Manor Hall Academy Trust


Manor Hall Academy Trust – a five school, special school multi academy trust (MAT) operating from their central trust in Staffordshire recently replaced their undeveloped accounting system with IRIS Financials after only four months. In this case study, we look at the key drivers behind this decision and the benefits experienced since choosing IRIS Financials as their new financial management solution.

Selection Process

Upon adding two academies to their MAT, the trust decided to explore new financial management solutions suitable to cater to their new business requirements.

After undergoing a selection process, Manor Hall Academy Trust decided to select a school accounting software new to the sector as their new financial management system – the decision was primarily based on price and a recommendation from their local support organisation in Staffordshire. The Chief Financial Officer (CFO) for the trust recalls her experience during the process.

“We saw the rep from our previous system and he showed us the front end of the system and delivered a good presentation, our decision to choose this system was primarily based on their price. Unfortunately, the system did not produce the features revealed throughout their presentation”.

The CFO went onto say: “If we had known what we know now, we would have chosen IRIS Financials back then – it really is a case of you get what you pay for”.

Time for Change

After only four months of using the system, Manor Hall Academy Trust decided to replace the system with IRIS Financials, CFO explains: “On three occasions we were told that we would have all the aspects of our system live. With these broken promises and no guarantee of having the system ready by year-end, I was getting increasingly concerned that our data would not be up to date. This combined with many other unresolved issues with the system forced us to review our system, resulting in the implementation of IRIS Financials – our previous system just wasn’t designed for multi academy trusts”.

“After reviewing the IRIS demonstration and speaking to several IRIS Financials users. It was clear that IRIS Financials are the proven financial management system provider for multi academy trusts – making our decision to change easy”.

The IRIS Solution

Real Time Consolidation

“It was great to learn that IRIS Financials is able to consolidate the data from each of our schools, and reduce the amount of work I was previously doing to bring these data sets together – this was a key feature considering we are a multi academy trust”.

Workflow Management

“IRIS Financials will also help distribute the purchasing responsibilities across departments. We have gone from having the ability to only place orders to having a system with security parameters to help us streamline and secure our purchasing process”.

Full Drilldown Capacity

“Having full drill-down capacity will make searching for invoices much smoother, whilst saving us time on a daily basis”.

Trust Wide Payment Runs

“With IRIS Financials we will be able to make trust-wide payment runs without the need to manually enter records from each school onto one document”.

Automatic Bank Reconciliation

“The automatic bank reconciliation feature provided by IRIS Financials finally means that we can move away from the old-fashioned way of reconciling banks we previously used to perform”.

Future Plans

Manor Hall Academy Trust are planning on adding more schools to their trust and IRIS Financials will play a key role throughout the expansion. IRIS Financials will help the trust transition new schools into their trust and consolidate their finances with Manor Hall Academy Trust.

The CFO comments: “We will be adding a new primary school to the trust in September, and with the implementation of IRIS Financials, we know we have a finance system capable of supporting further growth”.


We finally asked the CFO to describe her experience with IRIS Financials so far and if she would recommend IRIS Financials to other MAT’s, she replied: “My interactions with IRIS Financials have been great, there is always someone at the end of a call and the transition has been very smooth. I would recommend IRIS to other MAT’s because they provide a system with the features required at MAT level”.

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