Academy Schools

Academy Schools image

We have a personable and dedicated academies team. We have worked with over 20 academies across South and West Yorkshire, including a number of multiacademy trusts, led by Paul Hinchliffe, who is also an experienced Chair of Governors.

We use our insight, skills and experience to guide you through the seemingly complex issues of becoming an academy, supporting you through the significant first year learning curve and beyond in a straightforward way.

We add value, rather than just dealing with your regulatory responsibilities, including advising on sector and governance issues.

Our academy clients tell us they really like working with us – we are approachable, supportive, professional and are a key part of their team.


Year-end Accounts and Audit, including Regularity Audit

We will prepare and audit your year-end accounts to ensure that you meet your financial reporting requirements in accordance with the Funding Agreement and the Academies Accounts Direction. We will work with you to ensure that your Trustees’ Report and Governance Statement meet your responsibilities as trustees and governors.

Annual Accounts Return

Following the submission of the annual accounts in December, the Education Funding Agency requires trusts to file the annual accounts return in January. We will take this significant administrative burden from you and prepare the trust return in a timely manner. We will also deal with any subsequent queries that the Education Funding Agency may have following its submission.

Budget Forecast Return

July sees the deadline for the Budget Forecast Return for every trust. We can prepare this for you or assist the School Business Manager to produce an accurate and meaningful submission to the Education Funding Agency.

Teachers' Pension Scheme Audit

The End of Year Certificate, as produced by your payroll provider, is required to be audited and submitted to Teachers’ Pensions by the end of September. We have all the technical knowledge and skills to navigate the complex reporting rules to make sure that this deadline is met.

Internal Controls

We can carry out the independent checks on your internal controls, required by the Academies Financial Handbook, as an extension of the scope of our external audit work. We won’t just tell you when we spot a weakness; we also suggest practical solutions that will remedy the issue and help nurture a continually strengthening control environment.



We guide you through the VAT reporting requirements for academy schools. For primary schools, including smaller multi-academy trusts, the VAT 126 reclaim option is likely to be the most suitable and least onerous.

Governance and Future Plans

The school governance landscape has changed significantly over recent years and this will continue. Led by a very experienced Chair of Governors, our team is well placed to advise and update you on governance best practice. We will help you keep abreast of sector wide issues, and regularly update you on both the financial and governance implications of new developments so that you are best placed to plan for the future.

"Since appointing Harris+Co as auditors of our multi-academy trust we have received excellent service which has really helped us negotiate conversion and our fast growth since then. Harris+Co have kept us well informed of reporting changes that impact on us, and have provided us with pro-active advice on improvements that can be made to our systems and controls.

As a Chair of Governors himself, we have found Paul’s ability to provide pragmatic advice on current best practice on governance and strategic matters extremely valuable. We would have no hesitation in recommending both Paul and the rest of the team at Harris+Co."

Melanie Priestley, Finance Director of St Mary's Academy Trust

Require more information?

If you would like more information or would like to speak to us direct then call us on 01226 282461. Or if you would prefer, ask us a question online.

Our services (pdf)

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Harris + Co, Marland House, 13 Huddersfield Road, Barnsley, South Yorkshire S70 2LW

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01226 282461

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