Information for academy trusts to complete their accounts return.

Accessing the academies accounts return form

The academies accounts return (AR) for 2019/20 will be available for input from 10 November 2020, and the submission deadline is 23 February 2021. The guidance for using the AR online form has been updated for 2019/20 and can be found by clicking on the highlighted link below. The pensions guidance and actuary statements have also been updated along with information about support available via web chat and MS Team calls whilst the AR is live.

The AR 2018/19 is still available to view existing information: view your AR 2018/2019.

Academies accounts return 2019/20 – updates and additional information requirements

As in previous years there are a number of amendments to the form. Updates mainly cover new reporting requirements but also includes improvements to the user experience.

October 2020 update - we have updated this document to include changes made to information required for ‘Employee emoluments more than £100k’ and ‘Related party transactions (trustee remuneration)’ for 2019/20, and to add a table for prior year 2018/19 disclosures. Bandings selected in each table must include salary, employer pension contributions and other benefits.

This purpose of this document is:

  • to highlight the updates to information required for the 2019/20 AR
  • to set out the differences between the financial statements prepared by trusts in accordance with the Academies Accounts Direction (AAD) and the information required for the AR

Academies accounts return 2019/20: Updates and additional information requirements October 2020

PDF, 457KB, 16 pages

2019/20 academies accounts return

The guidance for completing the online form is in HTML format. Please use this link to access the guidance for completing the AR.

Guidance for using the accounts return online form

AR Excel workbook

The Excel workbook, for accounting year 2019/020, is available for closed and transferred trusts to complete and to help users prepare their AR.

Academies accounts return 2019/2020: Excel workbook

XLSM, 8.46MB

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The academies chart of accounts may also help trusts to complete the AR.

New academy trusts

New trusts that opened their first academies at any point during the period from 1 September 2019 to 31 August 2020 are expected to complete an AR.

It is important for new trusts to register for and IDAMS account to ensure they can access the accounts return online form.

Closed and transferred trusts

Academy trusts that ceased operating or whose academies all transferred to a new trust between 1 September 2019 and 31 August 2020, must submit a final AR. We will contact these trusts directly.

1st September 2019 transfers

For trusts that ceased operating on 31 August 2019 and all academies transferred to another trust on 1 September 2019, we must be able to identify the transferring balances to the receiving academy trust. This requires the closing trust to complete a 1-day stand-alone AR for 1 September 2019, as if the trust were operational on that day. This 1-day AR should be submitted via the AR return Excel workbook by 1 January 2020.

In-year closures 2019/20

Trust that cease to be operational at any other time in the year must also complete a closing AR. Again, this should be prepared using the AR Excel workbook until such time that the AR online form is available in the Autumn. From that point on, all returns must be submitted online.

Your auditors must sign off the closing AR and it must reflect all of the transferring/closing balance of the trust. This can be completed whilst preparing the final financial statements for the trust.

Detailed guidance for academy trusts and auditors on preparing and auditing academy trusts’ annual financial statements can be found on the Academies Accounts Direction GOV.UK page.

Pension guidance

The pension guidance will help users complete the pension sections within the AR.

Guide to pensions section of the academies accounts return 2019/2020

PDF, 246KB, 24 pages

For illustration purposes only, we have mapped the four actuarial reports of AON, Barnett Waddingham, Hymans Robertson and Mercer to the AR online form using the form’s referencing. These example reports have been annotated by the AR team to show the translation to your final pension actuarial statement. This should help you complete the pension information tables which can be found within the balance sheet funds and disclosure section of the AR.

Further support

MS Teams calls and web chat service

We are hosting MS Teams calls and web chats to give you the opportunity to ask questions about the AR. Details about the MS Teams calls and web chats can be found below:

DateSessionTime
26 November 2020Web chat10am to 11am
1 December 2020MS Teams call1pm to 2pm
10 December 2020Web chat10am to 11am
15 December 2020MS Teams call1pm to 2pm
7 January 2021Web chat10am to 11am
12 January 2021MS Teams call1pm to 2pm
21 January 2021Web chat10am to 11am
26 January 2020MS Teams call1pm to 2pm
02 February 2020MS Teams call1pm to 2pm
04 February 2020Web chat10am to 11am
08 February 2020Web chat10am to 11am
09 February 2020MS Teams call1pm to 2pm
10 February 2020Web chat10am to 11am
11 February 2020MS Teams call1pm to 2pm
12 February 2020Web chat10am to 11am
15 February 2020Web chat10am to 11am
16 February 2020MS Teams call1pm to 2pm
17 February 2020Web chat10am to 11am
18 February 2020MS Teams call1pm to 2pm
19 February 2020Web chat10am to 11am
22 February 2020Web chat10am to 11am
23 February 2020Web chat10am to 11am
24 February 2020MS Teams call1pm to 2pm

