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MIS Systems Thread, FMS for academies in Technical; We are a primary school becoming an academy later this autumn. We use SIMS as our MIS and FMS for ...
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    mwnci's Avatar
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    FMS for academies

    We are a primary school becoming an academy later this autumn. We use SIMS as our MIS and FMS for finance. As an academy, we are required to provide the following financials:

    A statement of financial activities
    A detailed income and expenditure account
    A balance sheet
    A cash flow statement

    Is it possible to do this in FMS, or are we going to have to get some extra software in?
    What are other academies doing?

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    vikpaw's Avatar
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    I'm sure schools and other institutions have to provide such figures as well, and though i don't use FMS directly, i'm pretty certain it has these functions.

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    mwnci's Avatar
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    As a LEA maintained school, we don't need to provide any of that data at the moment. If FMS does have this functionality, I don't know where it is. I get the feeling that we would be having to constantly export data into Excel and hand it over to our accountant, which would be messy and expensive.

    Other software such as Sage provides the extra functionality needed, and it isn't stuck in the last century like FMS. My suspicion is that people needing this kind of info are switching to more 'business oriented' software.

    Has anyone out there moved from FMS to Sage - what are your experiences?

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    You'd be better off asking this question on SupportNet because you are after specialist advice. What I am able to say is that we are currently working on providing academies with facilities to write VAT costs back to cost centres. I'm pretty sure that Sage can't do that and only a few charity based packages do.

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    elsiegee40's Avatar
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    I'd speak with FMS and/or SIMS. SIMS certainly does finance modules for private schools and I would be surprised if FMS doesn't.

    The new style academy is effectively a private school and the setup is remarkably similar to the private school I work in.

    The school where I'm governor is converting to academy status and I'm seeing the Bursar there tomorrow about something else. I'll have a chat about what they're doing and get back to you.

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    SpuffMonkey's Avatar
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    Take the opportunity to get a "proper" accounting system and get rid of that dated bit a cack - I was so glad when ours went this summer.

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    Our chief FMS user told me that that information is all possible but it's not built into the system by default. You have to design and set up your own reports, and it will then output the figures for you. Not sure if that's much help, but it should be covered in the manuals. Other than that, as Phil said, get on to SupportNet and / or log a case.

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    mwnci's Avatar
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    Thanks Vikpaw - that is the conclusion that I have come to having spoken to staff at existing academies who use FMS. It appears that the solution to using FMS as an academy is to create a load of reports and export a load of data to excel, and then spend a little while collating all of that data into a useful form. I gather that Capita are working on a solution for the Non recoverable VAT issue - which should be with us... in a year. Until then, we would have to use a crude work around.

    @Spuffmonkey - I think that you have a fair point. FMS doesn't inspire confidence. As part of the academy conversion process, we will have to part with several thousand pounds to re-licence FMS - money which could be spent on some more modern and productive software. The only downside to this is that FMS is (I assume) the only financial package that links to the Personnel module in SIMS. Other than that though, by moving to the likes of Sage or E1 Finance we would stand to have a much more robust and modern piece of software, with much better reporting facilities - for what would appear to be a lower price (certainly in the case of Sage).

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    Deleted by author ~ sorry decided that I shouldn't say that!
    Last edited by PhilNeal; 14th September 2010 at 05:44 PM.

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    GrumbleDook's Avatar
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    If you are going to an alternative package then I am pretty sure Sage Line 50 can write back the relevant info to the relevant cost centres ...

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    john's Avatar
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    I have heard good things about Sage in Schools, I know schools in Cumbria (don't know if its blanket or select or just odd ones) use Sage so if the state sector are using it then it certainly will be fine for you in an academy, and I know from assisting a friend with his IT in his business that Sage Support is really helpful and supportive which is what most Finance people want when its gone wrong

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    elsiegee40's Avatar
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    My school is using Sage Accounts and Payroll - we're independent, but it does everything financially that we need and their telephone support is second-to-none. Some really good people based in the North East (going by accents) who know their products and seem to be able to talk at any technical level between Network Manager and Accounts Clerk. (Sorry, if this sounds like a sales pitch, but many other companies could learn a huge amount from Sage support)

    Forgot to tmention this to the Bursar at my governor school-soon-to-be-academy when I saw him today, I know he said they'd need to change things as what they currently had in SIMS wasn't enough. I'll try to get hold of him tomorrow.

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    mjs_mjs's Avatar
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    Also sage 50's and payroll user interface is nice. And it's very easy to support, the amount of updates i've done to it without a hickup, very simple to back up and cheaper than FMS as you wont need an SQL lisence/server for it. I'm not a book keeper or bursar but i know how to use sage just by looking at it. When/if my buisness ever takes off i'll be reading the sage line 50/instant for dummies books and getting stuck in.

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    We are considering Academy status and my business manager told me that if we do go down that road we need to move to another system - probably Sage because FMS won't do everything that is needed - I don't know enough about the accounting process to be able to comment

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    SpuffMonkey's Avatar
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    We've just put in Resource - looks nice - I used to look after it in a previous job (years ago) and it was OK then - install is neat & easy (unlike FMS) - well worth a look

    Corero.com - Home

    and heres a nice accounts comparison site

    Financial products | Accreditation IT Product Scheme | ICAEW

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