Education - Apple Image credit pixabay. Jarmolukiplicit has published research today that reveals accounting software in use by Multi-academy trusts falls short of what is required. 18% of respondents in a survey graded the performance of their software as either ‘inadequate’ or ‘requires improvement’ The figure is only 4% less when the same question which was asked of them a year ago.

Of the 1,460 multi-academy trusts that exist in the UK, the survey asked 100 Chief Financial Officers a single question. The good news is that things are improving; the number of MATs that rated their software ‘outstanding’ rose from 30% to 34% over the year. However, the increase is small. The sample is half the size that iplicit polled a year ago.

Lyndon Stickley, Co-Founder and CEO of iplicit
Lyndon Stickley, Co-Founder and CEO of iplicit

Lyndon Stickley, CEO iplicit, commented, “I’m not surprised that these results show education accounting software providers ‘must try harder’. We have witnessed a real appetite among education leaders to break free from the shackles of legacy, on-premises software and migrate to a scalable true cloud finance software that is up to the job. Since launching into the education sector in 2023, we’ve already onboarded 500 schools onto our platform, and we fully expect to cross the 1,000 schools threshold in 2025.”

Responsible and yet things are getting worse

The CIPFA recently issued guidance around the role of the CFO in MATs. The document noted a strategic element of the CFOs job description, is: “Managing the finance team and overseeing the development and maintenance of financial systems and procedures, including appropriate IT systems.”

However, in a recent survey by the National School Trust, the report stated, “Less than half told us they now feel very or quite confident about their trust’s financial sustainability, down from 77% in last year’s survey.”

The impact of this is that financial sustainability is now the second-highest strategic priority for the next academic year, according to the report.

Managing finance is critical at this time. And to ensure sustainability, CEOs must be able to trust the data held by their systems. There are other reasons, as the CIPFA notes, “Ensuring that financial and non-financial data underpinning information supplied to outside bodies such as the funding body, is accurate and clear and that the systems generating such data are robust.”

iplicit offers a solution

CFOs must be able to trust their financial data. iplicit offers modern, cloud-based, innovative, intuitive and powerful accounting software. The software vendor is on a mission to transform the finance departments in MATs with its solution. iplicit believes that its software is on track to have over 100 multi-academy trusts by autumn 2024, only 18 months after launching the software at BETT 2023. It believes that MATSs can save thousands of pounds by moving to modern software.

Julie Cragg, Trust Finance Manager at Rochdale-based Hollingworth Learning Trust, which has moved to iplicit from Sage, said, “iplicit will allow us to grow as a MAT as it offers much more from the system. 

“The setup process and training received gives us the confidence that all finance staff and other staff will have the ability to quickly adapt to the new system and see these time savings and reports from implementation.”

Stickley continued, “Instead of restricting interconnectivity with other systems, issues around remote access and punitive pricing to add every new school to a trust, we’ve turned things on their head and instead provide an education-focused, true cloud option with a simple and cost-effective way to add schools to Multi-Academy Trusts as they grow.”

Enterprise Times, what does this mean

While this is not a large survey, the sample is significant and, coupled with the other deeper research and guidance from the CIPFA, indicates that MAT CFOs should take note. As pressure mounts on MAT finance leaders across the country, iplicit is right to point out that they must have faith in their accounting systems. iplicit believes that its modern accounting system can provide the answer for those CFOs struggling to trust the numbers from their system, or requiring an increase in efficiency as the MAT scales.


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