Better financial reporting for academy trusts

The Department for Education has launched a new academies chart of accounts as the first step to automated financial reporting.

The new academies chart of accounts will be used as the standard for financial data that underpins the academies accounts return and budget forecast returns. Adopting it will lead to significant future benefits for trusts, with the Education and Skills Funding Agency saying that approximately 65 per cent of the accounts return comes from data within a trial balance. Being able to have that data pre-populated will be extremely helpful to trusts.

It also means that the Department for Education can provide more accurate financial benchmarking information, which will allow academies to compare their finances with other similar academies with greater confidence. Adopting the academies chart of accounts is voluntary.

Lord Agnew, Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for the School System, said: “Our better financial reporting programme is a great step forward in our work to improve efficiency in schools. We have recognised that the current system of submitting financial data to the department is time consuming and offers insufficient benefit to academy trusts.

“By having a standard chart of accounts, we create the essential building blocks for the new system as it provides a consistent way of recording financial data for all academy trusts. This will allow us to reduce the burden on trusts through the electronic submission of financial data directly from finance systems and adding greater value to trusts by enabling us to create new financial efficiency tools as well as improve the timeliness and quality of the existing tools.”

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