Essential advice on the financial management of academy schools is the focus of a free online session hosted by Hampshire accountancy firm HWB.

Business managers, governors, bursars, heads of finance and trustees are among those set to attend the Academy Schools Forum from 12 noon to 1.30pm on Wednesday, 7 June 2023.

HWB director Michaela Johns, who is leading the session, said: “Academies are heavily regulated with strict requirements on governance and financial management. It’s essential to understand and stay up to date on all the technical accounting requirements. Our forum offers the opportunity to discuss the latest guidance.”

A key theme of the forum is the new Academies Accounts Direction (AAD), published in April 2023 by the Education and Skills Funding Agency (ESFA).

AAD compliance, including how ‘model’ accounts are to be shown, is a mandatory condition of an academy trust’s funding agreement.

Johns added: “AAD provides annually updated guidance on how academies should fulfil their financial reporting obligations. This year there is additional information to clarify issues such as how loans should be treated in financial statements and how teaching assistant costs are reflected in payroll postings.”

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As well as AAD, the agenda will cover topics such as investment policies, internal scrutiny, teachers’ pensions returns and assumptions underlying budget forecast returns.

Joining HWB as speakers at the event are Kirsteen Hook, a Partner at law firm Trethowans, and two team members from chartered surveyors Eddisons: head of business development Jenny Fram and building surveyor Annabel Huffer.

Hook, a specialist charities solicitor with more than ten years’ experience of advising academy trust companies, will discuss a range of issues around governance.

And in their presentation, Fram and Huffer will focus on the requirements involved in assessing buildings and estates for valuation and forward budgeting for repairs and replacement purposes.

Johns concluded: “Kirsteen, Jenny and Annabel will bring invaluable insight from their individual specialisms to help all attendees who are involved in academy governance or estate planning.

“This is whether they represent a single local authority school looking to convert to academy status, a small trust needing help with condition surveys and navigating estates funding, or a large multi-academy trust that requires advice on, for example, valuations, working towards net zero or project management.”