Accounting officer: role and responsibilities

Understand the accounting officer's responsibilities, what happens if they're absent and where to access training for this role.

Last reviewed on 10 November 2022
School types: Academy · School phases: All
Ref: 32408
  1. Trustees must appoint an accounting officer 
  2. Main responsibilities
  3. See examples of training 

Trustees must appoint an accounting officer 

  • They should be an employee of your trust
  • They should be a senior executive leader – in single academy trusts this should be the principal, in multi-academy trusts (MATs) it should be the chief executive or equivalent 
  • They must be a fit and suitable person for the role
  • Your trust must get prior approval from the Education and Skills Funding Agency (ESFA) if, in exceptional circumstances, it wants to appoint an accounting officer who isn't a trust employee 

This is outlined in sections 1.33 and 1.34 of the Academy Trust Handbook (ATH).

Main responsibilities


  • This role is all about financial accountability and keeping proper financial records
  • They primarily play a leadership role


Be personally responsible to Parliament, and to the ESFA's accounting officer, for the financial resources under the trust’s control  Be able to assure Parliament, and the public, of high standards of management of public funds, particularly: Value for money – not only for the trust but for