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Academies & Education

Academy Schools & Further Education

At PKF Francis Clark we’re proud to work with a large number of educational organisations in our region, from Further Education colleges to academy trusts (of all sizes) and independent schools. We’ve an in-depth knowledge of this complex sector that you want from a trusted partner.

We offer the full suite of services you’d expect, along with offering:

  • A personable, friendly and helpful approach with our clients.
  • A safe pair of hands with invaluable experience and insights in education. We remain focused on delivering personal, tailored services to each organisation and we firmly believe that ‘one size does not fit all’.
  • The latest updates on sector developments – we continually invest and train our education team and adapt where necessary to stay ahead of a rapidly-changing compliance environment.

We tailor all of these services to educational organisations including:

Audit and Assurance

Our audit and assurance services are carefully planned so that we can perform a risk-focused audit. This ensures that our team have a real understanding of the figures.

In addition to the statutory audit and regularity report we also provide additional assurance services for:

  • Academy Accounts Return (AAR)
  • Teachers’ Pension End of Year Certificate (EOYC)
  • Ad-hoc grants – e.g. RGF, LEP, local councils
  • Controls assurance/ Responsible Officer role
  • ICFP Evaluations (Integrated Curriculum Financial Planning) – parts 1 and 2 of Annex K

Tax and VAT

We can help you manage employment taxes and corporation tax, which are most relevant to academy schools and other educational organisations.

Even if your organisation is not in a tax-paying position, HMRC will periodically request that a corporation tax return is submitted – which (depending on trust size) may or may not need the statutory accounts to be ‘tagged’.

Our award-winning tax team is experienced in advising educational organisations and can support you with all tax compliance matters.

Our VAT team has extensive knowledge of the issues that academy schools and other educational organisations face.

We provide advice on a wide range of areas including registration, partial exemption, treatment of grants and property transactions – all focusing on helping you and your organisation manage VAT accurately and efficiently.

Accountancy support

Our accountancy support covers almost any area of finance including:

  • Budget Forecast Returns (BFR)
  • Budget Forecast Return Outturn (BFRO)
  • Land and Buildings Collection Tool
  • Land and Buildings Valuation Return
  • Other ad-hoc returns and general assistance

Academy Schools

Our specialist services for academy schools include:

Controls assurance/ Responsible Officer (‘RO’) role

As required by the Academies Financial Handbook, we can perform a review of your internal controls. This service involves us following a pre-agreed program of work, checking internal controls in key and/or vulnerable areas, and can give you valuable insight. This service can be provided to Trusts where we are appointed as external auditor as well as to other Trusts as a standalone service.

Conversion support

We understand the unique issues facing academies and in particular assisting schools as they undergo their transition to academy status. We provide much-needed support through the conversion process and beyond, with our dedicated conversion support service.

Due Diligence

The government favours the Multi Academy Trust (‘MAT’) model and continues to encourage school to convert and create successful MATs. As such ‘due diligence’ becomes an increasingly important focus area – for the school considering conversion, the school considering joining a MAT and the MAT considering new joiners.

Further guidance on this area can be found in our blog: Academies & Education Due Diligence.

Read More

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Further Content

Conversion Support Service
Independent Schools
Academies & Education Due Diligence


“The support, advice and service provided by PKF Francis Clark has proved invaluable over the past few years, in an increasingly complex financial landscape. In particular, we have been extremely pleased with the level of external controls assurance offered and delighted with the level of support and advice that they have provided as the Trust has evolved and grown. We have full confidence and trust in all aspects of the service they provide and we look forward to continuing our excellent working partnership.”

Atlantic Centre of Excellence MAT
(Gill Harper/ Angela Andrews)

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