The amount of data collected by organisations across the globe is increasing every day - and schools and multi-academy trusts are no different.
From personal records to financial management, the amount of data collected on a daily basis can be staggering. While this presents schools and trusts with plenty of analytic opportunities, it also introduces a number of challenges.
And, when it comes to managing financial data, getting it right can be the difference between generating that all important funding or not.
Managing school payments is no mean feat. Even for individually managed schools, the ability to effectively administer payments and finances can be a complex, time-consuming task. For multi-academy trusts, or organisations with multiple sites, this can add another layer of difficulty.
All of these challenges can easily be compounded by the use of manual processing, such as spreadsheets - which, incidentally, is a commonly used tool across education.
The question is, how do you overcome these issues and slay the data dragon?
Data entry is the bane of every school; it needs to be done but it's a slow, painstaking process with lots of room for error.
Traditionally, schools have relied heavily on spreadsheets to manage their finances, and there are likely many reasons for this. Firstly, and most importantly, the most popular spreadsheet program, Microsoft Excel, remains a core application within Microsoft Office 365 - a standard feature within a school setting.
Secondly, there’s an abundance of training courses available for Excel, making it one of the most accessible and easy-to-use software applications around.
Yet, while new features have been added to Excel over the years to increase its capabilities and complexity, relying heavily upon the program often leads to a number of challenges.
At its most basic, the spreadsheet is a simply structured database that requires a large amount of manual entry, management and analysis. To complete any of these tasks can take a significant amount of time - and the more data you have, the more time consuming.
Not only that, but spreadsheets remain particularly prone to risk and inaccuracies caused by human error. A recent article by the Financial Reporter suggested that more than 90% of spreadsheets contain ‘serious’ errors - and with the vast majority of those responsible for said sheets unaware of any issues. In turn, errors can lead to serious issues such as GDPR failure data breaches, balance mis-matches, and failed audits.
Fortunately, today’s digital software now offers an easy way to drastically improve processes. By eliminating the need for manual entry, digital solutions can mean reduced admin times, enhanced data security, and a very low risk of human error.
However, before you select any new solution, it’s a good idea to have a clear understanding of what good data management looks like. In turn, this will help you to identify what your new tool needs to be able to do and - most importantly - where it can help improve your current processes.
For any school, the ability to plan financial performance, limit loss and waste, and carry out effective audits is paramount. For organisations managing multiple schools or sites, you also need to consider how you can coordinate processes effectively, and the ease with each monthly report can be created.
This is where digital comes in.
While the widespread use of spreadsheets is both time-consuming and prone to error, digital solutions enable data to be automatically collected and compiled in a structured manner, meaning your data is only one-click away.
Moreover, for organisations managing multiple schools or sites, digital platforms automatically reconcile data from every location, providing essential oversight right across your business.
And that’s just the start. Platforms that enable automation can also simplify crucial financial processes, such as carrying out an audit, creating custom financial reports, and synchronising information across multiple data sources.
That’s where Tali comes in.
With Tali, it’s never been easier to manage and monitor income, eliminate human error and carry out essential financial reporting tasks, including:
And, because Tali is a cloud-based solution, there’s no need to worry about version control and data duplication. Everything you need is available at the click of button, allowing you to work flexibility and collaboratively, within a highly secure environment.
Pebble’s innovative financial management software for schools provides trusts with easier financial reporting, while giving them advanced capabilities for more efficient, centralised financial management. At the same time, it offers major financial management benefits to individual academies.
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