Financial Reporting deadlines for 2019

Published by Phil Reynolds on 25 March 2019

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In their latest letter to Academy Trusts, the ESFA have confirmed the submission deadlines and launch dates of the various returns which are required to be submitted.

The dates are as follows:

ReturnLaunch dateDeadline for submission
Budget forecast return outturn9 April 201921 May 2019
Budget forecast return18 June 201930 July 2019
Land and buildings collection tool1 October 20194 November 2019
Financial statements and Auditor’s management letter15 October 201931 December 2019
Accounts return4 November 201920 January 2020

Those Trusts that fail to meet the above deadlines (for 2 returns) will once again be included in the ESFA’s “name and shame” list. The 2018 list named 88 Trusts out of a population of around 3,000 (3%). It will be interesting to see how many are named when the list is published later in 2019. Based upon the ESFA stating that submission rates have improved we would expect to see this population decrease.

Future developments

The ESFA are currently exploring ways in which they can improve the financial reporting programme to help reduce the existing burden of reporting for academy trusts and produce more information and insight to support trusts.

One proposed solution is the development of automated data collection which will allow trusts to upload trial balance data directly from their financial management systems and pre-populate the financial returns where possible.

This will be hugely dependent upon a) trusts submitting the information and b) the data being accurate. Items such as year-end accruals and prepayments will need to be processed by trusts before submission is made if the data is going to be of any use to the ESFA and the wider sector.

To assist with this the ESFA are also looking to publish a chart of accounts later this year. Trusts will be allowed to decide if they wish to adopt and/or implement this for 2019/20. But by adopting the chart of accounts it will enable trusts to achieve the maximum benefit from the automated data collection function.

Again though, this could lead to inconsistencies across the sector and for those that don’t adopt it is likely this will create more work to enable any upload to be meaningful.

It will be interesting to see how this develops.

Make sure you download your complimentary copy of Kreston’s Academies Benchmark Report 2019 here: http://eepurl.com/ge8wvr

This year the report includes over 350 Trusts representing nearly 1000 schools and is based on those Academies that prepared financial statements for the period ended 31 August 2018 and which were audited by member firms of Kreston UK.

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