The Fernwood School

About The Fernwood School

Fernwood is a high-performing 11-16 multi-cultural school, recognised by Ofsted and the DfE for excellent academic standards and outstanding care and discipline. The school achieved Leading Edge status for excellent practice in 2004, became a Specialist Technology College in 2005 and a Specialist School in Maths and Science in 2010. In 2011, Fernwood was one of the first schools in Nottingham to convert to an academy. Prior to becoming an academy, The Fernwood School was using SIMS FMS, supported by Nottingham City Council. When The Fernwood School made the transition of becoming an academy, they felt FMS did not have the capability to cope with the requirements of an academy and opted to have their financial systems outsourced to another local school that used Corero (Civica Resource).

The issue

Inadequate reporting ability

In October 2012, a new Business Manager joined The Fernwood School and conducted an audit on the existing school accounting system and software. The Business Manager quickly discovered that the Corero (Civica Resource) software was not meeting the basic needs of their academy, particularly in reporting: “I found the system cumbersome and difficult to use. It was not able to do simple tasks such as securely import journals from Excel, or copy screens to Excel without a lot of effort.”

“The Consultant knew the subject very well and clearly explained what would happen and when – we were put at ease from the first meeting.” Business Manager, The Fernwood School

The solution

Drill down capabilities and data interrogation

The Fernwood School made the decision to look at other accounting software on the market and immediately liked the look and feel of IRIS Financials for schools and MATs: “I felt interrogating my data would be so much easier with IRIS Financials. It is possible to enquire on a high-level view of the accounts and drill right down to each underlying transaction. I also liked how easy it was to import journals into IRIS Financials.”

The Business Manager was initially concerned that changing software for the second time in two years would be too much for the Finance Team to digest. However, as IRIS Financials is a true Windows software, and the day-to-day input screens were more ergonomically designed, it meant IRIS Financials was intuitive for new users.

The transition

Transparency and guidance

The implementation of IRIS Financials was seamless. The IRIS Financials Education Consultant was also very well received, as explained by the Business Manager: “The Consultant knew the subject very well and clearly explained what would happen and when – we were put at ease from the first meeting.”

“We had great visibility and information from day one – the communication was very good.”

The Business Manager further commented on the training received from another IRIS Financials trainer: “The trainer understood the accounting and education side and knew exactly what we required. She broke things down and explained it to us very well.”

The future

A positive experience with continued support

The Business Manager concluded: “Our trainer was attentive and responded accurately to all questions. She also had a vast knowledge of their software and was able to give a fair comparison with other systems. The entire experience has been positive overall and I am confident with the continued support from IRIS Financials.”

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