Accounts closedown service “to free up accountants”

13 Jul 16

A new CIPFA and EY service for accounts closedowns will free up professional accountants in local authorities for work for which consultants may now be used, CIPFA’s annual conference in Manchester has been told.

That was the message from David Smith, EY’s UK leader for government and public sector financial and accounting advisory services, at a session on the new assured managed service at the CIPFA conference in Manchester.

“It frees up your accountancy resources,” he told the meeting.

Smith said the service could be offered by CIPFA alone for those bodies that already used EY as auditor, without needing the firm’s involvement.

The service is being piloted and is expected to be available for 2016-17 closedowns.

About one week’s work would be needed to map an authority’s systems onto the CIPFA/EY one, depending on the complexity involved – for example, whether the authority has housing revenue account, is a billing authority or had revenues and benefits.

CIPFA consultant Mark Hak-Sanders said a local authority in which he had previously worked had spent three months on finalising accounts and one month on producing working papers, and the new system would reduce duplication.

Don Peebles, CIPFA’s head of devolved government, said the production of final accounts was essential to demonstrate stewardship but they were read by few people and consumed a large amount of resources to produce.

Once information was loaded, the new system would automate this to “just the tough of a big red button”, he said.

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