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Education

Our national education team has guided schools and institutes, advised national bodies, and input into the direction of the UK’s education sector for more than three decades. The team provides comprehensive support and solutions, plus acts as a sounding board, understanding future plans and identifying areas before they become an issue. 

We work across the education spectrum, including time spent with independent schools, academies, MATs (Multi-Academy Trusts), maintained schools, free schools, UTCs (University Technical Colleges) colleges, sixth form colleges and universities.

We are one of the largest providers of audit services to the sector, and team members have had significant technical input into legislative changes - for example, through helping to compile an early version of the Academies Accounts Direction, and through serving on the national charity Statement of Recommended Practice (SORP) Committee. We are also part of a working party regularly meeting with the Education and Skills Funding Agency (EFA).  

With this commitment and sector exposure, we draw upon our collective in-depth knowledge and experience to guide clients effectively.

Independent Schools

We can provide you with a full range of client-driven, specialist services specific to independent schools including:

  • Internal audit and external audit
  • Employment tax issues and the engagement of workers
  • VAT (including minimising VAT in development projects)
  • Due diligence and mergers
  • Corporation tax
  • Capital projects
  • Interim finance management and secondments
  • Governor training
  • Audit Committee training

Academies

We invest significant time and resources to ensure that our specialist expertise makes a tangible difference for our clients, and have been appointed as auditors and advisers to around 200 academy schools. We provide comprehensive support and solutions in areas such as:

  • What to keep in mind during the academy conversion process
  • Audit, accounting and reporting requirements
  • Setting-up systems and procedures for the new academy
  • Budgets, cash flow and financial plans
  • Internal audit, extended external audit and other assurance services
  • A VAT review and advice on the best method for academies to reclaim VAT
  • Employment tax issues and engagement of workers
  • Advice on the best structure for any commercial trading activities
  • Corporation tax and funding
  • Review and advice on the chart of accounts
  • Advice on year-end accounting and running the year-end procedure
  • Due diligence for potential mergers into a multi-academy trust
  • Trustee responsibilities and governance to comply with the Academies Financial Handbook

Further & Higher Education

Our specialist accounting, business advisory and tax services for the further education and higher education sector include:

  • Strategy and funding reviews
  • Capital project review and appraisal
  • Internal and external audit
  • Corporation tax & VAT compliance
  • Mergers & acquisitions advice
  • Assistance with OJEU
  • Interim management and secondments
  • Governor training
  • Audit Committee training

Our education sector team also regularly produces sector benchmarks based on our database, which, along with good practice comparatives, can help you measure your progress.
We host regular workshops and training sessions for finance staff and trustees, and also produce publications and insights highlighting important topical issues.

Get in touch with our Education sector group to find out more.

Key contact

Head of Education, Partner
Bianca Silva
+44 (0)1494 441226

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Meet the team

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Stephen Seabridge

Accounts Manager

Stephen joined MHA MacIntyre Hudson in April 2019, following a merger of his previous firm.

Stephen has over 45 years’ experience within the accountancy profession predominantly with SMEs, combined with 2 years spent in industry. Stephen has extensive experience of accounting, taxation and auditing.

Stephen has particular expertise in advising clients on compliance and tax mitigation.

Get in touch with Stephen Seabridge
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Alyson Howard

Partner

Alyson is a specialist Education and Not for Profit Audit partner. She joined MHA MacIntyre Hudson in 2018 as part of the firm’s sector growth strategy. She advised the first converter academy in Kent and has gone on to advise the first academy PRU, special schools and those with PFI contracts assisting in the negotiation of revised funding streams to cater for special business cases.

She was previously head of the academies team at Williams Giles, where she started the academies practice when the first schools began to convert following the 2010 legislation. Prior to specialising in education, Alyson has enjoyed a career spanning Corporate Finance, Not for Profit audit, and Corporate Recovery. Alyson works with a number of academy training providers to deliver lectures on academy finance and management, and is also regularly asked to chair academy conferences and write articles for the sector.

Alyson was Chair of the Institute of Directors (IoD) in Kent between 2003 and 2007 and has held a number of roles at national level in the organisation. She has served several terms on the ruling Council, and Chaired the Membership Committee and acted as Deputy Chair of the Audit and Risk Committee between 2010 and 2017. She has a particular interest in governance in the Not for Profit sector and is currently serving on a policy sub committee of the IoD in this area.

Get in touch with Alyson Howard
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Sarah Donnelly

Audit & Accounts Manager

Sarah joined the Bedford office in 2011 as part of the school leaver programme.  Since joining, Sarah has gained her AAT and ACCA qualifications and was promoted to manager in October 2019
 
During her time at MHA MacIntyre Hudson, Sarah has worked on a variety of assignments and sectors. In addition to statutory audit and accounts, Sarah has worked with many companies supporting, and often running the finance function. Client projects include, streamlining and improving monthly management reporting, acting as quasi-financial controller, and advising and  implementing new financial software and cloud accounting packages. 
 
Sarah acts for numerous clients in both the corporate and not-for-profit entities assisting with their business needs.
Get in touch with Sarah Donnelly
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Jon Higginbottom

Audit Director

Jon is an audit director who joined MHA MacIntyre Hudson LLP in April 2017.

He joined MHA MacIntyre Hudson LLP having being with his previous firm for over 16 years he brings with him an excellent depth of knowledge as a result of working with various companies and organisations across various sectors which includes the charity / Not-for-profit, and education sectors as well as various commercial sectors including OMBs and UK subsidiaries of overseas parent companies, which gives him a rounded view of the economy and helps him understand his clients business.

Outside of work Jon regularly goes to the theatre and is an avid cyclist.

Get in touch with Jon Higginbottom

What they say about us

SilverLining UK very highly recommends MHA MacIntyre Hudson for all your company’s financial accounting needs.Our corporation has worked with MHA MacIntyre Hudson for the last 4 years. They are truly the best at what they do.They continually provide timely and excellent service and go ‘above and beyond' for their client. Their knowledge, communication skills and professional qualifications are of the highest quality and standards. SilverLining UK - Construction Sector

What they say about us

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