Academies Update: Guidance on preparing the BFRO

The workbook released by gov.uk includes a guidance tab to assist in the preparation of the return, the key points are summarised for quick reference below:
 
  • The BFRO should be completed at Trust level; the results and forecasts of all academies within a Multi Academy Trust for the appropriate periods should be consolidated.
  • The BFRO consists of a series of financial questions, actual and forecast financial data (for the periods ending March 2018, August 2018, March 2019 and August 2019) and validations of information.  The workbook also guides you through the administrative information required on the various user tabs.
  • All £ values are entered in thousands (a validation error will occur as a prompt if you try to enter decimal values or values outside of the expected range)
  • Cells C5 and C6 in the Trust validations tab detail the number of outstanding validations and finance questions. These should both equal zero before the workbook is passed for review/submission.
  • The default answer for all of the financial questions (FQ) is “yes” – each requiring a written response. The answers can be amended to “no” if appropriate.
  • The majority of entries are made as positive figures. Line 176 (Provisions release) requires a negative entry as does the entry of any Academy deficits (Section 8). A validation error will occur if an unexpected negative value is entered.
  • New Academies/Trusts opening in April/May/June 2019 do not need to submit a BFRO but should instead prepare the BFR3Y (3 year forecast) which is due for all Academy Trusts on 30 July 2019.
  • Once all validations in the workbook are cleared you are ready for online submission – As the workbook directly mirrors the final submission form, figures can be copied across to the corresponding line on the online BFRO form and validation responses can be copied directly across.
More detailed line-by-line guidance is available as part of gov.uk’s workbook; Skype help calls and enquiry forms are also available to contact the ESFA for guidance directly.

For further advice, please contact your local Moore adviser.

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