Protecting the financial security of our schools
In this innovative fast paced technological world our education system is still evolving to meet the needs of the work place of tomorrow. As a head teacher, governor or senior management team of a school your focus is meeting the educational needs of our youngsters. This should be your primary goal. However, a lack of professional support could be jeopardising your school or at a minimum restrict what services and equipment is available to your pupils. With this side of operations draining your time you are less free to focus on what you are good at, developing teaching practices that will greatly benefit the school and it’s pupils.
With recent publicity surrounding ineffective and costly finance based decisions that have cost head teachers their jobs and plunged schools into financial crisis where do you turn for ongoing support? One solution is to outsource and invest in this skill so that you have a professional partnership with the primary aim of taking the headache out of finance and business decisions and to advise purely in your best interest. The school could save thousands in exercising proper financial control and competitive purchasing. With recent high exposure on schools being overcharged by tens of thousands in some areas a relatively small investment in these skills seems like a smart move.
With that in mind; here are some key areas HSJ believe you should focus on getting right in order to protect the financial security of your school.
- Financial systems and governance
There has been much publicity about poor financial and control systems in schools and the need and responsibility of schools to implement one – but where do you start? Your senior management team could spend countless hours designing and implementing a system, during this time the focus is being pulled away from the goals in relation to developing the educational program. A professional partner could painlessly evaluate what systems you need, design working practices to adapt to your particular working practices with ease and you will have the security of knowing that the control and finance systems have been designed with external scrutiny in mind.
- Budgetary control
We all know that schools are restrained by limited budgets and making the most out of them is a constant struggle. A well laid out budget constructed at the start of the year is all well and good. But how is this used through the year? at each purchase? at the end of the year? At the end of the month to tell you how it compares to actual? Unless this is used as a working document that can evolve with the school during the year it is another well intended but sadly misguided waste of time. Again – get a professional in. Whether this is for guidance and training on how to use this effectively or to review quarterly, not only looking backward it is important to use these documents to look forward to ensure the budgets are adhered to.
- Due diligence
If you are investing, whether it be on IT, photocopiers or another major equipment purchase. Call your strategic partner, treat them as an extension of your school, another skill set you can call upon. Before entering into a contract or lease get a business professional to look over it and to look over who you are doing business with. We have all heard of casualty cases where a good deal naively entered into for the benefit of the school has cost dearly. This can be prevented with the right mindset and partnership approach.
If you’re in the education sector and would like to discuss any of the above or if your school is converting to an academy and need some guidance, we would be happy to help and advise you. Contact us on 02920 8999740 to book your free meeting.