This is the first blog in a series of 4 over the next quarter looking at the changing face of the schools sector. We will be discussing how the school sector utilises Xero as they increasingly adopt digital finance and administration platforms. We’ll also cover different perspectives from boards, principals, auditors and financial advisors to give you insight on how they leverage Xero to manage schools’ finances.
As we approach the end of the financial year for schools there is always an increase in the number of partners and schools contacting me. They enquire about the impacts of platform and product advancements in the school sector. They’re also interested in how school financial management is taking advantage of these new technologies.
Word is spreading of the considerable time and cost savings of using an integrated cloud platform, like Xero. There are over 800 schools utilising the Xero platform for school admin. This means that over a third of all schools in NZ use Xero! This is incredible and a testament to the impact of having real time financial information available to multiple stakeholders, anywhere, anytime. All at the push of a button.
So why are schools using Xero?
Schools are using Xero because it’s efficient, easy to use and is flexible.
Craig McWilliam the Executive Officer of Wellington East Girls College explains that Xero is a “Great management reporting tool with varied user access. It has saved us significant time in departmental and board reporting as well as enabling us to use business apps like Vend for cafe and school event sales. It’s a fantastic school solution. I couldn’t recommend it highly enough.”
Christine Routledge, Business Manager at Albany Senior High School agrees explaining “our system is always right up to date with minimal time involved. It is so easy to use the reporting and search functions and customise our reports for different stakeholders. I love that we are able to provide our users with accurate and timely information on a daily basis.”
Giving schools greater financial insight
Xero seamlessly connects your bank account with your school accounts so you can reconcile daily. This means you have up-to-date visibility of exactly what financial position your school is in every 24 hours. Xero also has a full suite of business reports that can be totally customised within minutes. You can then save these formats and send out reports to different stakeholders with the push of a button. These can vary from board summary reports, departmental reports, principal summary reports to detailed reports and audit reports for the financial administrator within the school. No matter what, Xero offers fantastic flexible reporting functionality.
Real Impact, Real Terms
I’m blown away by the impact that Xero has in real terms for schools. Saving them thousands of dollars not only in legacy software fees, updates and customer service calls but also in moving to cloud based systems, not requiring costly IT services and servers. Using our files feature and emailing invoices and statements in a move to be more digital and paperless, schools are also saving thousands of dollars a year in postage.
Flexible access providing significant benefits
The most significant impact Xero has is on schools day-to-day financial management. With Xero’s ability to connect a multitude of users for no extra cost and allowing different user access roles it is possible to create a network environment where all school staff and advisers are connected to the same, timely, financial information. This enables them to have robust financial discussions and make well informed decisions.
The core features that schools love and add the most value are:
- Daily bank feeds that ensure financial integrity and accuracy.
- Secure, online, integrated and no need for software backups and updates
- Affordable and also offers unlimited users for the same cost
- Customised reporting editor to design and save multiple report layouts for different stakeholders.
- Tracking categories for departmental costs and in depth reporting and activity breakdowns. Use tracking to filter and create reports for different stakeholders
- Award winning, free 24/7 online support
- Files feature – to store and attach any receipt & document online in Xero
- Phone app – to quickly process receipts and transactions on your phone or tablet.
- Bulk invoicing to contact groups, statements and automated invoice reminders
- Receipt printing for donations and ability to make batch bill payments
- Built in internal controls and financial transparency using the assurance dashboard
Head over to our website to Find out why more than a third of New Zealand schools and their advisors already trust and love using Xero. Also look out for next month’s blog with some practical tips on how schools are embracing efficiency using a cloud digital platform.