What Multi-Academy Trusts really think about their accounting software

If your Multi-Academy Trust’s finance software was a school, the chances are it would not be happy about its Ofsted report.  

iplicit conducted a survey among senior figures from MATs to find out how they would rate their systems. 

We found that not a single trust would give its accounting software the coveted Ofsted grade of “Outstanding”. Most thought their systems really needed to improve. 

Our research also revealed finance teams are crying out for better integrations between software. Most respondents did not feel confident that they could quickly bring together data from multiple sources, while many said that would take days. 

MATPN North 24 Craig

About our survey 

iplicit conducted its research among an audience of around 250 people at MATPN (Multi-Academy Trust Partnership Network) in Manchester. Respondents reacted to the questions in real time via a link they had accessed with a QR code. 

The first revelation was that most respondents were still not fully using cloud systems for core functions such as finance, MIS and HR. 

We found 48% were using products that were only partially in the cloud, while 6% were still using software whose servers were on the premises. 

Although 39% described their software as pure cloud, only 6% said it was pure cloud with seamless integrations with other systems.  

Giving an Ofsted grade to the finance system 

We wondered how software systems would fare if they were given the same kind of ratings that Ofsted applies to schools. 

Our respondents were asked to judge their systems on everyday usability, reporting capabilities, price and the ongoing support and helpfulness of staff.  

The shock was that not a single respondent would rate their system “Outstanding”.  

While 46% said their finance software was "Good", a majority were not happy.  

We found 45% of respondents felt their software “Requires improvement”, 6% said it was “Inadequate” and 3% would put their system into “Special measures”.  

Lack of integration is slowing down data 

Integration between the finance system and other software is a key concern for MAT leaders.  

When we asked the audience for three words that would describe their ideal software partner, “integration” and “integrated” loomed large in the resultant word cloud.  

The answers to a follow-up question showed why.  

We asked people to rate their confidence that they could easily access data from multiple sources – finance, MIS and HR – across all their schools.  

True cloud technology should make that the work of moments, but that wasn’t the experience of our audience. 

The most popular response – from 45% of respondents – was “Give me an hour”. 

However, an astonishing 30% chose “I can find it, but give me a few days” – while a despondent 1% chose “What’s data?” 

Those who were confident they could get the data quickly were in a minority: 17% chose “Boil the kettle and consider it done” and only 5.5% could boast “I build Power BI dashboards in my sleep”. 

Can your software support your MAT’s growth? 

We went on to ask how confident people were that their current software could support their MAT’s anticipated growth over the coming three to five years. 

Under 4% were bold enough to say “We’re completely digital and future-proof”, while nearly 26% were making progress, selecting “We’ve almost modernised everything”. 

A third of respondents chose “We’re OK right now, but…”. That was the same percentage as could only go so far as to say “We’ve moved away from some legacy systems” – while 4% admitted that the issue “Keeps me awake at night”. 

Expansion should be easy 

iplicit was at MATPN to showcase the finance system that earned the company the title MAT-Tech Company of the Year at the National MAT Awards, just a year after launching into the education market.  

iplicit was launched to liberate MATs from clunky on-premise systems and give them an affordable route to true cloud accounting software.  

It was tailored for education, integrating easily with other systems and drastically reducing the burden of manual data entry and complicated reporting processes. The system grows with the MAT, allowing more academies to be added quickly and inexpensively.  

Find out more 

Find out how iplicit is helping Multi-Academy Trusts.  


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