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Academy Accounts Direction 2023 to 2024 – What’s new this year?

Academy Accounts Direction 2023 to 2024 – What’s new this year?

The Academies Accounts Direction 2023 to 2024 has recently been published by the ESFA and is available on the following link Academies accounts direction 2023 to 2024 ( article sets out what has changed since last year. 

Main changes:

  • There is a new section which sets out key requirements to help academy trusts understand their obligations. 
  • The relationship between the financial statements and other financial returns is clarified (paragraphs 1.4-1.5). Academy Trusts are required to produce their accounts in accordance with: 
    • The Companies Act 2006
    • FRS 102
    • Charities Statement of Recommended Practice 2019
    • Academies Accounts Direction

Some of the reporting requirements for the financial statements differ from those of the Academies Accounts Return. This is because the Academies Accounts Return is used to produce the consolidated Sector Annual Report and Accounts which are produced in accordance with the Financial Reporting Manual issued by HM Treasury. The Financial Reporting Manual applies International Financial Reporting Standards as adapted or interpreted for the public sector. 

  • References to the COVID-19 supplementary bulletin have been removed as COVID-19 grants have either stopped or become part of business-as-usual activity.
  • Review of effectiveness of the system of internal control must now include a conclusion on whether the academy trust has an adequate and effective framework for governance, risk management and control (paragraph 1.17 and 2.48). Academy trusts must include this conclusion. 
  • ESFA feedback has been updated based on the outcomes of its assurance work and compliance with the Direction (paragraphs 1.20-23 and Annex A). The following link sets out their key findings Common themes arising from ESFA's assurance work in 2022 to 2023 - GOV.UK (
  • Further examples of sources of information to inform the accounting officer’s statement of regularity, propriety and compliance are set out (paragraph 2.57). For example, evaluation of compliance with the “musts” in the Handbook and reviewing managements reporting documents. 
  • They have confirmed how 16-19 core education funding should be disclosed in the financial 
  • statements (paragraph 2.98). Material non-GAG DfE/ESFA grants should be separately disclosed in the funding for the academy trust’s charitable activities income note. 
  • There is clarification that the staff costs note should separately identify other employee benefits (paragraph 2.134). FRS 102 defines employee benefits as - "All forms of consideration given by an entity in exchange for services rendered by employees" and examples provided in FRS 102 (other than wages, salaries, social security and pension costs) include non-monetary benefits such as medical care, housing, cars.
  • Suggestions for determining an appropriate fair value for an asset where an academy trust occupies its premises under a long leasehold for initial recognition are set out in (paragraph 3.27)
    • Obtaining a valuation from a chartered surveyor
    • Obtaining a valuation from the relevant local authority
    • Obtaining a valuation from the construction company
    • Assessing the value of any assets from a transferring academy trust
    • Assessing valuation certificated provided by the DfE (However these valuations are prepared under International Financial Reporting Standards)
  • Whichever source is used the academy trust remains responsible for appraising the valuation method adopted to ensure it is complete, appropriate and complies with FRS 102.
  • The information to be disclosed for agency arrangements has been updated to include cumulative unspent fund balances, an example disclosure note is included in (paragraph 3.132).

We hope you have found this summary helpful. If it raises queries for you do not hesitate to get in touch.