For MS Teams calls you can either use the MS Teams app or dial in using this number 02033 215 238 and when prompted enter this conference code: 412 051 310#

We will be using sli.do (https://www.sli.do/) for our web chat service. Please enter #AR2020 to access the web chat forum. Please check back for a response to your question regularly, we will be responding to questions several times a week.

ESFA questions

If you have any questions about the AR, please contact us using our enquiry form.

Published 28 September 2017
Last updated 5 November 2020 + show all updates
  1. We have updated this page to add the Excel workbook to help academy trusts to prepare their academies accounts return for the 2019/20 financial year.

  2. We have updated this page with guidance and resources to support trusts completing their academies accounts return for 2019/20.

  3. We have updated the page to change the deadline for submitting the 2019/2020 accounts return to 23 February 2021.

  4. We have added a new document 'Academies accounts return 2019/2020 – updates and additional information requirements'. This purpose of this document is: - to highlight the updates to information required for the 2019/2020 accounts return - to set out the differences between the financial statements prepared by trusts in accordance with the [Academies Accounts Direction](https://www.gov.uk/guidance/academies-accounts-direction) and the information required for the accounts return

  5. Landing page updated to include information about changes to the counterparty sections of the academies accounts return 2019/2020.

  6. The accounts return is now live, please log in and complete your return by the deadline 20 January 2020.

  7. We have updated the accounts return page for the latest guidance and updates for the upcoming return.

  8. We have added a document to the academies accounts return guidance page to help trusts and their auditors prepare for the accounts return later this year. The document provides details about the key differences between the trust’s financial statements and the accounts return. The deadline for the accounts return is Monday 20 January 2020.

  9. We've updated the Excel template for trusts that have ceased operating since September 2018.

  10. We have updated the excel workbook with a new version.

  11. We have updated the "Barnett Waddingham- Actuarial Result Schedule 2018" and the "List of trusts and academies included within the aggregated balance counterparty entry" documents.

  12. We've updated the dates for the skype call - the next call will be on 3 December 2018 between 13:00 and 14:00.

  13. We've added details on how to contact us via webchat and updated the skype contact details.

  14. We've added a new version of the Excel workbook for users.

  15. Page updated to reinstate the link to the online form for the academies accounts return.

  16. Please note: The online form for the academies accounts return is currently unavailable due to technical issues. We expect to restore the system by 10am on 31 October 2018

  17. Updated to include extra guidance on how translate a trust's pension statement into the accounts return. Also updated Excel workbook and details for the validation error mapping to the Excel workbook.

  18. Updated with a link to the accounts return online form which is now live for academy trusts to use to complete and submit their accounts return by 21 January 2019.

  19. We have published the accounts return online form guidance, the form will go-live in October and your external auditors must submit your return by 21 January 2019

  20. We have updated the accounts return page to include a new document that explains the differences between the preparation for the financial statements and that of the accounts return. We will update this page next in September 2018 with the detailed guidance for the accounts return.

  21. We have addded a guidance video to provide further details about the accounts return process

  22. Updated as the accounts return online form is now closed for the 2016 to 2017 collection. It'll re-open in October 2018 for the 2017 to 2018 collection with a deadline of the 21 January 2019.

  23. Updated to add the Accounts return 2017 to 2018 Excel workbook for academy trusts that close or transfer between 1 September 2017 and 31 August 2018.

  24. Updated with corrections to the Excel workbook and to add a new doument that provides a list of trusts and academies included within the aggregated balance counterparty entry.

  25. We've added a link to the most recent accounts return webinar.

  26. We've updated this page to include a link to the webinar broadcast on 9 November 2017 which introduces ESFA’s academies accounts return.

  27. Guidance updated (page 23, paragraph 103) to make clear that trusts should only use full time equivalents when calculating the staff gender analysis. Excel workbook updated following changes to the online form and some formula updates.

  28. Page updated to correct a formula in the Excel worksheet and to correct information about trustee remuneration on page 24 of the guide to completing the return.

  29. First published.

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