Academies accounts return

Information to help academy trusts to complete their accounts return.


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.

You can also view the recordings of our webinars, introducing ESFA’s academies accounts return for 2016 to 2017.

2017 to 2018 accounts return

Academy trusts that close or transfer to a new trust between 1 September 2017 and 31 August 2018 should submit a final accounts return using the Accounts return 2017 to 2018: Excel workbook (XLSM, 5.52MB) .

Excel returns will only be accepted when the online form isn’t live. 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.

For all other trusts open throughout this period, we’ll publish the guide to completing the 31 August 2018 accounts return in September 2018. Please note that these trusts must complete the online form to submit their accounts return.

Accessing the accounts return online form

Please note that the online form is now closed. It will reopen in October 2018 for completion of 2017/18 accounts return - the deadline for submision by your auditors is the 21 January 2019.

ESFA questions

If you have any questions about the accounts return, please contact us using our enquiry form.

Published 28 September 2017
Last updated 18 April 2018 + show all updates
  1. Updated as the accounts return online form is now closed for the 2016 to 2017 collection. It'll re-open in October 2018 for the 2017 to 2018 collection with a deadline of the 21 January 2019.
  2. Updated to add the Accounts return 2017 to 2018 Excel workbook for academy trusts that close or transfer between 1 September 2017 and 31 August 2018.
  3. Updated with corrections to the Excel workbook and to add a new doument that provides a list of trusts and academies included within the aggregated balance counterparty entry.
  4. We've added a link to the most recent accounts return webinar.
  5. We've updated this page to include a link to the webinar broadcast on 9 November 2017 which introduces ESFA’s academies accounts return.
  6. Guidance updated (page 23, paragraph 103) to make clear that trusts should only use full time equivalents when calculating the staff gender analysis. Excel workbook updated following changes to the online form and some formula updates.
  7. Page updated to correct a formula in the Excel worksheet and to correct information about trustee remuneration on page 24 of the guide to completing the return.
  8. First published.