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Prepare for the academies accounts return (AAR) 2022/23

Date published: Date modified: 2024-02-09

It’s time to start preparing for the academies accounts return (AAR) 2022/23! 

The deadline for the academies accounts return (AAR) is fast approaching - the deadline for submission is 30 January 2024. This affects all academy trusts with academies open at any point during the year from 1 September 2023 to 31 August 2024. You can complete the return here.

Changes to the academies accounts return 2022/23 

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. 

  • Guidance added to 'Is this academy a teaching school hub?' to help trusts identify where to report the related income & expenditure
  • Guidance added to question 8 to help trusts identify where to report related income & expenditure if they offer boarding provision
  • New question - 18A - 'Has the trust made any dilapidation provision on leaded?' - answering yes will display a new field to add a value
  • SoFA - new field RGR011 - 16-19 allocations to report total programme funding - no longer included in GAG
  • New field - RGR011_PY - this is to capture data that was included in RGGR010 on the previous year's return, and will enable comparative data in SARA
  • Updated guidance for RGR010, 030 & 080 in revenue grants - 16-19 no longer included in GAG statement
  • Guidance updated for RGR090 - grant for trust activity in revenue grants 
  • Guidance updated for RGR150 - removed reference to TPECG as now in GAG statement
  • Guidance updated for CFR010, CAD010 & CAS010 for attributable apprentice levy costs
  • New fields BTI011, BAI011 & BOI011 16-19 - allocations added to reflect the new RGR011
  • BAI011-A & BAI010-A will be prepopulated for SATS
  • Guidance for BAE300 & BTE300 updated to make it clearer that admin agency staff costs should be included
  • BAE300-A no longer prepopulated for SATS as it previously had a sum including figure above

Key areas to focus on: 

This section is intended to draw attention to areas where inconsistencies were noted within the submission of the academies accounts return or where more recently changes have taken place. This is to highlight where improvements can be made in the quality of the return data: 

  • Number of employees whose emoluments exceed £60k and £100k: ensure that for both sections, emolument bandings are selected based on total emoluments which includes salary, employer pensions contributions and other benefits. It was noted that previously, in particular for the emoluments over £60k that employer pensions contributions were not always included when selecting the emoluments banding. 
  • Staff numbers: permanent and temporary staff numbers should be full-time equivalent (FTE) figures which differs from the requirement in the audited financial statements which requires average headcount (with an optional FTE disclosure allowed if preferred). 
  • COVID-19 funding: ensure that any COVID-19 grant income is disclosed in either of the following fields: RGR151, RGR152, RGR153, ORG041 or ORG042. 
  • Academies chart of accounts (CoA) allocation of grant funding: 
  • Refer to the following guidance for information on how to manually reallocate the values in the AR if you are completing the online form through automation: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/academies-chart-of-accounts/guide-to-automating-the-academies-accounts-return#after-accepting-the-fms-submission—accounts-return  

Steps to completing the academies accounts return: 

  1. 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. 
  2. Log into the online forms service for academy trusts and select the accounts return online form for 2022/23. 
  3. When a trust submitted an AR in the previous period, we will use details from that submission to pre-populate the current year's 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. 
  4. 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. 
  5. Then clear all hard validations and provide explanations (where applicable) to all soft validations. 
  6. 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. 
  7. 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.

Need help with the AAR? 

For further information on any of these changes, please visit the academies accounts return webpage and download our recorded training session on the AAR below.

If you’re interested in finding out more about our financial management services, get in touch! 

Download our Prepare for the Academies Accounts Return (AAR) session recording

By SAAF Education
SAAF Education 340 110

11 January 2024

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Education
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