When it comes to MAT savings, we have found that often the first approach is for the board to centralise the business management functions, or back office as they are often referred to, such as finance, HR, administration and premises management.
We have assisted a few MATs in centralising these functions and indeed it does work to a degree, however, it does not necessarily result in significant financial savings, depending on the roles created as all the tasks still need to be completed.
Where a new MAT is being formed by a few schools or academies joining together locally, the staff managing the finance, HR and premises functions in each school will often be retained by streamlining these tasks into individual roles for the whole Trust, thereby avoiding expensive redundancy costs and the detrimental effect on staff morale.
When centralising the processing, careful consideration must be given to the chart of accounts to ensure there is clear delineation in budget monitoring between the constituent academies. With consolidated finances, VAT claims are easier to control from one central system, and you can see at a glance the whole MAT position; having one bank account for the MAT can help cashflow and guard against any one academy going overdrawn.
However, where the financial processing is not centralised and remains at the constituent academies, it is best to retain separate bank accounts for ease of reconciliation.
It is important to remember that there is no one size fits all for a MAT structure, you need to find the best scenario that works for your teams and your budgets.
We understand that joining a MAT or bringing in a new school can be a complicated process and it is important to be as prepared as possible. Whether you require individual school or whole MAT support, we are here to provide objective and reliable advice.