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Academies accounts return 2021/22

Date published: Date modified: 2022-12-23

Christmas is right around the corner – so now is the perfect time to prepare for the academies accounts (AR) return!

The AR 2021/22 form is available now for all trusts to complete their return. The deadline for submission is 19 January 2023. This affects all academy trusts with academies open at any point during the year from 1 September 2022 to 31 August 2023. You can complete the return here.

Are you automating your AR? Guidance has been provided on the academies chart of accounts and automating the accounts return.

Steps to completing the academies accounts return




Log into IDAMS to either register or review and update existing information.
Super users must review user roles and approve any new positions.
Link to Academy trust IDAMS guidance for financial returns.


Log into the online forms service for academy trusts and select the accounts return online form for 2021/22.


When a trust submitted an AR the previous period, we will use details from that submission to pre-populate the current year external auditor details table. If the details are correct, tick the box and mark the table as complete or edit/add the correct details. See section 3.1 for more information about setting up external auditor details.


Academy trust preparer/approver or external auditor preparer completes the Overview to Counterparty sections of the return. The external auditor preparer/approver cannot complete the external auditor details table in the overview section.


Then clear all hard validations and provide explanations (where applicable) to all soft validations.


If a preparer completed the return, then they should complete the preparer declaration table so that the accounts return internal approver can review the form and if happy approve it.


The external auditor approver reviews the form, approves, and submits it to ESFA when satisfied.
The external auditor approver can reject the form and send it back to the accounts return approver for amendments.


Changes to the academies accounts return 2021/22

Like previous years, there are amendments to the form which mainly covers new reporting requirements and improvements to user experience. We have summarised the key changes below. You can find the detailed changes here.

Key changes to the AAR 2021/22:

  • Additional question which asks trusts whether they have outsourced the completion of the online form
  • New SOFA fields to report recovery premium and legal fees on conversion
  • Land and buildings section for Single Academy Trust (SAT) prepopulated with data keyed in the tangible fixed assets tables
  • New benchmarking field to report COVID-19 government funding for MAT central services
  • Updated guidance on sensitivity analysis and average future life expectancies for trusts that are part of multiple LGPS
  • Updated guidance on how to report employer national insurance contribution in staff costs in counterparty section

Need help with the AR return?

We ran a free session on 1 December 2022 to help prepare delegates for the AAR. If you would like a copy of the recording, please request this by emailing marketing@saafeducation.org.

If you’re interested in finding out more about our financial management and consultancy, payroll or recruitment services, get in touch!


By SAAF Education
SAAF Education 340 110

7 December 2022


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