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Accounting for Academies: The Dire Consequences of Missed Deadlines

by Paul Sedgwick

With the pressures of daily life, particularly in these recent times, it’s all too easy to lose track of deadlines.

In many cases, you may only await a minor penalty or a slapped wrist.  However, for academies, the consequences of a missed deadline are more stringent.  Instead of a mere penalty, they can expect to be publicly named and shamed.

No matter what the reason, missing two deadlines in any academic year will lead to a red flag, and a diminished reputation.  

Bear in mind that while there may be very pertinent and valid reasons for an academy to miss an occasional deadline,  these won’t be taken into account – and as everybody knows, no amount of positive publicity can outstrip the damage done by the circulation of just one negative story.

However, in other cases, a missed deadline may well be symptomatic of a wider issue that needs addressing.

The Consequences of Missed Deadlines

The ESFA has the power to instigate a formal review of an academy’s financial management processes, in cases where they feel that significant remedial action is needed, or that the situation has not been properly recognised.

A very public Financial Notice to Improve will then be issued.  With that come added constraints, added scrutiny, added pressures, added reporting, and of course, added negativity.  All because two deadlines were missed.

As if all that wasn’t enough, the academy will need to ensure that any improvement measures do not happen too rapidly.  This will attract suspicion as to how such improvement was achieved, on the basis that it isn’t possible to improve more quickly than the plan dictates.

To avoid the collateral damage that will come from missing just two deadlines, it is essential that robust systems are in place, and that academies can maintain an open working relationship with their accountants and auditors.  

That way, the right support can be provided, at just the right time.

Whether you are already working with Rickard Luckin or perhaps seeking independent advice and support, you can of course contact our experienced team to discuss this subject in more detail. Please contact Paul Sedgwick at
or on 01268 983922.

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