Langley Park Learning Trust supports growth with Education FinancialsLIVE

A multi-academy trust manages its financial strategy and sustainability more efficiently with Civica’s Education FinancialsLIVE

A fresh approach to financial management

Langley Park Learning Trust in the London Borough of Bromley is a multi-academy trust (MAT) that’s growing fast. Having started out as a collaboration between two schools, it now has five schools, around 5,000 pupils and approximately 500 staff.

“Bringing in the fifth school meant the trust jumped in size by about a third,” says Micon Metcalfe, Langley Park’s chief operating officer. “We’re now a medium-sized employer with responsibility for £24m of government funding.”

To help the trust meet the challenges of rapid growth and continue to meet its strategy to provide students with the best education, Metcalfe knew it was time to implement a more powerful financial management system (FMS).

Using Education FinancialsLIVE helps Langley Park Learning Trust gain greater insight into its financial position, make better budgetary decisions, and identify savings that can be redirected towards student outcomes.

Insight for informed decision-making

Metcalfe worked with the finance managers from two of the schools, choosing Civica’s Education FinancialsLIVE. “It was a unanimous decision,” she says. “It was ahead of the competition in so many ways.”

As the chief operating officer, Metcalfe is responsible for the financial health of the MAT.

“FinancialsLIVE makes it easier by giving me the best of both worlds: useful reports that quickly give me the insight I need, plus the flexibility to export the data to Excel for further analysis. Other systems are generally too locked down to allow that,” she says.

FinancialsLIVE makes it easier by giving me the best of both worlds: useful reports that quickly give me the insight I need, plus the flexibility to export the data to Excel for further analysis.
– Micon Metcalfe, Langley Park Learning Trust

Simplified production of management accounts

When Metcalfe originally joined Langley Park Learning Trust, understanding the overall financial position wasn’t straightforward. With a separate bank account and database for each school, she had to rely on the schools to produce and reconcile their trial balances.

Since implementing Education FinancialsLIVE — with a single database for the whole MAT — and switching to a single bank account, Metcalfe has cut the time to produce management accounts from two weeks to one day.

“That’s a huge saving that lets me make much better use of my time. And with the trial balances already consolidated, we spend less time and money on having our accounts prepared and audited,” she says. “Efficiencies like this soon add up, accelerating the return on investment.”

Increased visibility with a single set of accounts, accessible from the cloud

Now, every school in the MAT uses the same chart of accounts. “Having a single chart of accounts and a single supplier list lets the MAT operate as a single entity,” says Metcalfe. “It also makes it easier to bring new schools on board in the future.”

The system can be accessed remotely from the cloud, with information available at any time, on any web-enabled device. “This gives me the information I need to help individual schools make savings,” says Metcalfe. “For example, it was easy to see that some schools were paying much more than others for broadband. So we simply changed the supplier to bring down the costs.”

A scalable, flexible FMS that’s fit for the future

With Civica’s Education FinancialsLIVE in place, Metcalfe feels confident about managing the MAT’s financial strategy and sustainability into the future. “We’re already seeing a lot of benefits, including more time to look at what’s happening in the schools,” she says, adding:

“What’s really exciting, is knowing that we’ve only scratched the surface: there’s much more we can do with FinancialsLIVE to help us spend money more wisely and support the MAT in delivering excellence in education.”

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