As the 2019 Financial Questionnaire is completed, schools move towards the budget for 2021.
None of us need to hear further comment on what a year 2020 has been, but based upon the changes schools have experienced, of which some will stay into 2021 and beyond, it is critical that next year’s budget be built from the ground up.
Assumptions that have been made over the years may no longer suit the rules of operation into the new year. The school year 2021 will bring a different way of working, some of these changes may remain uncertain or unknown, but we can be confident that there will be new ways!
Building budget models can be complex and time consuming with the potential of errors. Especially when using spreadsheets with copious formulae and multiple worksheets. Changing one number in the model can invariably require changes to other numbers for the model to balance. Data link breaks are not uncommon and transferring figures between columns as periods progress can be problematic.
There is an alternative option. John Somerset of Somerset Education is well known and respected throughout the non-government school sector for his annual Financial Benchmarking Survey. The survey has now been in use for 25 years and provides schools data to measure schools financial data in comparison with like schools. This information can be vital in supporting changes in a school’s operations.
Somerset Education has another tool in its tool kit. A fully integrated school budget model. The software model is updated by Somerset Education as sector changes are required and the new versions are available to schools. This gives a school a consistent model for all future years creating an opportunity to focus on the gathering and analysis of the budget data, rather than worrying about building a model from scratch and maintaining its integrity.
Having a stable and reconcilable budget model will remove risk and generate productivity.