section, we have mapped the 4 actuarial reports of AON, Barnett Waddingham, Hymans Robertson and Mercer to the accounts return on line form using the forms new referencing. These example reports have been annotated by the accounts return team which will translate to your final pension actuarial statement. This should help you complete your balance sheet funds and disclosure tab-pension information section of the accounts return.
How to contact us if you have queries
This year we are holding a series of weekly Skype calls for accounts return form users. These will run from November through to January. We welcome all accounts return related questions and will try and help users then and there.
|Date||Skype call time|
|13 November 2018||13:00 – 14:00|
|20 November 2018||13:00 – 14:00|
|27 November 2018||13:00 – 14:00|
|27 November 2018||13:00 – 14:00|
|4 December 2018||13:00 – 14:00|
|11 December 2018||13:00 – 14:00|
|18 December 2018||13:00 – 14:00|
|Daily 8 January 2019 - 21 January 2019||13:00 – 14:00|
If you use Skype, you can access the meeting via this link to join Skype meeting
If you don’t use Skype, you can dial 0203 321 5238 and, when prompted, enter the meeting code 7596 8164
Closed and transferred trusts
Academy trusts that close or transfer to a new trust between 1 September 2018 and 31 August 2019 should submit a final accounts return using the. If your trust closed before the 31 August 2018 you must submit your accounts return via the online form. We will not accept Excel returns for these trusts.
Your auditors must sign off your return and it must reflect transferring/closing balance of the trust. This can be completed whilst preparing the final financial statements for the trust. If your trust is due to close or transfer please contact us via the enquiry form and we will provide further details.
Why do we collect the accounts return from academy trusts?
ESFA requires all academy trusts preparing financial statements as at 31 August each year and/or with open academies at 31 August in that year to submit an accounts return for the same year.
DfE uses the information provided in the accounts return to prepare the academies consolidated annual report and accounts, which consolidates the accounts of more than 3,000 individual academy trusts to reflect the financial performance of the whole academy sector. It is prepared in accordance with International Financial Reporting Standards (as amended for the public sector context) described in HMT’s financial reporting manual (FReM).
We ask academy trusts complete the accounts return because DfE requires full accounting information. Individual trust financial statements do not provide the necessary information consistently and in accordance with the FReM to enable DfE to prepare the SARA.
You can read the academies consolidated annual report and accounts: 2015 to 2016.
We’ve also produced an accounts return introductory video where the ESFA explains more about this academy return. Accounts return introductory video
Links to other content
These links are for other academy financial returns:
- land and buildings collection tool
- budget forecast return
- financial statements
- academy accounts direction
If you have any questions about the accounts return, please contact us using our enquiry form.