The National College states:
Good financial management is becoming increasingly important in schools.
This can’t come as a surprise but there does seem to be a sea change in how schools are focussing on this principle and not only in the context of annual budgets but both medium term forecasting (3-5 years) and monthly cashflow.
So what is good financial management?
Amongst lots of things I think it’s making best use of your limited resources; securing best value for services; securing as much of available funding, grants, etc as you can; planning well ahead so there are few surprises; planning for the rainy day; being organised and being able to account for it all.
I’m going to focus on the second biggest cost at your school: your property. I’m not in any way surprised by the apparent lack of transparency in schools generally with regards to their property costs. It’s not really been a big focus for them. Over the last 10 years it’s really all been about Local Authority level data collection for asset management and capital based improvements through DFC and PCP. Planned maintenance wise, for some schools everything would have been taken care of through the Service Level Agreements. But things are changing. Quicker than expected. What with the LAs feeling the squeeze (with a capital ‘squee’), the dramatic reduction in the Devolved Forumla Capital allocations, the localism agenda, the Academy initiative and the recent Government reports about the need for more effective planned maintenance in schools (a clear message that there is not going to be a lot of capital sloshing about for a while) the emphasis really is going to be about premises management at the local, i.e. school level.
I suppose (leading statement coming) what would be ideal is a system that gives you a breakdown of what needs doing, when, by whom and how much along with a finance report that shows you the amount over the year and in each month? In this way you could see what activities are costing what. Knowing what you spend on what is one of the first principles of good financial management I would argue. Only this way can you know your costs so you can budget and plan for them. You would also start to drive savings and move from the financial position of “paying a premium for convenience” towards the financial position of “being organised, securing best value and spending less”.
Every’s Compliance management system is a great tool to keep track of where you are spending, allowing you to budget for future costs. To take a look around the system and see it in action, book a demo with a member of our team.