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Financial freedoms, gained by converting to academy status, only increase the pressure to spend school finances wisely, a survey by Capita SIMS has revealed.
Nearly 85% of respondents believed that the burden is increased, once separation from the local authority occurred, supporting concerns raised by the Public Accounts Committee over spending accountability in the sector.
More than two-thirds of academies questioned, also considered that greater levels of financial management were required for bursars and business managers at the schools.
50% say that in the next 1-2 years, it is most likely that their finance office’s existing staff will be up-skilled to deal with the new responsibilities, or they will buy-in the services of a qualified accountancy service from an external agency when required.
Paul Metcalfe, academy sector manager, at Capita SIMS, said: ‘The legal requirements of becoming an academy make the financial accounting for an academy much more complex than that of a maintained school and it seems that this is translating into the school business manager, in particular, feeling greater responsibility for the school’s financial performance.’
He added: ‘It is clear that academies are having to adapt and need reliable policies and processes in place to manage their finances.’
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