7 tech tricks for MAT finance managers to fight COVID-19

Untitled design 2020 11 20T151324.719 | 7 tech tricks for MAT finance managers to fight COVID-19
By Toby Lester | 20th November 2020 | 9 min read

Modern technology is our greatest asset to fight back against COVID-19. For multi-academy trust finance managers, properly managed technology can mean the difference between making blind trust-wide decisions or leading your trust through the crisis with confidence. 

We’ve learned from our customers during the coronavirus pandemic, and we want to share these learnings with you. Here’s 7 tech tricks you can start adopting right now to help your trust succeed and thrive during these difficult times. 

Be concise 

It’s too easy to get carried away with overly complicated systems and processes, but it’s important to remember that concise is king. And, when it comes to concise financial information, unified ledger structures can’t be beaten. 

That’s why Beckfoot Trust use IRIS Financials – it's easy to navigate and makes sense to everybody on the team. There’s not a lot of clarity or stability going around right now, but IRIS Financials helps to provide stability and clarity for the trust. 

It’s built on a unified ledger structure, which means they only need one ledger to store all their financial information – and it’s consolidated automatically as new entries come in. You can’t get more concise than that. 

Be analytical 

The best way to stay abreast of the ongoing crisis is to analyse what’s going well and where your financial strategy has room for improvement. 

This is where Business Intelligence software comes into its own. With a robust solution such as IRIS Analytics, you can pull data through from IRIS Financials to build out near-instant reports, so you can make data-driven decisions for your trust on the fly. 

When you next need your reports, you can refresh them to pull through the latest data, so you’re always on top of the latest situation. 

Be flexible 

Unfortunately, some members of staff won’t always be able to make it into the office. Traditionally, this could have been a huge problem; however, thanks to modern cloud technology, staff can now collaborate from anywhere. 

For example, PS Cloud provides trusts with access to the IRIS Financials suite from any location, and all staff share the same set of data in real time. 

This software will continue to be useful long after COVID-19 has finally died down. It enables trusts to centralise data from every academy and use this information to inform a trust-wide financial strategy. 

Beckfoot Trust have also used IRIS Financials to help them manage what they can centrally and then devolve some financial control to individual academies as and where they need it. 

Be prepared 

We can’t be sure what will happen in the near future, but we can use software to build out projections.  

Fiscal forecasting software such as IRIS Financial Planner helps trusts up and down the country model every possible funding and cost scenario, helping them to be prepared for the worst – and the best – that this year has to throw at them. 

Be automated 

This is the ideal time to cut out high-effort, low-value tasks that clog up staff’s to-do lists. The most infamous of these tasks is invoice processing. It necessitates a highly skilled professional to manage successfully, but, when it comes down to it, it’s essentially a numbers-matching task – and that member of staff would be more valuable working on your trust’s overall strategy. 

Thankfully, incredible new advancements in machine learning technology has made it possible to automate the entire process. IRIS Invoice Matcher reads every field of an invoice as it comes into your trust and then matches it perfectly against your records – with a success rate higher than that of a human processor. 

Be unified 

During these difficult times, it’s important to trim the fat and make every process as simplified as possible – and that begins and ends with your procurement. 

That’s why so many MATs are moving to IRIS, a singular software supplier, for all their administrative needs. Those who act now stand to reap the rewards in the years to come, as you can get everything you need from a single point of contact rather than dancing between different sources.  

All of our software packages are designed to work in harmony with one another, and we work on improving and updating them constantly to meet our customers’ needs. 

Be decisive 

Now is the time for MATs to be decisive and make the impactful changes they need to help them through the coming years. 

We want to be the go-to partner for our customers not just today, but in the years to come. That’s why we’re upgrading IRIS Financials (formerly PS Financials) with enhanced functionality and an improved user interface. 

We’ve made these changes in line with customer feedback, as we want IRIS Financials to be as useful as possible for multi-academy trusts. The new version of IRIS Financials will also be packed with highly requested new features, so there’s never been a better time to adopt our unified ledger software at your trust. 

Contacting us is simple but could positively change the way you work forever. Get in touch with one of our MAT software specialists today – we're here to help you.