Toby Lester
4 minutes length
Posted: 4th August 2020

5 essential school office tasks to do before September

We all know that this year, September will be drastically different. Now is the best time to start preparing for the new challenges your school office will face – or you could be caught out by them.

Whether it’s because of social distancing rules, stretched budgets or the time-consuming reporting and finance tasks you’re going to need to stay on top of, school administrators’ time is going to be more valuable than ever. However, there’s plenty you can do to thrive in the next normal.

Don’t forget to complete these five tasks, and reap the rewards come September.

Prepare the office space

The pandemic is still ongoing. It’s important to establish a cleaning regime and stick to it throughout the coming months.

It should be everybody’s responsibility to stay on top of your cleaning – not just the cleaning staff. Disinfectant should be made readily available to your staff and you should keep your desks clear of clutter so they can be cleaned on a regular basis.

Consider communal equipment like phones and keyboards. Where possible, don’t share any equipment. If it must be shared, ensure there’s an easy way to clean it down afterwards.

There’s no official government advice explaining how far apart desks should be positioned but consider the overall advice of keeping 2m from other people. Is this possible with your current seating arrangement? If not, you should consider whether you can rearrange your desks or if there are other rooms free for you to split the team over.

You can use coloured tape on the floor to mark out 2m distances, helping your staff to stay safe.

Enable flexible and remote working

Not everyone will necessarily be able to come in. They could be shielding for their own or their relatives’ health.

Schools can make accommodations to help these shielding staff stay productive despite not being able to physically come into the office. Cloud storage platforms and cloud administrative platforms such as PS Cloud can enable these staff members to collaborate using the same data set, no matter where they are in the world.

We’ve seen trusts adapt their working practices over the last few months by using PS Cloud to allow flexible working practices, will zero detriment to their working outcomes.

This software will continue to benefit trusts long after the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic wear off. For trusts, it makes it possible to see the bigger picture across all members schools by aggregating data from every site and centralising control.

Adopt automation tools

School offices are going to have to do more work than ever with potentially fewer available staff. This could prove to be impossible without adopting automation tools.

Modern automation can do jobs faster, cheaper, and much easier than a human. For example, IRIS Invoice Matcher can take over the entire job of invoice processing for you at 20% of the cost – and with near-perfect accuracy.

At a time when you can’t guarantee high staffing levels, it’s essential to keep your mission-critical tasks running smoothly – and automation helps you to achieve this.

Cut down on ledgers and journal entries

Processing and reconciling across multiple sites is a huge drain on finance office resources.

Throughout the Covid-19 crisis, many trusts have moved over to unified ledger systems such as IRIS Financials to benefit from a consolidated ledger – and the benefits are huge. Because there’s only one ledger, all financial records are automatically reconciled in real time.

It saves financial staff hours of time every week for more important tasks, enables trusts to see a complete up-to-date view of their finances at every location, and enables fast and responsive reporting that can form the backbone of an effective Covid-19 response.

Build fast and responsive reports

During these difficult times, schools and trusts need to change plans and be agile at a moment’s notice.

That’s why the old style of reporting won’t work in the next normal. Instead of building reports on an annual basis, trusts are looking for new, innovative ways to manage their reporting.

Instead, IRIS Analytics can integrate directly with IRIS Financials to pull through data and build near-instant reports. You can then refresh these reports as and when you need to see new data – for example, every day.

Offer your key stakeholders the information they need to make effective financial decisions and pave the way for your trust to succeed in the new normal by adopting automation, cutting down on ledgers and producing fast and responsive reports.

If you’re interested in making a positive change before September, don’t hesitate to get in touch to discover how we can help your trust navigate the next normal.