Annual reporting guidelines
The following guidelines will help you prepare and file your annual report. These guidelines are updated annually.
This information replaces Circular 2020/07.
|Level of compliance||Main audience||Other|
- Annual report
- Preparing your annual financial statements
- Audit expectations
- Filing your annual report
- Publishing your annual report online
- Important reminders
- Accounting guidance on key areas
- Appendix 1: Components of the annual report
- Appendix 2: Annual report checklist
All schools and kura must prepare an annual report under section 87 of the Education Act 1989 . The annual report is a key accountability document that school boards are required to prepare to inform and report to stakeholders including the Ministry, Members of Parliament, parents, and the wider community of schools and kura.
It shows how school boards have applied their financial resources to achieve the goals set out in their charter.
The annual report must include:
- list of all school board members
- statement of responsibility
- audited annual financial statements
- signed audit report
- statement of variance
- Kiwisport funding.
All required components of the annual report are explained in Appendix 1. A full checklist is provided in Appendix 2 to help you prepare your annual report.
The annual reporting timeline is as follows:
|December 31||End of financial year for all schools and kura.|
|February||Payroll end of year reports and error schedules will be made available to schools and kura.|
|February/March||School board prepares and approves draft annual financial statements and statement of variance for the auditors.|
|March 31||School board must submit its annual financial statements to the auditor (s135 of Education and Training Act 2020).|
|April/May||Once the audit has been completed, the school board adopts the annual report and signs the statement of responsibility. The auditor then signs the independent auditor’s report.|
|May 31||School board submits its annual report to the Ministry of Education.
School board must ensure that its annual report is available to the public on a website maintained by or on behalf of the school board (s136 Education and Training Act 2020).
If you have questions about preparing your annual report, please contact the school finance adviser in your region.
Requirements and guidance
Public sector public benefit entity (PBE) financial reporting standards are mandatory for all state and state-integrated schools and kura. To ensure compliance with these standards, schools and kura are required to prepare annual financial statements using the format outlined in the Kiwi Park School model .
On the Ministry’s Schools annual report (annual financial statement) resources webpage, you can find:
- The Kiwi Park model annual financial statements and related guidance; and
- A series of short videos which provide additional guidance on how to use the Kiwi Park model.
Financial reporting tiers
The public sector PBE financial reporting standards categorise entities into four tiers based on the entities level of public accountability and size. These tiers determine the format of reporting and required disclosures for that entity.
The Kiwi Park model financial statements are designed to assist schools and kura to prepare their annual financial statements.
Schools and kura with expenses greater than $30 million are categorised as tier 1 and those below $30 million are categorised as tier 2.
Additional disclosures are required for tier 1 schools and kura under the Kiwi Park model financial statements. Refer to the Ministry’s Schools annual report (annual financial statement) webpage.
The financial reporting standards also allow schools and kura moving between tiers as expenditure levels change. Please contact your school finance adviser if you are expecting to move tiers.
Group financial statements
Under the accounting standard PBE IPSAS 35: Consolidated Financial Statements, an entity is controlled by the school board for financial reporting purposes if the school board has:
- power over the entity;
- exposure, or rights, to variable benefits from its involvement with the entity; and
- the ability to use its power over the entity to affect the nature or amount of the benefits from its involvement.
Schools and kura must prepare consolidated annual financial statements if they meet the requirements of PBE IPSAS 35. They should use the Kiwi Park Group model.
Accounting standard changes
There are no changes to the accounting standards for the 2021 financial year.
Quality of the annual financial statements
The quality of the draft annual financial statements, and working papers submitted for audit, are a significant factor in the overall success of the annual audit.
High quality annual financial statements will reduce:
- the number of required audit changes; and
- the likelihood of the auditor incurring additional audit costs (which they may seek to recover) from reviewing multiple versions of the annual financial statements.
Auditors do not expect to review more than two draft versions and one final version of the annual financial statements.
All key information and supporting documentation for the audit are provided to the auditor by 31 March each year by the school board. This is the responsibility of the school board, although your school may have a service provider that prepares the financial statements.
Key information that the auditor requires are:
- A copy of your school’s or kura draft annual financial statements approved by the school board.
- Any supporting working papers and documents used in the preparation of the draft annual financial statements.
- Evidence that the school or kura has appropriate internal controls over payments and receipts throughout the year.
- Signed school board minutes and other sub-committee and in-committee minutes for the financial year and up to the date of sign-off of the annual report.
- A copy of your school’s or kura approved budget, general ledger and trial balance.
- Any employment settlements.
Please contact your appointed auditor for a list of audit requirements prior to starting the audit.
Statement of responsibility and letter of representation
The current principal and presiding member are required to sign the statement of responsibility and letter of representation on behalf of the school or kura.
