Working from home comes with its challenges. Your morning commute can help you wake up and feel ready to work by the time you’re in school. At home, however, the transition from your pillow to your computer can be much more jarring.
But for many people, it’s not the logistics that are the tough part. It’s the day-to-day working life, adjusting to spending a large part of your day alone in your house instead of around your fellow team members.
As we reach half-term, reflecting on the way we’ve worked with schools since the closures, and looking ahead to upcoming transitions we’ve provided information on 3 key areas of school finance team continuity. We’ve included what we’ve learnt, some tips and examples of SBS remote school finance support now and into the future.
Maintaining teamwork and support via remote meetings
Connecting with colleagues remotely has been very important to keep finance practices going, both at SBS and for school teams. We have found that since school closures, more meetings have taken place due to secure remote connections, not just internally at SBS but within our schools. Screen sharing has enabled presentations on finance reporting. We believe that in future these habits and practices could enhance regular communications between SBS and our customers and also between the schools themselves, such as national MATs to reduce travel costs and ensure that important discussions take place when needed.
SBS tip: For remote meetings, Microsoft Teams has facilitated the transition to home working for SBS. We have been using Teams to communicate with our schools, and would highly recommend this solution if you haven’t already implemented. It’s Free for Education! You can also add your Teams contact to your email signature! SBS staff did this by following this instructions in this article.
SBS support: We’ve held remote meetings to continue to support our schools’ existing SLAs or replace existing onsite consultancy visits. Using a combination of approaches, the SBS team can support schools remotely in key tasks including processing, month end reporting, budget monitoring and analysis.
It’s always been important to recognise the evolving requirements of education and the benefit of continuous professional development for school staff. Now, we have been using remote connections to seamlessly provide finance systems training to schools. Yes, it is not the same as in person, however we have modified our training methods to be able to make the training as fluid and personal as possible. For example, being able to share screens with our schools allows us to adopt a show-me-don’t-tell-me approach, which is more engaging and continues our working relationship. Perhaps this screen sharing approach could help school staff to train each other on their accounting packages?
SBS tip: Identify any knowledge gaps in a finance team and reflect on software requirements. How can you work more efficiently? How do you onboard new starters quickly? What skills are must-haves for you and your team?
SBS support: All SBS Finance staff are proficient in the latest school finance packages and this knowledge can be passed on to you. Whether it be for a new starter or simply a refresher, each session is tailor made to meet your specific needs. Also, see our free on-demand webinars (below).
Further peace of mind for continuity. Did you know about the SBS Managed Service?
Now more than ever, schools require help with their day to day finances. During this difficult period school staff are having to deal with COVID-19 related matters on top of an already heavy workload. The Finance & Business Managed Service has enabled school and MAT staff to develop and concentrate on other areas whilst providing you with the peace of mind that day to day operations continue in an orderly fashion.
managed service packages that are flexible, efficient and cost-effective
a large experienced team consisting of Management Accountants, Business Managers and Finance Assistants
up-to-date expertise in the latest software packages, including FMS, PS Financials, RM Education and Sage
Using innovative software and service desk tools that provide full management visibility, clients enjoy peace of mind that day-to-day finance services are running at optimum levels to meet or exceed agreed SLAs, leaving your school staff free to focus on teaching and learning. Regular meetings can take place via a secured connection to keep our customers, involved in all decisions to ensure continuous improvement in our working relationship.
See how we deliver Offsite services
SBS tip: To enable efficient remote working, ensure your staff have access to cloud hosted software. SBS support: To find out more about how the remote managed service could work for you please visit our dedicated page.
We aim to make the transition as fluid as possible during this strange time by providing you with remote support. We understand that every school is different, and our finance services can range from fully comprehensive school business management, to occasional consultancy just when you need it.