13. Graham Fitzgerald, General Practice and Audit Director at Baldwin Accountants, Baldwin Accountants

Reading Time: 2 minutes

This week Tim Warneford is in Stockton-on-Tees to speak to Graham Fitzgerald, general practice and audit director at Baldwin Accountants. As well as dealing with commercial organisations, Graham specialises in the education sector, providing audit and advisory services and working with over forty academy schools including an increasing number of multi academy trusts. 


On this episode we cover:


How they entered the academy client market

Rapidly expanding through word of mouth recommendations

Applying passion and expertise to the sector

Charity accounting not being straightforward

Giving clients a lot of free support early on

Retaining clients through this

25% of their work being academy based now

Academies being different to commercial clients

People working in the sector finding it very rewarding

Enjoying making a difference to children’s education

Additional revenue schemes still being available for academies

Many schools being blighted by lack of resources

Other schools renting out their resources for cash

Been frustrated about how few academies do financial due diligence

How can suppliers partner to form collaborations to further help academies

Tim wanting to find a pilot to support as above

Previously been in the SFA’s in the best interest to convert, but are there lessons we can learn from this

If a school transfers and gets into deficit there can be a lot of issues

Do the SFA put money back into schools that are failing or into the larger MAT?

Being governed by accounting standards

Lack of clarity when pushing new projects through

Some academies and schools sitting on next to no reserves

Rewards for schools getting returns in on time

GAG pooling pros and cons

If academy trusts know what their funding is going to be they can play ahead

The change of policy and government being very frustrating

Most of the risks being outside of the hands of the clients

Hoping that his legacy is that they have made a difference, working with schools not against them