This cannot be completed by a previous principal or presiding member.
The signed statement of responsibility and letter of representation are returned to the auditor with the final school board approved financial statements. The independent auditor’s report is then issued which forms part of the school’s or kura annual report.
The annual report is then uploaded to a board-controlled website.
Secure Data Portal for submission of annual reports
Please use the Secure Data Portal(external link) link to submit your annual report to the Ministry. The Secure Data Portal is well protected and is accessed as follows:
- Enter your log in details on the Education Sector Logon box and log in.
- Once in the Secure Data Portal, in the How to send your File(s) to the Ministry of Education: section, click on File Type. Choose Annual Reports (31 May) to upload the annual report correctly. See Figure 1 below.
Your report should be a single PDF file, including audited annual financial statements and required signatures (presiding member, principal and independent auditor’s report). Please ensure you scan originals rather than copies when creating the PDF to ensure they are legible.
Submission of financial statements in Excel format
Schools and kura can also upload an Excel spreadsheet version of their annual financial statements via Te Tāhuhu | the Ministry’s Secure Data Portal(external link). Please ensure that this is the final audited version of the annual financial statements. Uploading an Excel version of this data will help ensure data can be collated in a timely manner. This is optional and is in addition to the required PDF version for the annual financial statements.
The process for uploading the Excel version of the annual financial statements is the same as for uploading the PDF annual report.
Your school board is required to publish the annual report on a website maintained by or on behalf of the school board at the same time as you submit your annual report to the Ministry.
If you do not currently have a website, the Ministry can host your annual report on our Education Counts website, www.educationcounts.govt.nz(external link).
Please send your request for us to host your annual report, along with the school board’s approval, to email@example.com.
It is the school board’s responsibility to ensure your annual report does not contain any information that may breach an individual’s privacy before you make it publicly available.
You can find further guidance on Publishing your documents online.
Your 2021 payroll information will be provided to you in early February 2022 to help you prepare your annual financial statements.
The payroll information will be provided to you in two ways:
- EdPay/Novopay online - SAAR and Leave Liability reports; and
- Secure Data Portal - Payroll Error and Payroll Exception reports.
The information provided through the Secure Data Portal will be password protected.
- The password is the principal’s MOE number (as at PP21);
- The password will exclude the preceding zeros of the MOE number e.g., if the principal’s number is 012345 the password will be 12345;
- The SAAR report will be provided in both PDF and Excel formats. Please provide both of these to your auditor and service provider.
You will be sent a reminder of how and when to access this end of year payroll information in December 2021.
We encourage you to complete as much of your draft annual financial statements as you can, ahead of the payroll information being ready, as this will help you to meet the 31 March deadline.
Holidays Act compliance – schools payroll
The Ministry's review of the school sector payroll, to ensure compliance with the Holidays Act 2003, is ongoing. Schools and kura are required to include a standard disclosure note in their financial statements. The wording of this disclosure is provided in the Kiwi Park model financial statements.
Further information on the review, including frequently asked questions, is available on Holidays Act Compliance - schools payroll.
Letter of support
As part of the audit process, your auditor will assess the appropriateness of preparing your financial statements on a going concern basis.
If your auditor has concerns about the ability of your school or kura to meet its financial obligations in the next 12-month period after the completion of the current year audit, they will request a letter of support from the Ministry.
For a letter of support, please contact the school finance adviser in your region.
How to record funding from the Ministry in your financial statements
The ‘Revenue Types’ tab of the Kiwi Park model financial statements provides a list of funding provided to schools and kura, and how they should be reported in your annual financial statements.
All funding components of your quarterly operations grant, except any banking staffing settlement, should be coded to Government Grants – Operational grants. Operations grant funding received outside of your quarterly operations grant should be coded to Government Grants – Other MOE grants.
You can find guidance on how to record funding you have received from new Ministry initiatives, programmes or Covid-19 financial support on Quick reference guide for new Ministry funding and programmes.
School boards can only borrow within the limits set by section 155 of the Education and Training Act 2020 (external link) and the conditions specified in Crown Entities (Financial Powers) Regulations 2005, regulation 12 (external link).
The total annual cost to the school board in repayment of principal and interest of all borrowings must be equal to or less than 10% of the value of the school board’s annual operational grants.
A school board can apply to exceed the 10% limit. Guidance on how to apply for borrowing approval is contained in section 2.10.2 in Financial Information for Schools Handbook (FISH) [PDF, 1.8 MB].
Conflicts of interest
A conflict of interest is where a school board member has an interest or duty that conflicts (or could be perceived to conflict) with the interests or duties of the school board. School board members with a conflict of interest must declare it and remove themselves from any discussions or decision-making by the school board relating to that matter.
