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SAAF transforms LIFE Education Trust's financial management and payroll

Date published: Date modified: 2024-04-02
Explore how SAAF's expertise and tailored solutions alleviated administrative burdens, streamlined processes, and provided invaluable guidance for sustainable growth. 

The client

LIFE Education Trust, established in 2019, is a multi-academy trust comprising over 10 schools in the Essex and London area, with almost 2,500 pupils and 374 staff. LIFE Education Trust was created with the mission to build great learning communities which unleash creativity and champion optimism, in a spirit of compassion. Everyone at LIFE shares and demonstrates the same beliefs: courageous optimism, boundless creativity, and heartfelt compassion.

The client's challenges 

LIFE’s previous solution for finance was an in-house team; however, they didn’t have the skills and expertise to deal with the complex finance system they were using, so they reviewed outsourcing options, with a view of appointing a provider with extensive PSF/IRIS Financials expertise.

Similarly, LIFE’s payroll was managed in-house. They soon discovered that an outsourced solution would provide the expertise needed in an ever-complicated and time-consuming area. They needed a provider that could improve efficiency whilst supporting with removing the administrative burden of payroll.

When choosing a new provider, Mark, the Director of Finance at LIFE, didn’t have to look too far. Having previously worked with SAAF at his last trust, Mark knew that SAAF was the best fit to support with IRIS Financials and payroll.

LIFE needed a helpdesk provider who could provide bespoke handling of their needs, a company that would offer tailored and customer-focused support. They also needed a cost-effective and efficient payroll solution – and that’s where SAAF came in!

The solution

“SAAF provided the Director of Finance with more comfort over the integrity of the numbers.”

‘SAAF offers very good value for money as they do so much, and their approach has been very helpful. They’re very knowledgeable but also nice people and I have never got the impression that we’re asking too much or asking too simplistic questions.’

The trust says that the ‘team are more knowledgeable about PSF, there are lots of tricky niggles sorted that were taking up a lot of time. SAAF massively improved efficiency and provided the Director of Finance with more comfort over the integrity of the numbers.’ The team at LIFE were pleased with the level of support provided on PSF/IRIS Financials and decided to extend the partnership by acquiring more of SAAF’s services including finance helpdesk, consultancy days, add location work and payroll.’

“SAAF’s offering was the most cost-effective and offered added value when linked with SAAF’s PSF knowledge.”

Tenders were sought from 3 providers for payroll, ultimately, the decision was a no-brainer. SAAF was described by the team as ‘our kind of people’. What’s more, SAAF’s offering was the most cost-effective and offered added value when linked with SAAF’s PSF knowledge. The transfer over was very well-managed by the on-boarding team and a real weight has been lifted from the Finance Director’s shoulders.

The results

"SAAF’s problem-solving, guidance and expertise have proved invaluable.”

Working with SAAF has taken the pressure off the finance staff and provided more streamlined financial management. The budgets produced are more accurate and there’s increased productivity in the team. The payroll service is responsive, accurate, and streamlined – proving to be more efficient than their previous, in-house solution.

“I would recommend SAAF wholeheartedly and without caveat.”

‘SAAF’s problem-solving, guidance and expertise have proved invaluable in turning around the finance function. They’ve provided improved efficiency in sorting out issues but also provided guidance on the best way to do things. SAAF undertaking year-end takes away an onerous duty from the team at such a busy time. They’ve made LIFE a nicer place for the finance team to work as nuisance issues they are not cut out to solve are solved for us. Responsiveness has been exceptional; I cannot recall a time when a call was not taken, or they hadn’t got back to us very shortly thereafter. I would recommend SAAF wholeheartedly and without caveat.’

Discover how SAAF can transform your school, academy, or trust's financial management and payroll →

Case study developed: March 2024 

By SAAF Education
SAAF Education 340 110

27 March 2024


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