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Finding the best finance system for your school

Date published: Date modified: 2024-04-24

In the dynamic world of education, managing finances efficiently is crucial for the success and sustainability of any educational institution. Yet, with so many finance software options available, selecting the ideal solution for your school can feel overwhelming. In this blog post, we'll navigate through the complexities of finance software selection to help you find the perfect fit for your school's unique needs!

Identify key features and functionalities

When it’s time to look for a finance system, it’s important to identify the key features and functionalities that your school, academy, or trust requires. Doing so will save time during the process as you’ll be able to quickly identify which software has the required capabilities and which hosting environments will be best suited to your needs.

Research available options

There are many finance software providers available, each with its own benefits.

Some software providers include IRIS/PS Financials, Access, Microsoft Dynamics, SAGE, Civica, Iplicit, Bromcom, HOGE, and CAPITA FMS.

Choice of hosted environments:

  • Locally hosted
  • Third-party hosting
  • Cloud-hosted
  • Cloud-hosted 3rd party
  • Web-based software

There are pros and cons to each hosting environment including the workload that could be put on the IT department, the storage limitations of some of the options, and where the data is stored.

Evaluate ease of use and training resources

There are different licensing models to consider, some with named users and others with concurrent licenses, so it’s worth thinking about which would be more useful to your school or academy as there may be costs in the long run when users need adding or changing.

Some finance software packages will include ongoing training and support which could be beneficial to your institution, either way, it’s important to find out questions about the training and how it will be delivered, what the sign-off process looks like, and what ongoing support could be available.

Consider scalability and compatibility

If you’re an existing academy trust and you’re moving to a new provider, your main concern is ensuring the new provider can map your workflow in the same way and it works just as well if not better.

For a newly converting academy, it’s crucial to get the workflow mapped out, so you know exactly what you need. You need to consider who will be raising the transactions, if you want to use purchase orders, who’s going to be approving things, and how this sits against the scheme of delegation.

It’s also important to find out the cost to add an additional location when the time comes and how long this takes/what notice is required.

Ensure compliance and security

Ensure that the finance software providers maintain a high level of compliance and security. You’ll need to ensure that there are separate administration credentials, the users are set up correctly and all have the correct level of access, and that access is restricted when needed.

Consider total cost of ownership

The total cost must be considered, including the cost of additional users down the line, any extra support and training, and any additional costs for add locations or scaling the users on the software. Once you have potential future costs considered, you’ll be able to make an informed decision.

Request demonstrations and seek recommendations

When booking demonstrations, come up with a list of questions to ask so you don’t miss anything, including where the data is stored and the potential strength of web-based applications.

There are a number of ways you can seek recommendations:

  • Reach out to your peers
  • Contact current customers
  • Seek referrals from 3rd parties
  • Look for recommendations in forums and networks

Choosing the best finance software for your school requires thorough research, careful evaluation, and a clear understanding of your institution's needs and objectives.

By following these steps and considerations, you can streamline your search process and find the perfect solution to simplify school finances, enhance transparency, and empower administrators to make data-driven decisions.

Whichever finance system you use, our Finance Helpdesk team can help

We have in-depth understanding of all leading education finance systems, we’re here to help you navigate complex and time-consuming software. Get in touch.

Watch the recording

Watch the workshop to hear Neil delve deeper into the software providers available and tips on how to choose the best finance system for your school.

Are you unsure if you're getting the most out of your finance system?

We offer a free finance software review, so you can have peace of mind that you’re getting the most out of your software.

We also offer software training and support, we can host sessions on all leading finance software used in the education sector, including IRIS Financials and FMS.

Download our Finding The Best Finance System for Your School session recording

By SAAF Education
SAAF Education 340 110

8 April 2024



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