Established in 1987, St Edward’s, Cheltenham is an independent day school based in Cheltenham catering for students aged 1-18 years.

St Edward’s ethos is to believe in helping each pupil to realise their unlimited potential and to strive for the best for their students. They welcome over 300 students each year.

Established in 1987
Over 300 students
British Curriculum
Started using iFinance in 2020

Why were you looking for a new school finance system?

It was pretty clear to me when I came to the school that the systems that they were using were very dated. It was very difficult to extract information out of the system. We certainly wanted to have a look at how the systems were structured and, at the time, the academic staff were also looking at iSAMS so we had to find a finance solution that would work with iSAMS, too. 

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Watch the Q&A with St Edward’s, Cheltenham

We caught up with Michael Coles, Bursar at St Edward’s, Cheltenham, about their school’s experience with iFinance.

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It was quite a seamless transition for us. We didn’t have many, if any, calls to the support desk because the system is cloud-based so it was very easy to access. A very easy transition.” 

Michael Coles, Bursar at St Edward’s, Cheltenham

What feature within iFinance have you found the most useful?

Cloud-based is the main one and the two systems syncing is brilliant so there’s no exporting and importing data between the two systems. They almost work as one system which has been ideal.  

The other thing I would say is that we’re trying to move to a paperless system, and that is something that the pandemic forced us to do. All of our invoices now are scanned, approved remotely via email, and then attached to the accounts. 

How was transition to iFinance for your colleagues?

When we first talked about moving, there was probably a 50/50 split in the bursary team about whether it was positive or not. 

Fundamentally, people need to be equipped with the skills and knowledge to do the job. It was quite an unsettling time for some of them, changing the system, so investment in training is absolutely key. Now, you wouldn’t know. The team use it every day and they’re very happy to use it. 

How is iFinance helping you to prepare for the future?

People in my position have been doing a lot of work over the last 12 months, looking very carefully at the finances and what we’ve been able to do in terms of fee discounts too – as that’s been a big thing in the sector. 

There is a management report pack that has been excellent. We use that every month because that includes things like KPIs, monthly profit and loss, balance sheet, cash flow, debtors, and creditors – so that’s been really helpful.  

A lot of the data from that, we plug into our financial forecasting, so it helps you build cash flow forecasts for the future. That has helped us with things like debtors and fee discounts. 

We were introduced to Finance and had some demos of the system, and it’s fair to say that we were pretty impressed with how it looked. Being able to drill down into the various areas of data and it being cloud-based meant that it was ticking all the boxes for us.

Michael Coles, Bursar at St Edward’s, Cheltenham,