Schools Briefing – ISBA Conference 2023

25th May 2023

Welcome to the ISBA Conference edition of our Schools Briefing, where we provide updates and insights on accounting, tax, reporting and governance for school bursars and governors.

Firstly, Tracey Young, Partner and Head of Education, comments on the results from the latest haysmacintyre Independent Schools Management Survey. With a return to operational normality in 2021/22 academic year, new challenges faced independent schools with significant rising costs and cost of living pressures and Tracey considers how schools should focus on building their financial resilience.

Our first guest author, Dr Jake Lovelock, Performance and Wellbeing Psychologist at Cognacity, takes an explorative look into ways to manage staff wellbeing using Cognitive Behavioural Therapy. By highlighting common themes from stress to over exertion, Dr Jake goes on to share a number of useful tips to increase performance, stimulate the brain and manage pressure, to ensure the wellbeing of staff is at the forefront of school’s agendas.

With the continuing challenging times, I take a deeper look into ways schools can future proof their financial future. There is an ever-growing need for schools to become financially savvy, and review not only existing income streams, but also additional means of securing income whilst challenging costs. This article suggests the early warning signs to be wary of, alongside key steps to consider and implement now to ensure your schools’ financial future.

Our second guest author, Max King, Head of Epoch Consulting, reviews the turbulent financial landscape schools have been navigating. Sharing an indicative forecast as to what the overall approach to bank regulation and governance may be in the coming months, Max provides a helpful outlook for schools and shares useful suggestions as to how counterparty risk should be considered.

Employer provided living accommodation remains a highly topical issue within the schools sector. Nick Bustin, Employment Tax Director, reviews what changes we have seen to existing arrangements within schools, the tax treatments of this provision and exemptions that may be relied upon. Nick highlights the need for independent schools to continue to review their existing living accommodations.

Fraud remains to be an area of concern for schools. Vikram Sandhu, Director, shares various examples of fraud seen within independent schools, ways on how fraudsters are attempting to increase their footprint and target both employees and parents, and ideas on how to best reinforce your school against fraud.

Sally Gatward, Assistant Manager, looks at capital allowances and what it means for schools. Providing an update on changes from the Spring Budget, Sally gives an overview of capital allowances, the new expensing relief and how subsidiaries can effectively Gift Aid their taxable profits.

Finally, Andrew Roberts, Senior Manager, looks at the impact of the revised ISA 315 means for schools and what you can expect from your upcoming 2023 audit.

I hope you enjoy this edition and find these articles of interest. Do feel free to let the authors, me or your regular contact know if you have any questions concerning the matters discussed.

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Lee Stokes

Partner, Head of Care & Community
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