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Finance Consultancy

Finance consultancy service tailored specifically for the education sector.

Consultancy

Strategic financial planning support, tailored to your needs

Our finance consultancy service for the education sector gives you peace of mind that you’re compliant and accountable, and that all your delegated funds are used efficiently. This combines with our innovative budget planning application for a complete financial management solution.

Telephone and Email Support

Our annual finance telephone and email support service is available 8am-8pm 7 days per week. This includes remote support, allowing us to give over the phone, on-screen training and support for any accounting or finance system queries. We support all financial management software. 

Exceed the statutory reporting requirements for maintained schools

With our strategic and operational support, not only will you obtain value for money by engaging services with a competitively priced, non-local authority provider, you’ll also go way beyond your statutory reporting requirements. This means you’ll receive a service that’s tailored specifically to your school’s needs. What’s more, you’ll benefit from our consultants’ extensive experience within this complex and specialised area.

Our school finance consultancy service includes:

  • Strategic financial planning
    • Provision of bespoke budget planning and monitoring software
    • Annual budget setting
    • Costing of the School Improvement Plan
    • Curriculum costing
    • Budget reforecast and out-turn reporting
    • Development of three-year financial plan and deficit recovery
    • ‘What if’ scenario planning
    • Cash flow monitoring and management
  • Financial systems & accounting
    • Fully trained consultants to provide on and off-site support
    • Set up of robust office financial administration systems
    • Support and preparation of monthly bank reconciliation
    • Completion of VAT returns and VAT advice
    • Advice regarding the treatment of revenue and capital expenditure
    • Monthly/termly budget monitoring reports prepared for the head teacher and budget holders, including submission to the local authority
    • Bespoke reports to enable the close monitoring of school activities (e.g. in-house catering provision, breakfast clubs, Universal Infant Free School Meals (UIFSM) monitoring)
    • Year-end closedown reconciliation including accruals/prepayments and carry forward calculation
    • Final closedown and new year system set-up including a review of the accounting structure
    • Maintenance of the school inventory
  • Financial governance & audits
    • Review of financial administration and control policies
    • Procurement advice and support
    • Risk management advice and facilitation
    • Financial reporting to governors tailored to the committees' needs
    • Attendance at governing body and committee meetings
    • Internal and external benchmarking review and analysis
    • Schools Financial Value Standard (SFVS) review and completion support
    • Annual review of existing internal financial controls and recommendations for enhancements
    • Submit statutory returns to the Local Authority and Central Government and also liaise with external providers including audit and payroll functions
  • Business continuity
    • Free remote access software to avoid additional call out visits
    • Provision of a school bursar/finance service as a long term arrangement to reduce financial management costs
    • Short term incapacity cover in the event of absence including sickness and recruitment
    • Flexible telephone and email support service – including evening and weekends

SAAF Education also offers finance training >

Learn more about the SAAF Budget Planner for schools >  

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Streamline and simplify the academy conversion process

If you are thinking of becoming an academy, we’ll help you understand the practical implications of conversion and identify the steps you need to take to make the transition seamless. Converting to an academy brings greater financial freedom with increased responsibilities. Academies are charitable companies limited by guarantee, which means you need to comply with stringent financial governance and reporting requirements.

Our consultancy service for converting schools includes: 

  • Advice to governing bodies, head teachers and school finance staff on the financial management implications of academy conversion
  • Standardised set of accounting policies
  • New academy banking arrangements set up support
  • Procurement advice re: suitable finance software
  • Chart of accounts/coding structure setup
  • Provision of an academies training programme for governors, leadership and school finance staff
  • Closedown of school finance system post conversion

Business continuity

  • Free remote access software to avoid additional call out visits
  • Provision of an academy bursar/finance service as a long term arrangement to reduce financial management costs
  • Short-term incapacity cover in the event of absence including sickness
  • Flexible telephone and email support service – including evenings and weekends
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A comprehensive range of help for existing academies

If you are an existing academy, we can help you with a range of elements including annual budget setting and cash flow monitoring and management. You can also benefit from advice on accounting treatment of trading activities and a review of existing accounting policies and procedures.

Our fully-trained consultants can provide complete on-site and off-site support and you can take advantage of risk management advice and facilitation, financial reporting to governors tailored to the committees’ needs as well as attendance at governing body and committee meetings.

Our consultancy service for academies includes:

  • Academy set up and conversion
    • Advice to governing bodies, head teachers and school finance staff on the financial management implications of academy conversion
    • Standardised set of accounting policies
    • New academy banking arrangements set up support
    • Procurement advice re: suitable finance software
    • Chart of accounts/coding structure setup
    • Provision of an academies training programme for governors, leadership and school finance staff
    • Closedown of school finance system post conversion
  • Strategic financial planning
    • Provision of bespoke budget planning and monitoring software
    • Annual budget setting
    • Costing of the School Improvement Plan
    • Curriculum costing
    • Funding forecast and monitoring
    • Budget forecasting and monitoring
    • Development of 3-year financial plan and deficit recovery if required
    • ‘What if’ scenario planning
    • Cash flow monitoring and management
    • Business planning advice
    • Advice on accounting treatment of trading activities
  • Financial systems & accounting
    • Fully trained consultants to provide full on and off-site support
    • Set up of robust office financial administration systems and sound internal controls
    • Review of existing accounting policies and procedures
    • Support and preparation of bank, payroll and control account reconciliations
    • Completion of VAT claims and VAT advice
    • Advice regarding the treatment of revenue and capital expenditure
    • Preparation of monthly management reports
    • Bespoke reports to enable the close monitoring of academy activities (e.g.in-house catering etc.)
    • Set up and maintenance of fixed asset register including depreciation
    • Support regarding the completion of statutory returns
    • Interim and pre-audit support including accruals/prepayments and year end reserve provisions
    • Provision and liaison with external auditors
    • Year-end financial system closedown
    • Advice on the set up and role of an audit committee
  • Financial governance & audits
    • Review of financial administration and control policies ensuring you meet every internal and external review requirement
    • Procurement advice and support
    • Risk management advice and facilitation
    • Financial reporting to governors tailored to the committees' needs
    • Attendance at governing body and committee meetings
    • Internal benchmarking review and analysis
    • Support and advice on completion of academies Financial Management and Governance Evaluation (FMGE)
    • Quarterly / termly internal audit function, including a written report to the governing body
    • Submit statutory returns to Central Government and also liaise with external providers including audit and payroll functions
  • Business continuity
    • Free remote access software to avoid additional call out visits
    • Provision of an academy bursar/finance service as a long term arrangement to reduce financial management costs
    • Short-term incapacity cover in the event of absence including sickness
    • Flexible telephone and email support service – including evenings and weekends

SAAF Education also offers finance training >

Learn more about the SAAF Budget Planner for Academies >  

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Along with providing individual academies with financial support, SAAF Education's Consultants can provide the following services to Multi Academy Trusts:

  • Support to set up of central MAT finance team
  • Consolidate budgets, financial returns and year end statements
  • Calculate MAT recoupment
  • Support the setup of the MAT central budget
  • Streamline processes and procedures to achieve efficient back office functions
  • Post payroll centrally
  • Administer and reconcile intercompany transactions
  • Calculate and transfer GAG funding
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What our clients say
Their flexibility is excellent, when I require additional visits there is always capacity to arrange them at short notice, which was extremely helpful with the added pressures of setting up the Trust.
Claire McAlonan, CFO | Raleigh Learning Trust
Their level of knowledge and expertise is what we needed, and they were also familiar with PS Financials, the finance software we purchased.
Jeannie Haigh, CFO | Willows Academy Trust