Academies Accounts Direction 2015 – Now Released!

The Academies Accounts Direction 2015 is hot off the press. This year we have the added complication of 2 different versions, following the release of a new Charities SORP. New academy trusts whose date of incorporation falls on or after 1 January 2015 must use the SORP 2015 version and everyone else must use the SORP 2005 version.

What’s new in the 2015 Accounts Direction?


  • Auditors are now required to notify the National Audit Office (NAO) and EFA as soon as possible, following discussion with the academy trustees, if they are issuing either a qualified audit report or a modified regularity report.


  • The governance statement includes a new section about value for money into. This replaces the requirement for trusts to publish separate value for money statements, which are withdrawn from the year ended 31 August 2015.

  • The governance statement re-emphasises that academy trusts must carry out a governance review in their first year and should, as a matter of best practice, also be doing this annually.

Financial Reporting

  • Individual disclosure of non-contractual severance payments must now be made on an individual basis, regardless of value. Confidentiality cannot be used as a reason for non-disclosure of these amounts, although the names of the recipients do not need to be disclosed.
  • The new Accounts Direction does not improve on the controversial disclosure of staff governor’s remuneration. Instead it now requires that Trustee Remuneration includes employer pension contributions. Therefore, Staff Trustees and the Accounting Officer will now have their pension contributions from the academy trust disclosed separately (this can still be in the £5,000 bands). Coketown gives an example, as follows: A Smith (staff trustee), Remuneration £35,000 -£40,000 (2014: £35,000 -£40,000), Employer’s pension contributions £5,000 -£10,000 (2014: £5,000 -£10, 000)
  • There is additional guidance on the treatment of buildings occupied by church academies, which should be based on the substance of the arrangement rather than on its legal form. The new Accounts Direction (section 8.7.5) discusses the recognition of church buildings in quite some detail and concludes that ‘Taking all considerations into account it is likely that most church academies will conclude that the asset should be recognised on their balance sheet’.
  • Section 8.9 is a new section that clarifies the accounting treatment of any academy combinations or dissolutions. It is more likely the dissolution part of this section will apply here, in particular where an academy leaves an existing multi-academy trust. In addition, the section also covers where an additional academy joins an existing academy trust.
  • There is clarification for academy trusts that have opted into the EFA’s Risk Protection Arrangement (RPA) that they must gross up their GAG income in the year where deduction has been made for the cost of this arrangement.

Differences between the SORP 2005 and SORP 2015 versions

The SORP 2015 version of the Accounts Direction must only used only by academy trusts whose date of incorporation falls on or after 1 January 2015. There are very few differences compared to the SORP 2005 version. These are as follows:

  • The Trustees’ report is required to contain sections on setting the pay and remuneration of key management personnel and reviewing reserves policies.

  • Total employee benefits paid to key management personnel (defined as the trustees and the senior management team) are to be disclosed in the staff costs note. No individual disclosure is required, just the total cost to the academy trust in the accounting period.

The full text of both versions of the Accounts Direction can be found here: