Classroom scene to represent schools and academies
Category: Expert Opinion
Topic: Audit

Top tips for preparing a Trustee’s Report

The production of the Trustees’ report is a critical part of the academy accounts process. Our top tips for preparing the report are aimed at making them more informative for readers of the accounts.

The Trustees’ report provides a description of the objectives set, the activities undertaken and the performance against objectives for the academy trust as a whole.

It serves as an opportunity for trustees to communicate with stakeholders in their own words, how the Academy has operated in the period being reported on, including the impact of internal and external contributory factors. Preparation of the Trustees’ report can be a time-consuming endeavour for those involved.

Over the last few years, auditors and the ESFA have increased their focus on the contents of these reports. We know that this area is becoming increasingly important to the users of financial statements (including the ESFA) and have compiled our top tips for preparation of your Annual Trustee report:

  1. Move away from being boiler plate – whilst there are some items included in the Trustees’ report which are required by legislation and the wording will change very little, we encourage all of clients to move away from preparing boiler plate statements and to consider carefully the theme and style they would like to use in writing their reports.
  2. Recognise that risks can change over time – the principal risks of the Academy will change over time and we would expect them to at least be reviewed annually. For example, the impact of the pandemic was considered a significant risk for many academies in previous periods, but this risk has reduced moderately this year and we would expect the Trustees’ report to reflect this.
  3. Challenge the appropriateness of policies – The reserves policy of the Academy is a key section of the Trustees’ report and we have noted historically that client policies in this area have become outdated as academies have grown or changed in structure. We would expect reserve policies to be fluid and change over time. Trustees should clearly detail why any policy has been selected and report on how it has been monitored throughout the year.

Finally, take a step back and consider what you are obliged to report on and what will be of interest to your stakeholders. If you need help or advice please do get in touch.

For more information on our academy audit process, please contact Ryan Moore for more information by emailing or call 01242 776000.