Annual Accounts Information on Your School Website

Annual Accounts Information on Your School Website Banner

By now most, if not all, schools know about the school website requirements. These website requirements outline the information that must be published on the school website. Your school's funding arrangements and the ages of the students at your school will determine which requirements should be followed. A number of the school website requirements are specifically for academies.

Today we're looking at an academy specific requirement. Displaying the annual accounts information on your school website. What needs to be published? When and where should it be published? Who should publish the information? The academy, or the multi academy trust?

Annual account information is almost certainly being produced. It is, after all, a key requirement to meet as part of the trust running an academy to provide the accounts information and meet the regulations outlined in the academies financial handbook. But these specific requirements focus on what should be published on the website.

Ultimately, the trust has to demonstrate that they are meeting their duty to run the schools they have been entrusted with. To demonstrate they are accountable for the way in which they have spent their money. And as a result the government can then be confident the trust is delivering value for money.

Publishing accounts information

Some of the accounts information on your website is made up of information to be updated annually, the rest is more static documents.

Annual accounts information on your school website

The accounts information requirements require your website to include two annually updated documents:

  • Annual report (which should include your financial statements)
  • Annual audited accounts

The annual audited accounts sit alongside the annual report to provide some context and explanation. A number of statutory elements make up this report, and should also include your financial statements. The purpose of the report is to explain the financial performance of the trust, and it's financial position at the end of the year.

Annual Report

  • a trustees’ report – signed by a trustee (usually the chair)
  • a governance statement – signed by both a trustee (usually the chair) and the accounting officer, including a review of value for money
  • a statement on regularity, propriety and compliance – signed by the accounting officer
  • a statement of trustees’ responsibilities – signed by a trustee (usually the chair)
  • an independent auditor’s report on the financial statements – signed by the auditor
  • an independent reporting accountant’s assurance report on regularity – signed by a reporting accountant, who must be the same person as the external auditor of the financial statements

Financial Statements

  • a statement of financial activities (SOFA)
  • a balance sheet – signed by a trustee (usually the chair)
  • a statement of cash flows
  • notes which expand on the financial statements

For more guidance see the government guidance on academy accounts direction.

Other accounts information on your school website

  • Memorandum and Articles of association
    Usually based on the model documents provided for companies, and also specifically for different types of trusts. For the most part these items are included in the same document. This document is approved by DfE before the trust is setup.
  • Names of charity trustees and members
    The documents of association will include this information. But rather than being buried within a 'boring' compliance document consider including a 'people' page on your website. This section could even including a brief bio about each of the trustees and members for the trust.
  • Funding agreement

Changes to the more static documents will only happen if there's a fairly drastic change to the academy trust. For the most part only changes to trustees or members will cause any of these documents to require an update. The majority of changes to ensure continued compliance, will be publishing annual accounts information on your school website.

Accounts Information Timeline

The annual accounts information has a clear timeline for publishing. The accounts information includes the annual report and financial statements. This annual accounts publishing timeline starts at the year end and runs until 31st May 2019. The DfE requires all academies and trusts to have a year end of 31st August. And as a result almost all trusts will be in this position.

  • August 31st - Prepare accounts (Or alternative accounting period end for non-conforming trusts).
  • Before December 31st - Arrange for accounts to be audited and returned.
  • December 31st - Submit audited accounts to ESFA [Education & Skills Funding Agency] (Or 4 months after accounting period end for non-conforming trusts).
  • January 31st - Publish accounts on academy trust website.
  • May 31st - Report and file accounts with Companies House.

Annual accounts information on your school website or your trust website?

The school website requirements page for academies and free schools advises that annual accounts information should be published on your school website. However, the academies financial handbooks and further guidance all advise that the audited annual accounts must be published on the trust website. So what should you do?

We'd recommend publishing documents in both locations, both on the school and trust websites. However, this can be tricky. Keeping multiple websites and multiple versions of documents up to date increases the chance of an error, or leaving an old document on one of the websites. As a result of this problem we've built a solution that manages the documents centrally but can display them on multiple websites. This helps bring down the management overhead, and ensures the most up to date documents are in place across the entire online estate of the trust.

It works with more than just your accounts information too, any central policies can be included within the shared document groups feature. (Get in touch about our shared document groups feature for how this can help your school).

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