For contracts or financial interests greater than $25,000 per annum, the school board must apply for prior approval of the Secretary for Education.
For guidance on how to manage conflicts of interest, please refer to section 2.6 in Financial Information for Schools Handbook (FISH) [PDF, 1.8 MB].
The funds received for capital works projects through 5YA should not be recorded as revenue to your school or kura as the funds are held on behalf of the Ministry until spent. The advance of funds from the Ministry should be recorded as a liability to the Ministry in your financial statements.
Payments for capital works projects should be charged against the liability account and not expensed to your profit and loss.
For guidance on how to account for your capital works projects please refer to section 4.10.1 in Financial Information for Schools Handbook (FISH) [PDF, 1.8 MB].
Cyclical maintenance provisions
To support better planning for cyclical maintenance costs, such as the internal and external painting of your school or kura, and to comply with generally accepted accounting practice, schools and kura are required to include a provision for cyclical maintenance as a liability in their balance sheets. Schools and kura should set sufficient funds aside to match that liability.
There is guidance on cyclical maintenance provisions in section 4.20 in Financial Information for Schools Handbook (FISH) [PDF, 1.8 MB].
Presiding Member/Principal’s Report [OPTIONAL]
In this report, the presiding member and/or principal informs the school or kura community about the achievements and successes of the academic year. The report also provides an opportunity to tell staff, parents and students about the risks, challenges and opportunities coming up in the year ahead.
There are no samples provided of this kind of report in the Kiwi Park model as there are no mandatory requirements about content. Schools and kura determine what the report(s) will cover.
Kiwisport funding [ESSENTIAL]
Schools and kura are asked to include a short statement in their annual reports on how they have used their Kiwisport funding to increase students’ participation in organised sport. The use of the Kiwisport funding is monitored as part of schools and kura regular Education Review Office reviews.
The Kiwisport funding does not form part of the financial statements. It should be shown as a separate statement within the annual report.
Other reports on special and contestable funding [MAY BE NECESSARY]
During the year the schools and kura may have been the recipient of additional government funding for specific purposes. Schools and kura may need to report on how these funds are used to support student development.
Statement of Variance [ESSENTIAL]
This is a discussion of the outcomes achieved, compared to the outcomes planned, in areas of priority for the year. The school board will present an appraisal of their performance based on the aims, objectives, directions, priorities or targets as set out in the annual section of the school charter. Some schools and kura will choose to combine the presiding member’s report, the principal’s report and the statement of variance into one report.
Members of the school board [ESSENTIAL]
This list details the people who govern the school or kura. It must include the name of each school board member who served on the school board during the year, and the date on which that member will finish their term.
The list of school board members does not form part of the financial statements. However, given its significance it has been included as part of the Kiwi Park model.
Annual financial statements
Statement of Responsibility [ESSENTIAL]
This statement is signed by the principal and the presiding member. It acknowledges that the school board is responsible for the preparation and accuracy of the financial statements and states that the school board has established and maintained a system of internal control to safeguard the assets of the school or kura.
Statement of Comprehensive Revenue and Expense [ESSENTIAL]
This statement summarises the revenue and expense of the school or kura over the financial year. It shows whether the school or kura has managed to operate within the funding they have received.
Statement of Changes in Net Assets/Equity [ESSENTIAL]
This statement shows the value and movements of the Government’s investment over the course of financial year in the school or kura, (this is known as ‘equity’) in the financial statement.
Statement of Financial Position [ESSENTIAL]
This statement shows everything the school or kura owns (assets) and everything it owes (liabilities) as at 31 December of that year.
Statement of Cash Flows [ESSENTIAL]
This statement shows all cash received and all cash paid by the school or kura over the financial year.
Notes to the Financial Statements [ESSENTIAL]
The notes to the financial statements provide an extra level of detail that supports the information shown in the front of the accounts.
Independent Auditor’s Report [ESSENTIAL]
This report is prepared by the auditor of the school or kura and must be included in the annual report. It provides an opinion to the readers of the annual report whether the financial statements comply with generally accepted accounting practice, and fairly represent the financial position, financial performance and cash flows of the school or kura.
Make sure that you can check off each of the items below before you submit the single original PDF file of your annual report to the Ministry.
- Annual financial statements:
- Statement of responsibility signed and dated
- Statement of comprehensive revenue and expense
- Statement of changes in net assets/equity
- Statement of financial position
- Statement of cash flows
- Notes to the financial statements
- Independent auditor’s report signed and dated.
- List of all school board members
- Statement of variance
- Kiwisport funding
- Presiding member/principal’s report (optional)
- Other reports on special and contestable funding (optional)
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