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Accountancy and Business Advice for Schools and Academies

The growth of academies has placed new pressures on school management teams and governing bodies. Successful negotiation through the conversion process is only the first step.

Those responsible for the governance and management of academies must comply with the terms of their Funding Agreement and with the requirements of the Education Funding Agency (EFA), as well as with relevant companies and charities legislation.  They may need to set up a dedicated Audit Committee and will become responsible for additional accounting functions such as payroll.

Government funding is unlikely to increase at the same rate as forecast increases in pupil numbers and staff costs, so tight financial management and long-term budgeting are more important than ever.

The role of governing bodies has been transformed, bringing a new focus on the skills and experience of governors. This has implications for governor recruitment, training and performance.  The committee structure must also reflect the full scope of governors’ responsibilities

The Darnells education team brings financial expertise and direct experience of school business management to help academies face these new challenges with confidence.

Governance and Leadership

We can carry out a review of the skills, composition and operation of the governing body and committees.  This will be tailored to suit your needs and will help ensure that governors meet their legal responsibilities and make a positive contribution to the academy.  In addition to conducting skills reviews we help governors self-assess their skills and develop suitable action plans.  

We can review corporate structure and help governors ensure compliance with regulation, legislation and best practice. Committee structures, terms of reference, agendas, minutes and overall effectiveness are other aspects of academy governance where we provide advice and support.

Audit and Compliance

We do more than simply provide an audit of your year-end accounts and your Teachers Pensions end-of-year certificate.  We can help you ensure that accounting information and returns are legally compliant and that your financial control systems deliver the accountability expected by the EFA and Department of Education (DfE). Our management letters are practical and insightful.  

We help ensure that accounts meet all the required disclosures.  If required, we will advise on compliance issues related to other key areas, including staff contracts, health and safety processes or insurance arrangements, all of which can have significant financial implications.  We will help you set up an effective Audit Committee or, where permitted, advise on alternative ways of obtaining the necessary assurance.

Risk Management

When you understand how significant events such as changes to the school intake could affect your finances, you can prepare contingency plans and stay in control of events. Many academies are looking at alternative sources of income or at ways of reducing costs. We can review your circumstances and help ensure that the academy can face the future with confidence.  

The Risk Register should be an essential living document not just a compliance documentation. The Darnells team will help you identify and mitigate your main areas of financial risk and create a Risk Register that becomes a useful management tool.

The Darnells approach is all about partnership. The support we provide is highly flexible and designed around your unique situation, challenges and ambitions.  

Meet the Team

Paul Beard ACA FCCA

Paul Beard ACA FCCA

Managing Partner

Tim Synge BA FCA

Tim Synge BA FCA

Corporate Manager

Each department focuses on providing specialised and personalised service and our team is here to help you.