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Dealing with the responsibilities of school budgeting

Date published: Date modified: 2022-10-25

Managing your school’s finances can be a difficult task because you have to constantly juggle the routine tasks as well as taking on the bigger challenges. These everyday duties however, can take up a lot of your time and resources, which can affect your financial responsibilities.

Working with school business managers, we know that they do an excellent job regardless of size or school type, but we also know that everyone needs additional support at times. The tips below will hopefully assist you with the day to day financial responsibilities of your job.Here is a list of our top tips to help you navigate the financial highway with confidence.

1 – Stick to the budget you set

School budgets need to be accurate and achievable, but they also need to be followed. Sticking to your budget is the easiest way to reduce your stress and keep your sanity, but it also has a huge effect on your bottom line.

When setting your budget, it is important to evaluate what you’d like to achieve in the year versus what you can actually budget for. When you’ve done this, make sure you refer back to it regularly to ensure you stay on track.

2 – Create a medium-term financial Plan that follows your school’s priorities

By having a medium-term financial plan that is in line with your school’s priorities, you will be able to consolidate all known factors of your school’s financial position and sustainability in one place. This will, however, vary depending on the size of your school, academy, or trust and how many years your long-term plan is set for.

To ensure you are getting the most out of your strategic plans, you must first understand the priorities of your school so that you can make more informed decisions about the school’s growth and pupil’s progression, keeping in mind changes made by central government, for example funding and pension changes.

If you need assistance setting your medium-term financial plan, then one of our accountants can visit your school to do just that. Click here to learn more about SAAF’s consultancy service.

3 – Prepare for a ‘rainy day’

Dealing with the smaller details in your daily work life will always prove a challenge regardless of the planning processes you have in place to ensure financial stability and sustainability.  

School leaders and governors may not be happy about setting aside a pot of money for emergencies, especially since budgets can be quite tight at times, but you must insist on having these reserves. You never know what emergencies may occur in the future and planning for the unknown now will save you a lot of hassle in the future.

4 – Never stop reviewing

All organisations should go through regular reviews to ensure everything they’re purchasing is necessary to meet their objectives. It is common for organisations to notice spending increases in small localised budgets, and there can be a general lack of clarity around whether what is being delivered represents value for money.

For instance, do you need that software that is about to auto renew and was commissioned by a teacher that no longer works at the school, or is the facilities management supplier still ticking all the boxes you signed up for three years ago?

To tackle this, you can set up a regular task to review and check that your expenditure delivers benefit to your school and delivers value for money.

5 – Monthly monitoring

Finally, you should have clear financial month end monitoring procedures and processes in place – including management account reporting.

Similar to the reviews, this will allow you instant access to your expenditure, income and bottom line and flag up any issues, helping you to deal with them in a timely manner.

If you follow these five steps, you should be able to keep control of the factors affecting your school finances so that you can easily focus on the bigger challenges. If you require support with this, simply click the button below to find out how our finance consultants can help.

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