External Audit

A three stage approach

Initial Planning

Initial Planning

Preparatory work to understand the risks facing the trust and to assess the financial health of the organisation, and to agree timescales and milestones.

Interim Review

Interim Review

An initial visit to review key systems and controls in place to mitigate risks, to understand the control environment. Following this stage an audit plan is prepared, which focusses on areas of risk.

Final Audit Visit and Completion

Final Audit Visit and Completion

The final audit takes place in accordance with the agreed plan. Any issues are fed back to management in a timely manner and deadlines met in good time. We pride ourselves in providing value added recommendations via our annual letter to management.

Our philosophy is to direct audit resource to those areas that are considered higher risk and over which management require specific assurance and support. In order to achieve this, our approach to the audit places strong emphasis on planning. We liaise with each client to develop a clear, agreed audit strategy plan, setting out:

  • Deliverables and timescales
  • Information required by the client
  • A summary of audit approach, our risk assessment and proposed response
  • Reporting arrangements
  • Key contacts

Audit is a continuous process and the key to a successful service is effective communication, in order that all parties are aware of the issues, their responsibilities and have clear deliverables. We would expect to have communication with the senior management of the trust throughout the year. Through this regular contact with the trust, our review of the strategic plan and risk register and our knowledge of issues in the sector, we maintain an understanding of the key risks faced by the trust.

Our underlying methodology requires us to document our understanding of the trust’s controls and risk management framework as part of our audit procedures. It also involves a review of the effectiveness of risk management and governance on an annual basis in order to gather evidence to support our opinion on the financial statements and our report to the audit committee.

Quality is integral to the way we work by setting rigorous standards to ensure we achieve quality objectives in areas such as recruitment, training, performance review, professional development and supervision. We have developed detailed specific audit programmes in support of our external audit in the academy sector to ensure compliance with the relevant auditing standards.

Initial Planning

We will agree a detailed timetable of the audit timing and deadlines to help ensure that all your reporting deadlines are met comfortably. However, aside from the formal planning process we maintain a regular dialogue with our clients to ensure that we are kept fully up to date of developments within their organisation.

Identification of the risks associated with each area of the accounts of the trust is an essential part of carrying out an effective audit. We will first look at the trust’s vulnerability to major loss or misstatement in the accounts, through inherent risks in particular areas, and will then assess how your own control environment and systems counteract these risks. Following this, we will prepare a written audit strategy that concentrates on areas which we consider to be of relatively high risk, thus avoiding unnecessary work in areas where the risk is low, or where you have effective controls.

We will discuss our strategy with you before any detailed audit work is carried out. This will ensure our audit is efficient by taking account of any areas of concern that you have, agreeing with you the areas of risk that we have identified, and taking full account of controls that you exercise which effectively minimise the risk of misstatement.

Initial Planning

Interim Review

Our interim review, a recurring part of the audit process, would take place before the year-end, as a bridge between the initial planning and the post year end detailed substantive testing.

This phase will confirm our understanding of your systems and processes, taking into consideration the scope and conclusions of internal audit work and identifying those controls on which we can place reliance.

Following our interim review we will update our planning and communicate clearly any findings arising to you.

Interim Review

Final Audit Visit and Completion

In our final audit visit we will confirm our understanding of your systems and processes, taking into consideration the scope and conclusions of internal audit work and identifying those controls on which we can place reliance. In addition the final audit visit will involve testing of key controls, detailed analytical procedures and substantive tests of detail.

The visit will also focus on detailed work on key areas leading to our report to the audit committee and the formation of our audit opinions on the financial statements.

Throughout the audit process we wish to maintain regular contact and ensure no ‘surprises’ are stored up to be resolved at the end of the audit process. We would therefore recommend a weekly ‘catch up’ meeting between the head of finance and the audit manager; this will ensure you are fully aware of progress and issue throughout the audit process.

Final Audit Visit and Completion

Fee structure

Statutory Audit engagements are quoted on an individual basis, but indicative costs are presented below:

PRIMARY

Single Academy Trust

£5,000.00

Per additional academy (MAT)

£3,000.00

SECONDARY

Single Academy Trust

£8,000.00

Per additional academy (MAT)

£5,000.00

We offer external audit services in association with our partner firm, Wright and Co Partnership Limited, an ICAEW registered external audit practice based in the West Midlands.

Meet the team

Our leadership team

Chris Whiting

Chris Whiting FCCA

FINANCIAL SERVICES

Peter Cox

Peter Cox

EDUCATION SUPPORT SERVICES

Ralph Hilton

Ralph Hilton

ESTATE SERVICES