Chris (Alan Patient & Co’s specialist Accountant for Academies) completed our BFRO for us. It was simple and took away the worry of completing them. I was elated.
Converting two schools into a new Multi Academy Trust we knew that we were going to need all of our finance staff to be at the top of their game. Ensuring that we were suitably prepared to take on new converter schools in the near future was a priority. Changing our accounting software from FMS was going to be a huge challenge in itself and having the financial support and knowledge to assist with that was key. Having prepared budgets previously I needed to know the changes from a maintained school budget when becoming a Multi Academy Trust. Alan Patient & Co were able to help with this and all the requirements I have as Accounting Officer. Having faced this challenge and wanting to be hands on I know that having experts on your side gives you that peace of mind and support you need to make the transition.
Mrs Edge, Agate Momentum Trust
We converted in June 2017 and formed a Multi Academy Trust. The process had been challenging, devoting as much time as possible to getting the Trust going to ensure a smooth transition. We knew we needed assistance with the required reporting and financial accounting elements of being an Academy; and Alan Patient were incredibly supportive with this process and ensured we met the strict deadlines, they were also able to provide good advice and support with Trustee meetings and Annual Audit requirements.
Alan Patient & Co were able to provide a list of all the deadlines we would need to meet from conversion through to our ongoing annual reporting requirements. They also provided input on how they could assist us and gave an agreed fee up front meaning we could plan and budget their costs without any nasty surprises. Their support and guidance through this process has been invaluable and based on our experience would recommend to any school about to convert to an Academy.
Mrs Bingham, Britannia Education Trust
Alan Patient & Co have assisted us through a period of change. They have helped update our financial controls, advised on and implemented new accounting software and aided us in maintaining budgetary controls to help us grow from 900 going up to 1,500 pupils. I used to find monthly budgetary meetings daunting, feeling that I was being talked to in another language. Thanks to Alan Patient & Co they explained everything to me in plain English allowing me to focus on and understand the key issues. Due to their professionalism and expertise I now look forward to monthly meetings to see how our funding is being best spent to improve the school for our staff and our pupils learning.”
Mr Seager, Stratford School Academy
What we can offer
We offer a wide range of services but primarily we could be your virtual Chief Financial Officer supporting the finance function. This is done in the following ways:-
- Due diligence – most important when schools are looking to join multi academy trusts to ensure there are no nasty surprises after joining.
- Pre conversion support – there are a number of new reporting requirements and challenges for schools when becoming an academy. There are tight deadlines after becoming an academy, and we look to provide the school with the right level of support to ensure they have the right tools to deal with the issues that arise whilst meeting deadlines.
- Post conversion support – those academies that have recently converted (or even those who did so a while ago) may find they are lacking the specific skills needed to adhere to the new requirements of being an academy. We can help to boost the finance function of schools through support, training and assistance on how best to run this function.
- Advice on accounting software – through preferred established suppliers we are able to provide support and guidance on how best to run your finance function using the software solutions appropriate for you.
- Advice on tendering – many academies struggle with this and we can help outline systems and controls to ensure that the tendering process runs smoothly ensuring that value for money is achieved.
How we work
We have a team of five consultants available including one of our partners and a senior manager dedicated to this sector, who would be able to come to your premises and assist right away. We offer a time based service and we would outline the work we do and estimate how long it will take to complete the tasks by the different members of staff. We then agree the price up front with you. Should you require any additional work we will be happy to quote for this.
Why we do it
The support, guidance and advice we give is designed to help meet the requirements of the EFA and the Academies Financial Handbook.
Timely financial controls and effective reporting highlight areas where efficiency savings can be made, and can help make funding go further.
What we have done
- Assisted in the finance function where a bursar has left.
- Successfully helped appoint internal auditors.
- Worked with external auditors to satisfy their needs.
- Prepared five years budgets and forecasts.
- Written financial regulations and procedures and helped implement them.
- Improved financial procedures.
- Reported to Boards of Governors on the progress of their plans.
- Suggested ways in which resources may be better utilised to improve facilities.
- Assisted with the preparation of financial Accounts prior to audit.