Independent schools face numerous challenges; rising levels of bad debts and falling pupil numbers, competition from other educational options, high expectations from parents, pressure to demonstrate public benefit and ever rising pension liabilities.
Mazars has always demonstrated their commitment to this sector and has the experience to understand the issues and work with governors, bursars and finance teams to meet these challenges.
Working with the sector
How can we help
The Independent School sector is very important to Mazars and we are committed to helping in its continuous development and success. Our Education Sector Focus Group is evidence of our commitment to the sector. The Group meets on a regular basis and has representatives in all departments. It develops our strategy for serving the sector as well as meeting to share information, concerns, the regulators’ latest thinking and anything else that will help our specialists to provide the best service possible. If you wish, we can provide training to the School’s finance team and to members of its Finance or Audit Committee to assist them in keeping up to date with sector developments. We provide periodic briefings on a variety of relevant areas.
We are able to provide all the services that you would expect of a major international partnership, including:
External Audit – We believe effective project management, timely communication, regular access to senior team members and continuity of staff are key to delivering an effective audit and achieving a high level of client satisfaction. We work hard to develop long-term relationships with our clients. This involves regular face-to-face meetings, listening carefully, acting as a sounding board, being proactive and offering robust opinions and advice.
Outsourcing – We appreciate that you may not always have the high level knowledge or experience to deal with all elements of the finance function, particularly where the bursar may have a very wide job description, or where there are temporary staff shortages due to illness or maternity leave. We can offer a variety of outsourcing services including: assistance with the implementation of systems and controls; review of chart of accounts; providing the finance director role on a short or long term basis; ad-hoc advice and support on all finance issues; assistance with or preparation of management accounts and cash flow forecasts; and assistance with setting up Finance Policies.
Governance and Board Effectiveness – Getting the right governing arrangements in place and ensuring they are working effectively has never been more important. Governors have to set the right tone from the top in promoting significant change whilst remaining true to the mission of the school and playing to its distinctive strengths. We can help with reviews of the overall governance of your school; reviews of governing body effectiveness and by organising training and development workshops for governors. We can also help the governing body design an effective system of risk management.
Accounts preparation – We have experience in preparing statutory accounts for schools. We appreciate that this is quite an onerous task and we can assist you as little or as much as you require.
VAT advice – VAT is a particularly complex area, especially where capital projects are concerned. We have a specialist VAT team who have vast experience with VAT on capital developments. They can ensure that opportunities are maximised and pitfalls avoided.
Tax – Our specialist tax team have worked with many independent schools and are able to provide advice on a variety of aspects including: tax planning by implementing subsidiaries; and general tax advice.
Payroll – We currently provide payroll services to a significant number of schools and academies. We therefore have the knowledge and experience to provide these services for you if you require.
Employment Tax Services – We can assist with employment tax issues such as employer compliance reviews by HMRC and the negotiation of any settlement, helping with the tax issues surrounding payments related to the termination of employment and all aspects of expense claims.
Defined Benefit Pension Schemes – Mazars provides comprehensive actuarial advice through its in-house team. We appreciate that this is a challenging area and our teams are happy to provide support and training where necessary to assist the governors in their understanding of the implications of the scheme.
Teachers’ Pension – We have the knowledge and experience to carry out the annual audit of the teachers’ pension contributions.
We would welcome an opportunity to demonstrate that we do not merely make promises, but deliver them. Please feel free to contact us for further information.