Written by Ashley Goldsmith, Product Manager (Accounts Production)
This year’s Academies Accounts Direction was published at the end of March 2021 ahead of the August 2021 reporting season – a full 3 months ahead of the release of the previous year’s version which (after the initial Covid-19 related delays) finally arrived in June 2020.
What changes can be expected?
We are in the process of finalising our specifications for the necessary template changes and it is likely that we will be making the following amendments:
• Funding for Educational Operations note – this will need to be amended in accordance with the new AAD. It is likely that additional mapping will be added to the template to cater for the new disclosure requirements, which may mean that prior year balances would need to be re-mapped.
• Teachers’ Pensions Scheme – due to the fact that our compliance team will receive this updated wording too late in the year, we are very likely to make this text area editable so that clients can manually update this wording as required. We will be updating the default wording via a mid-season ePack but this will mean that clients will not have to wait for this update to make any changes.
• Statement of Financial Activities – the AAD has re-ordered some of the categories of charitable income and therefore this will be updated accordingly.
• Minor changes to both the Governance report and the Trustees’ report.
• We also hope to include improved custom report functionality, making it much easier to effectively embed MS Word documents into a set of Accounts, replacing our default content. This should be particularly useful for clients wishing to use MS Word for the Trustees’ report which, we know, can often run for dozens of pages.
Our contacts at ESFA (Educational and Skills Funding Agency) have informed us that there will be another Supplementary bulletin which will make further amendments to the Academy reporting requirements for the period to 31st August 2021.
It is unlikely that this will be published before the end of June 2021 which, unfortunately, will mean that a mid-season Academy ePack update is highly likely (as was the case in 2020).
We have no knowledge of the contents of this bulletin and cannot therefore comment any further upon its likely size or impact, but we would anticipate needing between 6-8 weeks to specify, develop and thoroughly test any such changes and have pencilled in an ePack to be released in late September 2021 to cover these off.
Academies Beta Group
With the tumultuous state of the world in 2020, we ran a very successful Academies beta group via our Cloud portal for any interested clients to participate in and we will be repeating this process in the next couple of months.
We will share more details about our specifications with the group in order to ensure that the changes we release in July are in line with client expectations. It is also a good forum to request additional features or enhancements to the product.
If you were registered last year, your details have been retained in the group and if you would like to participate, please email firstname.lastname@example.org and ask to be added to the Academies Beta Group.
Initial communications in this forum are likely to start at the end of May 2021.