We work with all sorts of clients, from large corporations to small start-ups and families, providing a truly personal service to each and every one.


From academies and agriculture to travel and tourism, our clients come from all corners of business. Our team of experts provides experience and advice to businesses in a variety of sectors.

About us

Forrester Boyd is one of the largest independent chartered accountancy practices in Lincolnshire and the Humber region. Our focus on people, both clients and employees, is at the heart of our success.

Meet the team


Now based in six offices across Lincolnshire and the Humber region, our teams are perfectly placed to work closely with you. Please don't hesitate to get in touch.

New Best Practice Guide for Academy Trusts

  • 21st November 2023

New correspondence relating to Education and Education and Skills Funding Agency was released last week which included a new best practice financial management guide for academy trusts.

Focused on the topic of Academy trust reserves, new correspondence from the Government outlines what trustees and trust leaders need to know moving forward with the new guidance setting principles for an effective approach to managing academy trust reserves.

1) Academy trusts are required by the academy trust handbook to have in place a reserves policy and to explain their plan for surplus funds in their annual report and accounts. Trusts will hold reserves for various reasons including cashflow, contingency (including future change and uncertainty), planned investment and improvement, strategic development and growth.

2) ESFA does not set a required level of reserves. Trustees decide the level of reserves to hold that is appropriate for the individual circumstances and priorities of their trust – and should review this regularly to ensure that they continue to meet the needs of pupils. A well-developed reserves policy will help trustees mitigate financial risks – first by encouraging trusts to identify what those risks might be, and then by deciding how much the trust needs to hold to address them.

3) For trusts actively choosing to hold low levels of reserves, trustees should ensure there is sufficient contingency in case of anything unforeseen, as for some trusts, low reserves could suggest financial vulnerability. For trusts choosing to hold high levels of reserves, trustees should have a plan and be clear on the purpose for these funds, and how they will improve the education for pupils. In both scenarios, ESFA will engage with the trust to understand the trust’s circumstances and discuss potential support if appropriate. ESFA will provide advice to the relevant Regional Director on the financial health of the trust, and the level of reserves will be part of ESFA’s advice to Regional Directors about commissioning decisions such as where trusts are looking to take on new academies to join their trust.

This guidance is intended to support trustees and trust leaders to make the best strategic financial decisions in the interests of their pupils. It makes suggestions for things they should consider as they come to these decisions including identifying their improvement and estates priorities, as well as understanding their area local context and communities, and the potential issues and opportunities these present.

To read the guide in full, please click here.

If you need help or would like to discuss your options in relation to converting to an academy or joining a MAT, please do get in touch with us. Email:

Read more on: Academies

Written by: Carrie Jensen

All data and figures referred to in our news section are correct at the date of publishing and should not be relied upon as still current.