Our team of education specialists regularly work with a range of schools, academies, colleges, trusts and universities to support management teams and boards in identifying governance issues and risks and to deliver targeted solutions and advice.
The education sector is under increased scrutiny, facing increased legislative and regulatory challenges. We can support you in mitigating risk and ensuring that you are operating effectively, through a range of services including internal and external audit, tax and employment tax advice, due diligence and audit committee training to name but a few.
Where you require specialist insurance advice, our team of in-house advisers are on hand to guide you through the risks and covers which you should consider. From material risks to professional and reputational threats our teams have a background in finding insurance solutions specifically for the education sector. Being independent an access the open market to provide you with the assurance you need to know that you and your organisation are protected, and at a premium you can afford.
We have been working with clients in the Higher Education sector for almost fifty years and within the Further Education sector since its inception.
We understand that to work effectively with educational organisations, specialist knowledge regarding the sector’s reporting and regulatory requirements is required. Over the years we have built up a solid understanding of operational and governance procedures within both Higher and Further Education, enabling our teams to deliver a high quality external audit service to the sector.
A key part of the audit process is clear communication with both management and the Board and ensuring that timetables are set and adhered to, which in turn makes certain that committee deadlines are met.
The external audit process is a key tool in the governance and risk management process of the Audit Committee and Board of clients in the Higher Further Education sector.
Our approach is to deliver a robust audit process which provides your Board with the confidence to know that we will provide recommendations for improvements and efficiencies in the financial reporting and control processes wherever we feel they are required.
We believe in truly getting to know our clients and our external audit approach is based on building a strong relationship with you in order to work as one of your team. We regularly attend Committee meetings where we will present our audit plan and then the finalisation process and will be on hand for any other meetings where required by the Board.
Our team of internal audit specialists have been advising clients operating in the Higher and Further Education sectors on all aspects of internal audit for over fifteen years.
During that time the sector has continued to develop and has become increasingly sophisticated, recognising and identifying how internal audit can be a powerful tool when directed to the areas within an organisation where the service can benefit it most.
We work with audit committees to ensure that their annual plan is focused on the areas where maximum value and benefit can be obtained. We then ensure that the plan is delivered in a timely fashion, and that management are consulted with and agree upon recommendations and actions before we present them to the audit committee.
The internal audit process must look to ensure that risk is managed but it also considers where best practice may drive efficiencies or add value. Our significant involvement in the sector ensures that we have a wealth of experience which enables us to make suggestions around such improvements.
Our internal audit team has experience of working with both committees and boards around self-assessment of effectiveness. We have facilitated a number of very productive sessions, which generated a significant number of agreed actions, which has improved the operation and effectiveness of the committees involved.
Despite the potential tax exemptions available to the sector as exempt charities, there still remain significant areas where quality and timely advice is essential to ensure compliance and that planning opportunities are maximised.
The nature of the way organisations operate in the education sector means that you will be subject to partial exemption in respect of VAT and careful planning is required in order to ensure that the recovery of input VAT is maximised.
Getting professional advice around VAT, specifically on capital projects, is essential in ensuring that any risks can be minimised and to allow you to focus on delivering outcomes for your key stakeholders.
Stamp Duty is another tax that needs careful planning, particularly on capital projects and this can often fall between the legal and accounting advisers. Our in-house specialists can support you to make sure that transactions are structured in the most tax effective way from the perspective of VAT and Stamp Duty.
We understand that many Higher and Further Education organisations have trading subsidiaries, and we have significant experience of ensuring that such structures are set up efficiently and that ongoing compliance is handled smoothly.
Through our knowledge of the sector we know that one of the most significant costs for Higher and Further Education organisations is staff, and our team can help you with employment tax compliance issues, which includes a benefits ‘health check’ service.