There are many priorities for school business managers at this time of year. February is the time when maintained schools are:
- Submitting school census data by 15 February
- Performing benchmarking exercises and presenting findings to governors
- Implementing purchase cut-off procedures
- Preparing the SFVS return for the March submission deadline, including a review of last year’s submittal, discussions with governors and the collation of any relevant information/evidence
- Completing quotes for 2017/18 contract renewals ready for submission at the next governing body meeting (see our contract renewal guidance blog for some key hints and tips).
2016/17 Financial Year Closedown
The new financial year starts with a preliminary closedown of maintained schools’ accounts and reporting to the local authority on the financial position of each school for 2016/17. For schools who buy One Education school finance support, visits will be scheduled to identify any capitalisation required, amend any system errors i.e. VAT, account for any accruals/prepayments and generally perform any final housekeeping to ensure a smooth final closedown.
In preparation for the above, school business managers will need to timetable the following tasks over the coming weeks:
- Fix a deadline for all orders to be placed by
- Review all outstanding purchase orders and cancel any that are no longer relevant
- Chase and process any outstanding invoices
- Do a final cheque run on 31 March – DO NOT do any after this date!
- Enter all income up to and including 31 March
- Post any petty cash transactions up to and including 31 March
- Reconcile payroll report and process payroll journal
- Reconcile bank statements up to 31 March
- Check list of outstanding invoices from MCC and request copies of any not received
- Keep a copy of all invoices for services that cross two financial years
- Make a list of services that will need to be accrued for.
There is a timely deadline for the preliminary closedown to be produced; varying school holidays as well as delayed post will make this challenging. Following the local authority deadline of 21 April 2017, we await any feedback from the local authority and prepare an analysis of reserves where necessary before a final closedown of the systems can be performed. It is also a time where schools are anticipating their final carry forward to allow them to start the budget planning process.