In its white paper published March 2016, the government has indicated its intention for all remaining maintained schools to either be academies, or to have begun the process of becoming academies, by 2020. Whether or not this is advantageous educationally is not a question for a firm of accountants. What we can say is that conversion brings with it increased financial responsibilities.

On conversion an academy usually assumes ownership of the predecessor school’s moveable assets and acquires an interest in the land and buildings in the form of a long term, negligible rent lease. It will also take on the employment of the staff and become party to all prior contracts. From the get go the new academy must, therefore, have in place its own bank account and procedures for paying staff and suppliers.

The new entity, being both a company and charity, is required to comply with both company and charity financial rules, and to ensure the proper use of public funds received. An accounting system sufficient to comply with the rules is, therefore, also a must (the senior leadership team and governing body are likely to have their requirements too).

Suffice to say, in becoming an academy your finance staff are going to need training and assistance. That is where we would hope to help.

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