The annual asset audit – a task that many schools and academies dread doing. Often, it means looking at a messy spreadsheet, trying to figure out what’s correct, what’s not and what needs updating. This needn’t be the case, though.

Asset management software can make audit reports ever so simple. Let’s take a look at why audit reports are necessary, how to prepare for them, and how dedicated software can make the process so much easier.

Why are annual asset audits important?

Every year, all schools are required to fill out the schools financial value standard (SFVS) and assurance forms. These documents contain details of the school’s asset audit, so it’s vital that the information is accurate.

You should, at all times, know exactly what assets your school has, what condition they are in, where they are stored, etc. If you don’t keep track of your assets, losses are bound to occur, and the longer and asset is missing, the harder it is to track down. When budgets are tight, the last thing you want to do is be forced to buy more equipment for your school because some assets have disappeared without a trace.

Annual audits allow you to recognise and rectify any mistakes that are being made. If assets are going missing on a regular basis, you can identify any patterns and work out why this is happening. Again, preventing loss is key for reducing unnecessary expenditure.

Plus, if you don’t have an accurate overview of what the school has, you may be left without assets when you really need them.

Further, if using a competent asset management system, you can see how soon certain pieces of equipment or software need to be updated. Making sure all electronics have an in-date PAT test report is a legal requirement, so keeping an eye on when they are due is important.

Preparing for an asset/inventory audit

First of all, you must have an effective school asset manager system in place. Forget spreadsheets that are never updated and misplaced hand-written notes, a dedicated piece of software is the only accurate, reliable and efficient solution.

Ideally, this software will come with a mobile app too. That way, you can perform asset audits on the go – there’s no need to be tied to a desktop PC.

Once you have everything you need in place, you need to look at last year’s audit numbers and compare them to this year’s. Make sure any differences between these figures can be accounted for – you must be able to demonstrate an asset’s life cycle. The asset disposal process should be detailed within your audit, along with all the relevant certificates and paperwork.

Next, you need to check the detailed listing of each asset. Is its assigned value correct? Is it in the right category? Is the purchase date correct? Are the applicable documents attached? When does it need to be replaced? The more information you have on each asset, the better.

The benefits of using asset management software for school audits

There are several reasons why your school should be using a dedicated piece of software to manage assets rather than a spreadsheet. Here are the key ones:

  • Accuracy is guaranteed – There’s no more guesswork involved. Asset management software allows auditors to keep information up to date on a regular basis.
  • Audits can be completed via a convenient app – Staff are no longer confined to their desks, making the task a lot easier and quicker to do.
  • The software does the hard work for you – No need to wrack your brains, let the software do the data analysis for you.
  • Managing school federations is easier than ever – Audit reports can be run automatically for all your auditors.
  • Prepare for upcoming maintenance tasks and lease terminations – Know when leases are coming to an end and when PAT tests need to be performed.
  • See what you’re missing and what you have too much of – In order to be able to prepare for the next financial year, you need to know which assets you are and aren’t in need of. You may be paying for leases or licences the school doesn’t require.
  • Everything recorded properly – The school will have a record and audit trail of an asset’s history, from procurement to end of life.

For more information, check out our blog: Why is asset management so important?

The annual audit isn’t something that should be feared. With the right software in place, it’s a small, quick task, as your auditor(s) will have kept the inventory up to date throughout the year. To find out more about what asset management software could do for your school, academy or federation, get in touch with us today.

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