Programme of Work
The Academies Financial Handbook (AFH) released in September 2012 and updated in 2013 sets out the requirements for internal audits in academies and multi academy trusts. The arrangements reflect the spirit of greater freedom but with sharper accountability mentioned in the foreword of the AFH.
There is an onus on each trust to have in place a process for the independent checking of financial controls, systems, transactions and risks. The Audit Committee (which must be a stand alone committee in multi academy trusts) must review the risks to internal financial control and agree a programme of work that will address these risks, inform the statement of internal control and, so far as is possible, provide assurance to the external auditors.
I have worked with many schools and trusts to develop a series of financial checks you may want to consider incorporating in your programme. This is intended to support a discussion with you over which checks are appropriate to your circumstances along with considerations about the frequency of applying the checks. Whilst some checks are common to most schools, others relate to the circumstances of the individual school including identification and consideration of where you have financial risk and areas that may be of concern to you.
Carrying out the Audit
Although some of these checks can be performed by someone with a reasonable general financial knowledge a number of schools have decided that, in order to secure the independence sought, they would prefer the checks to be carried out by an external partner. There is also a feeling that, in order to properly assess the quality of financial reporting to governors, there is benefit from having someone who has a specific knowledge of school financial and governance arrangements. Although I have limited availability to undertake ongoing audit work I am able to signpost and/or help you assess the suitability of other providers.
Pricing will depend on the nature of the suport required but as an indication it is normally possible to meet with you and then produce a programme for internal audit within a half day of consultancy which is charged at £275 (+VAT). To carry out the internal audit visits on site is normally charged at £395 (+VAT) to include the production of a written report.
Exact charges and any travel costs are discussed and agreed with you in advance.