Who we help


Academies VAT Guide 2023

29 Jun 2023

A guide for academies on VAT and how to treat common transactions

Academy Accounts Direction Key Changes 2020

15 Jul 2020

Internal Scrutiny in Academy Trusts

15 Jul 2020

Academies webinar

15 Jul 2020

In our webinar, Charlotte Toemaes and Jack Nield discuss the latest academy updates you need to be aware of.

Academies brochure

05 Aug 2019

Accounting for academies

The regulatory framework that Academies must operate within can be demanding, complicated and ever-changing, making it hard to keep up. However, we know that change can mean opportunities, as well as obstacles and our dedicated accounting for academies team specialise in helping new and existing Academies identify their priorities and problems and find the best way forward.

Converting to an Academy can be a daunting prospect and you need to feel confident that your adviser can and will provide a great deal of guidance and support both throughout the conversion process and beyond.

As part of the UK200Group and their specialist Academy forum, we are part of a group of accountancy firms who regularly exchange information and knowledge. Between us, we act for over 14% of all Academies in the UK and have the expertise to guide you seamlessly through everything that is required.

Would you like advice on converting to an Academy?

Guidance on the academy conversion process

One of the key areas to consider on conversion to an Academy is establishing the opening balance sheet position with regard to transfers from the Local Education Authority, in particular the value of the assets and liabilities that will be transferred. The largest of these is often the value of the land and buildings and consideration of the period over which to depreciate these assets has a significant impact on the accounts. We are familiar with the key considerations and through discussions with you, we can assist in establishing an appropriate opening position.

Preparation & audit of annual accounts

Each year the Academy will be required to produce audited statutory accounts that are compliant with both the Charities SORP and the Academies Accounts Direction (AAD). We are familiar with the relevant requirements and are able to efficiently produce the statutory accounts on your behalf, which can then be audited by our separate audit team, as required by the AAD. Our audit ethos is to add as much value as possible whilst ensuring the minimum amount of disruption to Academy staff.

Consideration of pensions issues

On conversion to an Academy, the Trust will inherit the deficit (or surplus) on the Local Government Pension Scheme (LGPS). An actuarial valuation is required to be obtained on conversion to determine the value inherited and a further valuation must be obtained at each year end from the Actuary involved in administering the scheme. The accounting and disclosures requirements in this area are complex and susceptible to error but we have the relevant expertise to take the hassle out of the process.

Assistance with EFSA reporting requirements

In addition to the annual audited statutory accounts, the Academy will be required to provide several additional returns to the EFSA each year. These include:

  • March Accounts Return
  • August Accounts Return
  • Budget Return
  • Financial management and governance self-assessment

Depending on the level of knowledge held internally by the Academy, we are able to assist in their completion to a greater or lesser degree, as required.

Accounting for Academies – VAT advice

Each Academy must consider whether or not they are required to register for VAT and if it is not required, then whether or not it would be beneficial to voluntarily do so. Where VAT registration is not of benefit, Academies are able to reclaim their input VAT via the VAT 126 form. The best course of the action depends on the Academy’s individual circumstances and we can assess the situation with you to advise on setting up the right structure for the Academy.

Independent checking of financial systems & internal controls

As set out in the Academies Financial Handbook, each Academy must have in place a process for the independent checking of financial controls, systems, transactions and risks. There are a number of options that are available to Academies to conduct this work, however, it is often preferred that a supplementary program of work is carried out by the external auditor.  Our accounting for academies specialists can deliver a quarterly programme of work including a report for Governors with our relevant findings.

Audit of teachers pensions end of year certificate

Each year Academies are required to submit an audited end of year certificate in relation to the Teacher’s Pension Scheme (TPS). Our team can complete this within the short timescale required and assist with submission to TPS.

Company secretarial services

Ellacotts company secretarial service makes use of our extensive expertise in company incorporation, compliance and administration. We can help you to comply with your statutory obligations under the Companies Act and ensure you avoid any penalties for late filing of annual returns, accounts and other documents.

We can:

  • maintain your statutory register and update this with any appointments or resignations of directors
  • prepare the company minutes and resolutions
  • prepare and file your annual confirmation statement

Contact our accounting for academies team to discuss your requirements.

Speak to an expert

David Stevens

Managing Partner


Charlotte Toemaes (née Houghton)



Jasmin Shackleton

Senior Manager


Gosford Hill School is proud to work with Ellacotts.

Gosford Hill School

Finances can be complicated.
Let us connect the dots for you…