Haslers

Leading Accountant for Schools

A+ accounting for the education sector

We provide audit, accounting, tax and business support to academies, MATS and independent schools. Led by our highly experienced education team.

With an in-depth understanding of the issues facing the education sector, our specialist team works with independent schools, academies and MATs.

From the establishment of new schools, academies and MATs to the ongoing responsibilities, we’re here to provide the support you need to run your setting effectively and compliantly.

Meet the experts

The Haslers Difference:

We were amongst the first firms to develop an academies audit findings report. This document was presented to the Minister of Education and subsequently included as a requirement in the Academy Trust Handbook.

We hold direct links to the ESFA and are members of the auditor forum.

“The team at Haslers have helped us to grow over the years through their expert advice and support.

The most important part of your service to The Oak-Tree Group of Schools is the different levels of expertise, from acquisitions and business development to audit and tax.

The greatest benefit of working with Haslers is their high level of knowledge, personalities and location (as this has certainly helped!). Also, the representation on matters beyond my skills with bodies such as HMRC.

The friendliness of staff and the appreciation/knowledge of our industry have exceeded my expectations since working with Haslers over the past 25 years or so. I would highly recommend Haslers 5* Service.”
Matthew Hagger, Oak Tree Group of Schools
Oak Tree Schools Logo - Accounting Client in Essex and London
“I found working on the first initiation of internal scrutiny with Haslers to be very straight forward. The team took time to understand our needs as a Trust, the risk profile we were looking to mitigate against and recommended an audit plan that was suitable. The execution of the first audit was undertaken efficiently and as our first-ever remote audit, as a result of COVID, was undertaken robustly. The final report was very helpful in providing recommendations to support our continuous improvement journey.

As a fully independent internal scrutiny function this was highly useful in providing a review of our procedures and being able to act as a professional critical friend to our organisation. An interesting differentiator was that the conversations felt more open and engaging as they tried to make certain they understood our practices and a genuine interest in making recommendations that were reasonable and would add value. It was also a personable service with each team members role being clearly identified and engaged at the right moments.

Haslers technical knowledge for the areas utilised during our first review was highly suitable and aligned to the needs of academies while also considering wider industry best practices.”
David Bond, CFO, Lion Academy Trust
“We approached Debra to complete a VAT review of our operations in order to provide our trustees and HMRC with reassurance that we were compliant with the regulations and to provide training where necessary.

Debra’s knowledge of VAT is exceptional and the training she has delivered and the reports she has produced have been of the highest standard. Not only is Debra extremely professional but also personable and is able to make a very complex subject accessible and understandable.

I have been very grateful for her patience and guidance! My trustees and I are now confident that we are complying with all of our VAT obligations, and I would not hesitate to recommend her services to anyone that is looking to review their processes or to train their finance department.”
Mr Walsh, Simon Balle All-Through School
“St Aubyn’s (Woodford Green) School Trust started working with Haslers 17 years ago. It has been a very good journey throughout the years; one that’s based on mutual respect and professionalism.

The most important part of Haslers service to us is the relationship we have built with our account managers and partner. The team are always ready to assist when we have queries.

The greatest benefit of working with Haslers is their continuity and relationships that have been built. Friendly staff and the way Haslers always meet our needs has exceeded our expectations since working with them.

I would highly recommend Haslers. 5* Rating.”

Maureen Foakes , St Aubyn’s (Woodford Green) School Trust

FAQs

What makes a successful Multi-Academy Trust?

A successful Multi-Academy Trust (MAT) has a clear vision, strong leadership, a focus on high-quality teaching, robust governance, effective financial management, and collaborative sharing of best practices among member schools, all geared towards improving educational outcomes of its students.

How does a Multi-Academy Trust work?

Multi-Academy Trusts (MATs) are groups of academies and schools that have come together to form a charitable company, with a single group of ‘members’ (who have an overview of the governance arrangements) and a single Board of Trustees.

What is the optimum size for a Multi Academy Trust?

The optimum size for a Multi-Academy Trust (MAT) varies but often falls between 5 to 15 schools. This allows for collaboration, efficient resource sharing, and centralised support while maintaining a sense of community and permitting a local identity within the member schools.

Can an academy leave a MAT?

Once a school has joined a MAT, it cannot choose to leave a MAT voluntarily, whether that’s to rejoin the local authority or to join another MAT. However, should a MAT trust collapse, or be forced to give up a school by the Government, the school will be transferred to a new trust, without the input of parents and staff.

Can a church school join a MAT?

Church schools can only join a MAT with appropriate Church governance. The relevant diocese must approve the application for a church school to join an existing MAT without appropriate church governance. There are Church-school specific MATs, which may be a preferred option.

What happens when a school joins an academy?

An academy receives their funding directly from the government instead of receiving it through the local authority like a “traditional” state funded school. This means that an academy is directly accountable to the Department for Education. They are however, still inspected by Ofsted.

Who regulates Multi-Academy Trusts?

The board of trustees has responsibility for all of the academies operated by the MAT. The MAT Board can also establish a ‘local governing body’ for each academy (or to oversee two or more academies).

What VAT rate applies to education?

Academies, Local Authority funded schools, and charities are outside the scope of VAT non business supplies. In contrast, commercial provider of education are VAT exempt supplies.

What is the difference for a school between being non-business and exempt?

Generally being either non-business or exempt supplies means you cannot register for VAT and cannot reclaim any VAT on your expenditure. However special rules apply to academies and LA funded schools which allow them to claim VAT on costs associated with their core supplies of education.

Get in touch to find out more about our education services.

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