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Internal Audit/Assurance is Changing

Chris Beaumont and Kevin Shotton with the Kreston Academies Benchmark Report 2020, Internal audit

 

From September 2020, your external and internal audit provision cannot be provided by the same entity. This is due to a change in the ethical standards that auditors have to follow and is designed to strengthen the level of independence that audit firms provide and to safeguard against conflicts of interest.

The 2020 Academies Financial Handbook, which has just been released, sets out the options that are now available for Trusts:

  • Employ an in-house internal auditor;
  • Bought in audit service from a firm, other organisation or individual with professional indemnity insurance;
  • The appointment of a non-employed trustee; or
  • A peer review by another chief financial officer.

The AFH goes onto state ‘that a firm providing external audit to an entity shall not also provide internal audit services to it.’ It then states, ‘that the term internal scrutiny should be viewed in the same way as internal audit’.

The AFH also states that ‘Internal scrutiny must be covered by a scheme of work, driven and agreed by the audit and risk committee, and informed by risk’. In essence not a one size fits all, but a programme of work that the committee responsible for audit requests based on the risk register of that particular academy trust.

How Clive Owen LLP Can Help

Clive Owen LLP have experience of providing a comprehensive and robust internal assurance service to over 55 academy trusts across the North East and Yorkshire.

Our partner led team is highly experienced and includes a specialist internal auditor who has over 18 years of working and enhancing the level of internal controls within schools and academies.

The internal audit programmes which we have designed cover a wide range of risks, both financial and non-financial, that individual trusts may have. The eighteen programmes include:

  • Payroll and HR
  • Procurement
  • Pupil Numbers and ESFA returns
  • Governance and Compliance
  • Risk Management and Insurance
  • Information Technology and GDPR
  • Capital and contract management
  • Website compliance
  • Data Analytics (to detect and help prevent fraudulent activity)

In addition, bespoke work programmes can be designed.

Prior to meeting with the committee responsible for audit, the partner and manager would review prior programmes of work in conjunction with the risk register to ensure that they understand current risks identified, and how best they could be tested.  We would subsequently work with the committee to formulate a programme of works to review the highlighted risks and level of controls that trust currently has in place to mitigate the identified risks and their potential impact on the organisation.

Our experience

Clive Owen LLP has secured a position over the last thirty five years as one of the largest and most trusted professional practices in the North East & North Yorkshire. This has been achieved through a relentless focus on the needs and aspirations of our clients – hard working people in regional businesses of all shapes and sizes with a vital role to play in local communities.

Our team has extensive experience of working in the education sector, through the audit and provision of financial support to academies, independent schools, and other educational establishments. Furthermore, through our membership of Kreston International, a global network of independent accounting firms, we have direct access to fellow member firms with experience of providing audit and advisory services to nearly 1,000 academies across the Kreston network.

Our objective is to go beyond the simple reporting and presentation of information and data. The value of information is only as strong as the quality of its interpretation. This is an area in which we can contribute a wealth of knowledge and experience to help you to understand, interpret and act on key information and results. It is our aim to provide recommendations and options whenever an opportunity, issue or challenge is encountered.

The diversity and specialist nature of our internal assurance team means that you will always have the relevant person and resources available from within our firm to respond to any of your needs.

Internal Assurance Teams

The team we have to serve you consists of the right people with appropriate skills to help meet your specific needs and culture. Our core team members have the relevant experience, commitment, knowledge, and personality to work with you in a proactive and positive way.

Expert sector knowledge within the team is invaluable in delivering an effective internal assurance service and providing broader support to the academy trust.

Our team can provide you with:

  • Substantial experience of auditing a broad range of educational and charitable institutions both locally and further afield;
  • A track record of helping institutions through significant change and development;
  • In-depth strength to provide you with immediate assistance should you need it; and
  • A group of dedicated and committed professionals with a focus on client service and technical excellence

Testimonials

Northern Star Academies Trust has worked with the Clive Owen LLP team since 2016 and have found them extremely knowledgeable and capable, and responsive to the changing agenda of the Trust and educational sector as a whole. Their specialist experience within the education sector gives them a unique insight into the challenges we face as a multi academy trust. We really appreciate the level of support they provide, from general forward planning to the detailed preparation regarding key timings for the year end audit and expert advice on key topics. Lastly, the annual Kreston Academies Benchmark Report, co-written by Chris Beaumont of Clive Owen LLP, is increasingly useful as a data analysis toolkit.

John Barker, Chief Financial Officer, Northern Stars Academies Trust

Macmillan Academy have had a close working relationship with Chris Beaumont and his team for a number of years, and we have been delighted with the support we have received. The team’s proven track record in the field of Academy and Charity accounting has benefited us on numerous occasions. They are always on hand for assistance, and their advice in relation to the Charity SORP, Charities Act and VAT issues has been of particular assistance.

J McCallum, Deputy Principal at Macmillan Academy

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