After COVID-19, school offices will have to adapt to the new normal

Untitled design 63 | After COVID-19, school offices will have to adapt to the new normal
By Toby Lester | 4th May 2020 | 8 min read

Whether we like it or not, we’ve all been thrust into the largest EdTech experiment of all time.

While some of us are enjoying the freedom afforded by homeworking, others are driven to distraction and have to muddle through as best they can. A minority of office staff are even planning and tackling large key projects and total overhauls of their systems.

Which one are you? If you don’t fall into the latter category, you could be missing a trick. Now’s the ideal time to change the way your school’s back offices function – and it’s easier than you think.

Here’s how you can use the ongoing school closures to drive positive change.

Improving financial flexibility

Working from home has changed the way we approach school finances, but it’s also changed the way office staff approach their day-to-day responsibilities.

For many schools, the changes afforded by flexible remote working will lead to happier employees, better work-life balance, and as a result, a healthier finance office. These changes may not have happened were it not for the current situation, but the advantages will live on well past the COVID-19 crisis, but only if schools look to make permanent changes to their work processes and systems.

Reduced costs

School closures and remote working have afforded many schools the opportunity to move their critical functions to the cloud. This can have a dramatic effect on the cost of supporting and maintaining school infrastructure and even office computing, as all the hard work is done by their supplier.

Now is the ideal time to cut back on expensive, time-consuming software and hardware installs by moving to flexible cloud-based software.

Improved collaboration

These tools enable colleagues to communicate and collaborate in new and empowering ways. For example, a cloud-based unified ledger system can enable all staff to see the same financial data in real time, so there’s no confusion or double entry to deal with.

This enables incredible new ways to collaborate that weren’t previously possible, especially in the finance office.

New-wave reporting

Many schools and trusts have turned to report automation to help them stay afloat. Once schools fully reopen, we should expect report automation to be the new standard, not the exception.

Modern reporting software can enable financial and administrative staff to set up workflows and automation rules that build out their essential reports at the click of a button. These reports can even be sent automatically to key stakeholders.

Unified ledger systems enable staff to collaborate and drill down into these reports thanks to accurate, real-time data feeds. These insights can in turn be used to fuel better school business decisions, driving down the overall cost of running a school or trust.

These tools are going to be essential, not least because of the huge demand that will be placed on financial managers and administrators once schools reopen. Staff need to prepare for a deluge of work, so now is the time to get to grips with this new way of reporting.

Funding will change

There will be an upfront cost to implement these changes, but this will save schools money in the long run.

One of the ways, for example, that trusts could really benefit from these changes is to seek TCaF funding, as it’s been earmarked for infrastructure improvements. Funding pots that offer schools and trusts an upfront cash injection like this one can be invested into tools and services that save schools huge amounts of money in the long run.

It’s vitally important that schools don’t stop investing in their infrastructure, especially at a time like this. If you’re interested in adapting your school offices and keeping up with the new normal, please get in touch to discover how we can help you move to a robust cloud-based financial system.