Academies have a unique set of requirements when it comes to financial management and reporting. This means fundamental differences are required in financial arrangements and processes from local authority maintained schools and any choice of accounting system needs to be able to handle these changes. The system should be able to:
Bishop Fleming has experience of the core accounting systems that are used across the academy sector. This means that we can provide help and support no matter which system is appropriate for you. Across our client base, FMS is the widest used, followed by Civica, PS Financials and Sage. Most maintained schools will have used FMS with their local authority and therefore take the decision to remain with the familiar system, thus removing one of the additional hurdles of conversion.
We can offer support with most aspects of accounting systems, but in particular:
Civica is specifically written for the education and not-for-profit sector. It is used by around 14% of our academy clients, predominately secondary academies but also the larger primary academies. Some of our private school clients also use this system. We have worked with a number of our clients during the configuration phase of this software. We have strong links with Civica and we recently attended and presented at their user forum.
PS Financials is predominately written for the education and not-for-profit sector however they also sell into commercial businesses. It is used by around 21% of our academy clients, predominately secondary and multi-academy trusts, although we do have some primary academies using it as well.
We have worked alongside PS Financials in the initial implementation meetings for several clients, including a bespoke set-up for a 7 site multi-academy trust.
The SIMS Financial Management System (FMS) is the accounting system used by most state maintained schools and has now been adapted to work with academies. It holds the greatest share amongst our clients with around 50% using it. The majority of our clients that use it are single site academies, both primary and secondary.
We have provided conversion support to most clients continuing to use FMS as an academy because the setup is different to that of a maintained school. This includes advice prior to the new academy database being set up and changes once the system is in use.
Capita have attended and presented at some of our client seminars and they consult us on occasions with software enhancements.
Sage 50 is not designed specifically for education and not-for-profit organisations but it has sufficient functionality for smaller academies. Around 10% of our academy clients use Sage and in most cases they are primary academies.
Bishop Fleming is a Sage 50 Business Partner and as such we have been involved with the entire process of installing, implementing and training. In addition we have produced bespoke management reports to cover the individual needs of our academies.
A few larger academies are also using Sage 200 and we have provided support to these with regards to nominal ledger set up.