‘Heads Up’ on early results from FSS

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Positive Feedback
The Financial Survey for Schools (FSS) has been operating for almost 30 years, growing to over 600 participants in 2023 from Australia and New Zealand. It represents 70%+ of enrolments in Australian Independent schools. With average satisfaction of 4.2 stars (out of 5) and 10 out of 10 recommending it to others, we are confident the FSS is valued by the sector.

Figure 1: Results of satisfaction survey conducted April 2024.

We discussed feedback at a survey committee meeting represented by Association of School Business Administrators (ASBA), Catholic Education Business Administrators (CEBA), Association of Independent Schools (AIS), and Netstrategy (IT and cybersecurity specialists). Outcomes include first time Early Learning Centre (ELC) benchmarks, improved IT survey benchmarks among other continual improvements.

Participate now
With your AGM and Commonwealth Financial Questionnaire (FQ) done, it’s the perfect time to complete the survey. Joining the Financial Survey for Schools (FSS) not only empowers you with data-driven decisions but also contributes to sector innovation and improvement. Every participant adds to the comprehensive dataset, benefiting all schools. So, why wait? Let’s create a benchmarking resource that sets the standard for non-government school financial sustainability and drives industry progress.

Participation currently starts from A$913 including GST (half price if less than 250 enrolments). This includes an early bird discount if you complete data entry by 30 September 2024. [Note: 2024 (2023 school-year) data entry remains open as we transition to 2023 school-year reports available from 1st August 2024. We will turn off 2022 school-year reports on 15 July 2024.]

2024 FSS (2023 school-year) sneak peek
We appreciate growing financial pressure from large wage increases, payroll tax for some schools, over budget capital expenditure, changes in government funding and financial pressure on families during this period of high inflation. Survey participants can use the FSS to identify efficiencies and subscribe for our SKI Scenario Builder™ tool to model changes to key budget inputs and instantly re-forecast financials, key ratios, and risk assessment — a must have tool for schools.

Early 2023 school-year results indicate a 4% increase in expenses, reduced operating surpluses mitigated by reduced debt. Our new ELC survey indicates a strong contribution to operating surplus especially if ELC wages are kept close to the average of 66% of income. The improved IT survey indicates an average recurrent IT expenditure of A$850 per student; 67% of schools have adopted a cybersecurity framework but only 35% of boards have a governor with IT experience.

Participate in the FSS to compare your performance with similar schools in these and many more crucial ratios to help inform decisions — your statutory and fiduciary responsibility.

🎥 NEW | To ensure every school has access to important videos, we are pleased to announce our Financial Governance Training Videos as well as our ‘How to…’ Instructional Videos are now available on-demand for those who wish to undertake further training. To access the videos here is the link: Training Videos.


Q | Any questions?

For more information about the FSS or our budgeting and reporting tools, please do not hesitate to contact Cathy or Jessica at survey@somerseteducation.net or call 1300 781 968 (from outside Australia +61 7 3263 5300).

If I can help in any way with the financial governance of your school, please contact me at john@somerseteducation.net or mobile 0417 618 899.

We look forward to your ongoing support, or if new to the survey, we warmly welcome you joining in.