1. Introduction

This page provides quick links for Financial Management Systems (FMS) software vendors with the information needed to integrate their software with the DfE’s financial data collection forms.

Detailed information on the academies chart of accounts (CoA) can also be found here.

2. Academy trust finance automation: software integration guide

This guide provides FMS software vendors with the information they need to register their software and prepare for integration with the Automation API. It is intended for use by business analysts, technical architects, and software developers.

3. Developer pole

The development center is a self-service portal to register your software product and subscribe to the Submission API. A provider can register the application, generate client credentials and subscription keys for the API.

4. Test environments

You can read all the details about the test environments on the development center.

  • The vendor test environment is used by software vendors to test their use of the API. Live data should NOT be used in this environment. This environment is available all year round.

  • The User Acceptance Testing (UAT) environment is used by software vendors during the user acceptance testing phase of the API. Live data should NOT be used in this environment. This environment is available from June to February each year.

5. Accounting plan of the academies (CoA)

5.1 CoA versions

The CoA version defines the accounting codes used for the exercise. The version format is three digits (for example: 2.0.0).

Submissions through the API must include a “CoA version”. Format requirements and validation requirements are detailed in the developer hub notes.

CoA is published every spring on GOV.UK. From spring 2022, two versions will be available simultaneously for trusts.

  1. The ‘latest’ CoA version is published in the spring before the next fiscal year. This provides trusts with an up-to-date CoA version for their budget planning.

  2. The ‘previous’ version of CoA: it will be used for the remainder of the current fiscal year, although there will be some overlap with the latest version of the CoA. It will also be used for the collection of statements of accounts (AR) for the same financial year.

‘Hybrid’ versions of CoA (updated for FMS vendor systems only)

The CoA version for the relevant fiscal year is updated for required mapping changes in AR collection for the same period. No changes will be made to the account codes themselves.

Two updates will be released in the year leading up to the next AR collection period for FMS vendors only. We will post links on this page.

We expect the July CoA update to be the final database release for AR 2021-22. We released it a month earlier for the benefit of FMS vendors, and if a new, unforeseen update occurs, we will update and replace this file and communicate the change to vendors via email.

5.2 CoA version change logic

The version of the CoA may change depending on the changes made to the CoA for the year. We will avoid major changes where possible and communicate them separately if necessary.

Revision Change of CoA
Major (1st digit) – Change of CoA code
Minor (2nd digit) – Change of cartography
– Changed signage adjustment
– Rounding count change
– Modifications or reformatting of the description
Maintenance – internal updates only (3rd digit) – Modifications or reformatting of the description

5.3 Timeline and impacts of the CoA

The table below shows the CoA publication timelines based on the collection of account feedback for 2021/22.

Time Activity
May Publish the CoA for the upcoming academic year
September Trusts use this CoA in the FMS
March CoA is loaded into the database for the next return of accounts (AR) so that FMS can start testing
August CoA in database updated again for any mapping changes identified since March
from November to January AR collection window – no CoA change

6. Communication of changes to the CoA

We will post changes to the CoA for the next academy trust year (i.e. the “latest” version) on the Accounts plan of the academies and automation of the rendering of accounts in:

  • the updated section of the “Guide to adopting the accounting plan of the academies”
  • the change control tab ‘Chart of Accounts of the Academies’

FMS providers should refer to CoA updates and take the following steps so that trusts can update their systems for the upcoming fiscal year:

  • when a trust has adopted the CoA in the general ledger (natively), ensure that it has the ability to apply the required changes in its general ledger
  • when a trust maps its own CoA to the DfE CoA through the FMS vendor software, vendors should also communicate the changes to their trusts to ensure that they have the equivalent change made in their own CoA and that the mapping is created with the DfE’s CoA

We will post the “hybrid” versions of the CoA on this page according to the timelines listed above. We will notify vendors directly when we post updates.

seven. Requests

If you have any questions, please email the DfE Finance Automation team.

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