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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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Enquire now

Meet the team

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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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Elaine Olson-Williams

Partner

Elaine gets most satisfaction from working closely with her clients, gaining a real understanding of them and their businesses before helping them move towards their goals. She's rightly proud of a reputation based on her reliability and professionalism, which wins the respect of her colleagues and many recommendations. She is always on the look-out for new projects. She is keen on all sports and is an avid skier.

Get in touch with Elaine Olson-Williams
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Lee Gilbert

Audit Manager

With 24 years experience in public practice Lee has extensive experience in audit, accounting and other compliance assignments.  As well as working with corporate entities across a broad range of industries, Lee also takes a particular interest in the not for profit sector, including independent schools, academies and University Colleges.  Lee prides himself on delivering excellent client care by providing ongoing support and advice to clients.

Get in touch with Lee Gilbert
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Gordon Thrower

Senior Tax Manager

An employment tax specialist, Gordon started his tax career with HMRC spending 8 years as part of a special investigation unit before moving across the divide to PwC in 1997. He later moved into mid-tier, picking up a “Best Tax Team Award” in 2010 working alongside Chris Blundell at Mazars.

More recently, Gordon has acted as an in-house consultant for a number of businesses, thus gaining experience from all three sides of the HMRC-Advisor-Business triangle. He has worked across a number of sectors, including education, property, IT, retail, banking, public sector and not-for-profit and has extensive experience of handling negotiations with HMRC.

Outside the office, Gordon is a season-ticket holder at West Ham United and is deputy editor of the popular West Ham website kumb.com, in which capacity he is often invited on to podcasts, tv and radio programmes, usually when the producers cannot find anyone famous to talk to.

Get in touch with Gordon Thrower

What they say about us

With MHA MacIntyre Hudson’s support, our business has been very successful since we started three years ago. Simon Burke - Dalbergia Group

What they say about us

The team at MHA MacIntyre Hudson have taken away the burden of the day to day bookkeeping, payroll and CIS work off me. This has enabled me to spend more time working on my business, finding new work, new ideas and ways to be more profitable. Thanks to the help I’ve received, I can see a bright future for me and my company. Luke Day - Complete Wiring Solutions