How to protect your school budget by maximising its value

Untitled design 30 | How to protect your school budget by maximising its value
By Toby Lester | 16th September 2019 | 8 min read

It’s been a common theme in all UK schools: there’s less money to go around, but more demand to improve educational outcomes than ever before.

Amidst this mounting pressure, school leadership have started turning to alternative budget-stretching methods, including the adoption of school business managers, additional funding sources and smarter resource management.

There might be some respite in the future, but for now, budgets continue to shrink.

The threat of shrinking budgets

The government has announced a £2.6b cash injection next year for schools, but it could be too little too late; for many schools, the damage has already been done. As facilities and equipment fall to dereliction, many schools are hesitant to spend part of their shrinking budgets on maintaining them – and for good reason.

Uncertainty leads some schools to avoid spending on essential maintenance and infrastructure updates, but in the long run, this could deal more damage than good. By streamlining budget processes, this money can be spent with confidence and put towards preventing your precious education resources from being written off.

So what can be done to eliminate this uncertainty and safeguard your students’ education?

Curriculum-led budget planning

One potential solution is to adopt a curriculum-led financial approach. By analysing curriculum data, it’s possible to calculate where your money could be best spent to gain the largest positive change in pupil outcomes, maximising your budget’s value.

This approach isn’t only useful when times are hard. It’s good practice to adopt curriculum-based budget planning as an integral aspect of school or MAT budgets, as it should (in theory) lead to greater educational success for your students. You can read more about the curriculum-led approach here.

Improved financial control and process

This style of budget planning necessitates accurate, reliable data and a robust financial process, which means that your choice of financial software is essential. By adopting powerful unified ledger software like IRIS Financials, you can make huge budget savings by maximising the benefits of your spending and eliminating waste.

This also affords you greater control of your finances. Unified ledger software automatically consolidates your financial data at all locations into a single ledger. For MATs, this enables a real-time overview of your trust-wide finances, which is the same across all locations. It also enables GAG pooling – if it’s part of your MAT’s financial strategy, you can read more about it here.

Greater efficiency through automation

Automation is a clever new way to maximise your budget’s value. By automating low-value administrative tasks, you can save your staff time to focus on more important issues that will make a real difference to your school(s), saving you even more money.

With IRIS Financials, you can cut down on the time spent manually reconciling transactions and approving purchases. It also improves schools’ reporting across the board, making it easy to streamline budget allocations.

Streamlined workflows enable an agile approach to purchasing and procurement, ensuring that each department can get the equipment it needs when it needs it – without bypassing the all-important approvals process.

If you’re interested in supercharging your budgets’ value, contact IRIS Financials today for a free demo of our comprehensive administrative suite. You might be surprised by how valuable unified ledger software can be for your school or MAT.