Whitburn Church of England Academy was the first outstanding voluntary aided school to convert to academy status in January 2011.
Whitburn was looking for a financial management system which would meet their future reporting and auditing requirements and decided the most efficient option was to continue with SIMS and to retain SIMS FMS for their financial arrangements. Christine Asoni, the academy’s Business Manager, says, “We were confident SIMS and SIMS FMS would easily adapt to our evolving needs as a new academy.”
The academy has particularly appreciated the flexibility of SIMS FMS to cope with the changing landscape of statutory financial requirements, as well as the mid-year financial change. Christine explains, “Because we converted to academy status in January, we found ourselves with an 8 period year for the purposes of financial management, something that could have potentially caused problems with our financial reporting. However, within SIMS FMS, we were able to set this up. SIMS FMS copes with everything.”
Christine also finds the user-defined reports within FMS particularly useful, especially when it comes to the new academy reporting cycle and reporting to academy governors.
SIMS FMS software has been accredited by the Institute of Chartered Accounts in England and Wales – a world leader in the accountancy and finance profession. Christine says that this external accreditation is crucial for academies, “The fact that FMS is accredited is very important for our governors – with the number of financial legal obligations for academies, it’s vital to know that we have the right system in place to help us meet these obligations.”
Retaining FMS as an academy means new academies can be up and running in a matter of hours. Christine adds, “I always say to academy converter schools, if you’re a SIMS school, stick with it - if you know how to use other modules of SIMS, you won’t find it difficult to use FMS.”