Report on the audit of the financial statements

Opinion

In our opinion, the University of Bath’s group financial statements and parent institution financial statements (the “financial statements”):

  • give a true and fair view of the state of the group’s and of the parent institution’s affairs as at 31 July 2021 and of the group’s and of the parent institution’s income and expenditure, gains and losses and changes in reserves, and of the group’s cash flows for the year then ended;
  • have been properly prepared in accordance with United Kingdom Generally Accepted Accounting Practice (United Kingdom Accounting Standards, comprising FRS 102 “The Financial Reporting Standard applicable in the UK and Republic of Ireland”, and applicable law); and
  • have been properly prepared in accordance with the requirements of the Office for Students’ Accounts Direction (OfS 2019.41).

We have audited the financial statements, included within the Annual Report & Accounts (the “Annual Report”), which comprise the Consolidated and University Balance Sheets as at 31 July 2021; the Consolidated and University Statement of Comprehensive Income, the Consolidated and University Statement of Changes in Reserves, and the Consolidated Cash Flow Statement for the year then ended; the Consolidated Accounting Policies for 2020/21, and the notes to the financial statements.

Basis for opinion

We conducted our audit in accordance with International Standards on Auditing (UK) (“ISAs (UK)”) and applicable law. Our responsibilities under ISAs (UK) are further described in the Auditors’ responsibilities for the audit of the financial statements section of our report. We believe that the audit evidence we have obtained is sufficient and appropriate to provide a basis for our opinion.

Independence

We remained independent of the group in accordance with the ethical requirements that are relevant to our audit of the financial statements in the UK, which includes the Financial Reporting Council (FRC)’s Ethical Standard, and we have fulfilled our other ethical responsibilities in accordance with these requirements.

Conclusions relating to going concern

Based on the work we have performed, we have not identified any material uncertainties relating to events or conditions that, individually or collectively, may cast significant doubt on the group’s and the parent institution’s ability to continue as a going concern for a period of at least twelve months from the date on which the financial statements are authorised for issue.

In auditing the financial statements, we have concluded that the Council’s use of the going concern basis of accounting in the preparation of the financial statements is appropriate.

However, because not all future events or conditions can be predicted, this conclusion is not a guarantee as to the group and parent institution’s ability to continue as a going concern.

Our responsibilities and the responsibilities of the Council with respect to going concern are described in the relevant sections of this report.

Reporting on other information

The other information comprises all of the information in the Annual Report other than the financial statements and our auditors’ report thereon. The Council is responsible for the other information. Our opinion on the financial statements does not cover the other information and, accordingly, we do not express an audit opinion or any form of assurance thereon.

In connection with our audit of the financial statements, our responsibility is to read the other information and, in doing so, consider whether the other information is materially inconsistent with the financial statements or our knowledge obtained in the audit, or otherwise appears to be materially misstated. If we identify an apparent material inconsistency or material misstatement, we are required to perform procedures to conclude whether there is a material misstatement of the financial statements or a material misstatement of the other information. If, based on the work we have performed, we conclude that there is a material misstatement of this other information, we are required to report that fact. We have nothing to report based on these responsibilities.

Responsibilities for the financial statements and the audit

Responsibilities of the Council for the financial statements

As explained more fully in the Statement of Responsibilities of Council, the Council is responsible for the preparation of the financial statements in accordance with the applicable framework and for being satisfied that they give a true and fair view. The Council is also responsible for such internal control as they determine is necessary to enable the preparation of financial statements that are free from material misstatement, whether due to fraud or error.

In preparing the financial statements, the Council is responsible for assessing the group and parent institution’s ability to continue as a going concern, disclosing as applicable, matters related to going concern and using the going concern basis of accounting unless the Council either intends to liquidate the group and parent institution or to cease operations, or has no realistic alternative but to do so.

Auditors’ responsibilities for the audit of the financial statements

Our objectives are to obtain reasonable assurance about whether the financial statements as a whole are free from material misstatement, whether due to fraud or error, and to issue an auditors’ report that includes our opinion. Reasonable assurance is a high level of assurance, but is not a guarantee that an audit conducted in accordance with ISAs (UK) will always detect a material misstatement when it exists. Misstatements can arise from fraud or error and are considered material if, individually or in the aggregate, they could reasonably be expected to influence the economic decisions of users taken on the basis of these financial statements.

Irregularities, including fraud, are instances of non-compliance with laws and regulations. We design procedures in line with our responsibilities, outlined above, to detect material misstatements in respect of irregularities, including fraud. The extent to which our procedures are capable of detecting irregularities, including fraud, is detailed below.

Based on our understanding of the institution/industry, we identified that the principal risks of non-compliance with laws and regulations related to UK health & safety and employment legislation together with Office for Students regulations, and we considered the extent to which non-compliance might have a material effect on the financial statements. We also considered those laws and regulations that have a direct impact on the financial statements such as the Office for Students’ Accounts Direction (OfS 2019.41). We evaluated management’s incentives and opportunities for fraudulent manipulation of the financial statements (including the risk of override of controls), and determined that the principal risks were related to fraudulent transactions designed to overstate the financial performance and position of the group. Audit procedures performed included:

  • Reviewing committee meeting minutes and holding discussions with management, including consideration of known or suspected instances of non-compliance with laws and regulations and fraud;
  • Using computer based audit techniques to identify and test higher risk manual journals, in particular those having unusual account combinations;
  • Reviewing the appropriateness of the assumptions used by the group in estimating the value of fixed assets, derivatives, and the defined benefit pension scheme deficits; and
  • Obtaining third party confirmations of all the group’s banking and financing arrangements.

There are inherent limitations in the audit procedures described above. We are less likely to become aware of instances of non-compliance with laws and regulations that are not closely related to events and transactions reflected in the financial statements. Also, the risk of not detecting a material misstatement due to fraud is higher than the risk of not detecting one resulting from error, as fraud may involve deliberate concealment by, for example, forgery or intentional misrepresentations, or through collusion.

A further description of our responsibilities for the audit of the financial statements is located on the Financial Reporting Council’s website. This description forms part of our auditors’ report.

Use of this report

This report, including the opinions, has been prepared for and only for the Council as a body in accordance with the Charters and Statutes of the institution and for no other purpose. We do not, in giving these opinions, accept or assume responsibility for any other purpose or to any other person to whom this report is shown or into whose hands it may come save where expressly agreed by our prior consent in writing.

Other required reporting

Opinions on other matters prescribed in the Office for Students’ Accounts Direction (OfS 2019.41)

In our opinion, in all material respects:

  • funds from whatever source administered by the institution for specific purposes have been properly applied to those purposes and, if relevant, managed in accordance with relevant legislation;
  • funds provided by the Office for Students, UK Research and Innovation (including Research England) and the Education and Skills Funding Agency have been applied in accordance with the relevant terms and conditions.

Under the Office for Students’ Accounts Direction, we are required to report to you, if we have anything to report in respect of the following matters:

We have no matters to report arising from this responsibility.

PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP
Chartered Accountants and Statutory Auditors
Bristol