Diocese of Oxford

About The Diocese of Oxford

The Diocese of Oxford is the administrative area of the Church of England, covering three counties: Berkshire, Buckinghamshire and Oxfordshire, and is the largest Diocese in the UK with 815 churches. The Diocese of Oxford decided to form a multi academy trust, and their first academy joined them in September 2012. Initially, the Diocese purchased and implemented Corero (Civica Resource) as their financial system.

The issue Inability to accommodate to the needs of a MAT

A further two church schools decided to join the Diocese Multi Academy Trust in December 2013 and two more will follow soon. The Diocese felt that the Corero (Civica Resource) software did not meet their existing and future requirements as a growing multi academy trust. The Finance Director explained: “I need to restore the confidence that our first academy has lost in its financial reporting, and I think choosing IRIS Financials is a vital part of getting them back on board.”

With over 20 years’ finance experience in education, the Finance Director joined the Diocese of Oxford at the beginning of 2013 and was responsible for reviewing the current system. She soon found the existing software was unable to successfully link to their budget planning software or easily produce reports. The Finance Director feels a readily available helpdesk is vital to the operation of any new system. The customer service provided by the current supplier was inadequate. The response times were slow and often the answers needed were not necessarily given: “Their helpline service has been very poor, you put a call through and you don’t get an answer straight away, it would take days and not hours.”

As a multi-academy trust, being able to easily produce consolidated accounts for all academies is a business-critical process. This information enables a trust to make timely key decisions as they have an up to date view of their true financial position: “With Corero (Civica Resource), in order to produce consolidated accounts we would have had to tweak the system, which would have made the process quite clumsy.”

“I would absolutely recommend IRIS Financials, without question.” – Finance Director, The Diocese of Oxford

The solution

A more intuitive, easy to use, accurate software solution The Finance Director decided it made sense to approach other financial software providers, and because the Trust was particularly impressed by the way in which IRIS Financials was supporting other multi academy trusts, she carried out research, spoke with the Trust’s auditor and the finance directors of two other academies who had good experiences of changing to, and using IRIS Financials: “The feedback was universally positive.”

The Diocese of Oxford decided the financial management solution was the ideal software for a multi academy trust: “It was a no-brainer. It is pretty clear that IRIS Financials is the preferred choice for MATs, their experience will be invaluable in the set up of our financial processes.”

The Finance Director was impressed with IRIS Financials’ modern interface and similarity to Microsoft: “The IRIS Financials homepage is much more intuitive and user friendly compared with the existing finance software.” The Diocese feel it is very important the new software is straightforward and easy to use, particularly for users in smaller primary schools as finance is not their only area of expertise: “From what I’ve seen, the IRIS Financials software looks more logical. New users will find it easier to navigate through.”

Having a strong and all encompassing reporting system is very important to the Diocese. The ability for each academy and the central finance team to receive timely and accurate information is essential: “The IRIS Financials reporting system is fantastic, whereas Corero (Civica Resource) are too slow at getting their reports up and running.”

The transition

Timely implementation and excellent customer service The IRIS Financials Education Team are extremely helpful and approachable. “All of the people I have spoken with have been extremely supportive, particularly the post-sales customer helpdesk. IRIS Financials have kept me in the loop and stayed in contact throughout. I am impressed with the speed at which everything has moved. We were not expecting training to start until January but we’re now looking at December!”

The ideal solution

The Finance Director feels IRIS Financials is the ideal solution to restore confidence in the academies and is very pleased with the service: “Based on the experience I’ve received so far, I would absolutely recommend IRIS Financials, without question.”

If you’d like to see how IRIS Financials can help your school, multi-academy trust or diocese, contact us today.