St George’s Church of England Academy has selected Real Asset Management’s (RAM) fixed asset accounting and tracking solution to record, monitor and track its 800+ asset base in line with the requirements of the Academies Financial Handbook. The new system will replace a range of disparate, outdated paper files to enable the academy to collate all of its data into a centralised asset register.
Based in Birmingham and with an annual turnover of £3.7 million and 38 staff, St George’s C of E Academy has 240 pupils and welcomes people of all faiths. It endeavours to develop the full human potential of each person connected with the school and strives to improve social cohesion in a widely diverse area of the city.
Driven by the governing body’s legal responsibility to stringently oversee and control the academy’s assets, St George’s C of E Academy made the decision to overhaul its existing manual based system where information was spread across several paper files and to implement a best of breed, integrated asset accounting and tracking solution. The lack of a comprehensive and centralised system for recording details of each asset and its corresponding depreciation schedule had started to prove too difficult to organise and manage.
We will now be able to use our existing Smartphone devices to scan and search for assets, add new assets and complete events remotely, allowing for an audit of the entire school to be completed within an hour.
Michele Fullwood, Bursar at St George’s C of E Academy comments, “At year-end, it would take an entire day to obtain the required asset data and reconcile the accounts because the information wasn’t all in one place. This had become not only costly in terms of man hours within such a small team, but more worryingly, the lack of visibility and accountability of the asset base and its value had become a key concern.
Michele continues, “It will be so beneficial to finally have all information related to our assets in one place and to have a clearer idea of what assets are in the school, their location and their value. Going forward, I anticipate the time savings at year-end to be huge with the use of our new software, taking more like ten minutes to produce the accounts as opposed to a full day. The change will also be crucial for audit and insurance purposes, enabling us to confidently meet the requirements of the Academies Financial Handbook, particularly in terms of financial reporting, as well as potentially lowering our insurance premiums through the provision of a more accurate asset valuation record.”
Ahead of implementing the software, St George’s C of E Academy commissioned RAM to undertake a full physical audit service including data collection and the barcoding and scanning of all assets for upload to the new system. The asset register will record both capitalised and non-capitalised assets and consist of all items from kitchen equipment and furniture to IT equipment such as laptops and Genee interactive whiteboards. The new system will enable a far greater level of detail to be documented on each asset including purchase date, invoice number, cost, department, custodian and warranty expiry dates.
The academy will also be utilising RAM’s mobile asset tracking app alongside the centralised database to carry out more frequent physical audits. What was once a labour intensive and sporadic exercise will now take place at least once a term, ensuring complete transparency at all times. Michele comments, “I used to dread the task as we didn’t have an up to date record of asset ownership and location and could take me anything up to two days searching in various classrooms and cupboards to locate the items. We will now be able to use our existing Smartphone devices to scan and search for assets, add new assets and complete events remotely, allowing for an audit of the entire school to be completed within an hour.”
Scheduled to go live at the end of February, St George’s C of E Academy is excited to get up and running with the new system. Michele concludes, “The RAM software is very user friendly and provides both depreciation and financial reporting functionality as well as physical auditing capability within the one solution which was a key selling point for us. The level of consultancy and customer service received so far has been very impressive and we look forward to working further with RAM over the coming weeks.”