The ESFA have released their latest version of the Academies Financial Handbook which comes into effect from 1st September 2020.
As a condition of their funding agreement, Academy trusts must comply with this handbook which provides a structure to implement efficient financial management and control. Now you may already be doing these but the 10 key changes include:
- A Clerk must now be at all Board Meetings.
- Board must appoint a CFO however this person can also fill roles such as Finance Director/Business Manager. To be approved by ESFA if not. The key point here is that the CFO must be an employee. If they’re not a direct employee (e.g. are a third party like one of our Consultants) then ESFA approval must be sought.
- Governing members must not be employed or undertake any staff role within the Trust, including unpaid.
- Fixed Asset Registers must be maintained.
- The Trust must manage risks to ensure its effective operation and must maintain a risk register. This is to be done annually at a minimum.
- Termly review of Pupil projections now a must.
- School Resource Management Advisor (SRMA) to be completed annually & submitted to the ESFA. Deadline mid-November.
- Removal of option for internal audit to be completed by external auditor.
- Should look to, and may now use, additional individuals or organisations to support internal scrutiny where specialist non-financial help is required. The inferral here is that IA should not just be about Finance but other areas should also be scrutinised.
- Annual Summary submitted to ESFA by 31st December must include:
- Areas reviewed
- Key findings