Rory Coleman-Smith May 30, 2022 9:34:00 AM 7 min read

How to Gain Control of School Spending

Do you (or does someone in your school setting) know exactly how much is being spent, by whom, & on what? If you’re involved in procurement & purchasing at your school, then feeling in control of the school’s spending is probably one of your top priorities & biggest challenges.

The benefits of taking control of school spending

Everything is ticking along at school, right? Those who need to make purchases for resources, materials, products, or services are making them when they need them. Departments have pretty much got everything they need & can access their budget if they need to. Bills are covered – many of which simply renew, which is nice & easy (but do you get the best deals?). Invoices can be brought up & viewed (with some time & effort). Reports can be put together when they’re required (though this takes a lot of time) & any available budget can be accessed (albeit in different ‘pots’ in various places).

But wouldn’t it be great to gain full control over the spending?

Rather than ticking along, time & money could be saved. The admin team could utilize their time in a more cost-effective way. Teachers could be freed up to focus more on teaching than admin tasks. The school could visibly grow its savings & make plans for larger spends on important projects in the near future – spending that would directly benefit pupils. A system like this means taking control of spending has a direct positive impact on the most important stakeholders in your setting – the learners. 

The challenges you face when it comes to controlling spending

Several factors make it incredibly difficult to control spending in a school. Do any of these sound familiar?

  • Multiple people making purchases
  • Multiple payment methods being used
  • Small purchases taking place as & when they are needed
  • Purchases being made from multiple suppliers
  • Over-ordering or doubling up on orders

The finance team in a school where the above is happening will be spending precious time trying to keep track of spending. In fact, a recent survey found that the average school spends over £60 in labor for every order processed!

Analyzing spend trends, planning for future budgets & identifying where savings can be made are near impossible. The data is too difficult to obtain & there isn’t sufficient time to collate & analyze it.

Gaining control of school spending requires the ability to see the overall picture - but what’s the best way to do this?

Take control of school spending

Schools in the know are already using purchase-to-pay (P2P) software & seeing the positive impact on their finances. P2P gives the finance team the necessary control, ultimately saving time &, subsequently, money.

P2P software provides control in a few ways: 

  • Members of staff making purchases are only able to buy from preferred suppliers by punching out from the solution
  • Maverick spending is eliminated, as no one can acquire a PO number (& subsequently an order) without meeting certain criteria or gaining approval from finance
  • You get real-time status of every transaction (including payment status) & budget availability to everyone who needs to know
  • Real-time view of commitments & accruals enables faster month-end closes, speeding up the delivery of monthly management reports

Automation of many aspects of the purchasing journey is key to gaining control!

&, of course, gaining control leads to saving money. Compared to manual processes, automatic processes can save up to 90% of the administration time & reduce the cost of doing so. As a result, the finance team has more time available to spend on reducing the costs of what the school buys & maximizing the school’s budget.

Taking control of school spending is easy

So, you’re thinking that the benefits of gaining control of school spending sound huge. You’re right. But you’re thinking that it will be complicated to set up a system that will provide this level of control? That’s where you’d be wrong.

Take the Compleat user buying experience. It’s incredibly simple. Users log into Compleat in the normal way, select who they want to buy from & immediately find themselves on the relevant supplier website. They add what they need to their basket & the final step is to click the button to buy. Compleat then pulls all the basket items directly into a requisition (request to buy) & the user simply confirms the request which submits the requisition into the approval workflow. Easy-peasy!

By using advanced digital procurement applications & technologies, it becomes amazingly easy to instantly identify how much your school could save. Now that sounds like a great reason to take control of your school’s spending, doesn’t it?

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Rory Coleman-Smith

Rory uses technology to automate process around his home, from lights, the chicken coop door, and even alerts for when the oil tank is low (he lives in the sticks!). This automation allows him to spend time on what really matters, which for Rory, is his wife, dog, & chickens.
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