Smarter Financial Management


 Commencing September 2011 the Schools Financial Value Standard (SFVS) will be implemented in some schools. This will change the way in which schools financial management is audited and the individuals accountable for audit. School Governors will have increased responsibility to ensure that all expenditure represents good value and public money is safeguarded. Governors should also ensure that they have an affiliated representative with adequate financial experience and knowledge who can work closely with the Head Teacher or Bursar / School Business Manager.  

 The SFVS consultation asks: ‘Does the school have an accounting system that is adequate and properly run and delivers accurate reports, including the annual Consistent Financial Reporting return?’ and ‘Does the school have adequate arrangements for audit of voluntary funds?’

Smarter Financial Management is the ability to accurately report accounts quickly and demonstrate a transparent audit trail which can’t be done by using ledgers or spread sheets to comply with SFVS requirements.  Before choosing your accounting system, considerations should be made for:

  • Accessibility
  • Efficiency
  • Integration
  • Support
  • Cost

 System functionality is commonly sold to schools, but what are all the options and what do you really need? The phasing out of cheques from 2014 is cause for concern as schools are faced with potentially more cash and increased charges from insurance and security companies who remove it from site. UK research has revealed that 1 in 11 purchases are now online.  Should you consider online payments? Schools that have implemented online payment systems have seen an uptake by 63% of parents. Things to consider when choosing online payment providers:

  • Setup fees
  • Cost
  • Transaction charges
  • Support
  • Security
  • Regulatory bodies

 What other functionality is available in accounting systems?

  • Dinner Register
  • Student details import
  • Uniform and stock
  • School Trips

Currently the majority of schools are still receiving cheques or cash as payment for school trips, school dinners, uniforms etc.

In order to become more efficient schools are looking at accountancy software that enables them to keep track of every penny.

Many schools are employing a School Business Manager or clusters of small primaries employing one between them. Although the role of the SBM will vary slightly from school to school fundamentally they take the responsibility for financial administration, revenue generation and monitoring of the budget on a daily basis leaving Head Teachers to concentrate on Teaching & Learning.

Julia Sharman


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