Academies Financial Handbook

What has changed in this edition?

The main changes to this edition

Governance

Further information on governance arrangements including trustees' responsibility to maintain the trust as a going concern [1.14, 2.5 and 2.8], confirmation that members must not be employees or occupy unpaid staff roles [1.4], that members must remain informed about trust business [1.8] and that trusts must appoint a clerk to the board [1.40]. Also clarifying that trusts must keep their register of interests up to date [5.46].

Executive team

Confirmation that both the accounting officer and chief financial officer (CFO) should be employees, and a requirement for ESFA approval if, exceptionally, they are not [1.26 and 1.36]. Also encouraging larger trusts to consider relevant accountancy qualifications for their CFO, and for all CFOs to maintain professional development [1.37 and 1.38].

General controls and transparency

Updated clarifications including maintenance of a fixed asset register [2.7], termly review of pupil number projections [2.12], use of integrated curriculum and financial planning [2.13], avoidance of overdrafts [2.24], publication of information about high pay [2.32] and whistleblowing [2.44], confirmation that the trust's funds must not be used to purchase alcohol [2.35], board and committee responsibilities for risk management [2.38, and 3.6 to 3.8] and completion of the School resource management self-assessment tool [6.8].

Internal scrutiny

Updated text including clarification that internal scrutiny covers both financial and non-financial controls [3.1], removal of the option for internal audit to be performed by the external auditor [3.17 and 3.20] and confirmation that trusts can use additional individuals or organisations to support internal scrutiny where specialist non-financial knowledge is required [3.18 and 3.23].

Annual accounts

More on the audit and risk committee's role in relation to external audit [4.17].