The term ‘unified ledger’ is often used by the team at PS Financials to describe the architecture of our accounting system. But what does this mean, and what are its implications for accountants and finance managers?
Simplifying the unified ledger
Conventional financial management systems tend to work in a modular structure with three standard ledgers – sales, general and purchasing. When reporting on finances, this requires data reconciliation and manipulation from each ledger to produce meaningful reports on revenue, costs, budgets and cash flow.
Simply put, a unified ledger takes the three standard ledgers used by accountants – sales, general and purchasing – and combines them into one database, where every transaction is tagged with additional data analysis fields, which is needed to consolidate information into individual ledgers and reports.
The unified ledger in multi-academy trusts
Conventional accounting systems, with three standard ledgers, requires users to sieve through and pull information from different data sets. In a multi-academy trust (MAT) setting, where information may need to be collected from ten, or even twenty, schools, this process can soon turn into days, or even weeks, of work.
This is where PS Financials’ unified ledger system comes into its own. Transaction entries can be tagged with the school, department or project (and more) to which they are attributed, all within one database. Plus, all accounts can be accessed at a head/central office level, for in-depth horizontal reporting across schools, and vertical reporting within schools. This removes the need for MAT Finance Managers/Directors to request information from finance staff within schools, and the time spent waiting for responses, as they can immediately access all the information they need.
Just a few of the examples of the ledgers a Finance Director would be able to view and report on across a multi-academy trust include:
- Revenue and costs for sports facilities
- Salaries for the English departments across all schools
- Exams (which might include entry costs, invigilators and supply cover)
- Salaries within a single school
- Stationery, furniture or asset costs across the trust, or within a school
PS Financials helps schools and MATs get the most from their budgets. It allows them to easily identify where money is being spent and where costs may be saved across the MAT. It enables comprehensive, accurate reporting and budget forecasting, which makes presenting consistent financial accounts to boards and governors straightforward and transparent.
If you’d like to know more about PS Financials in an education setting, and how it could benefit your multi-academy trust or school, get in touch now on 01733 367 330 or book a free demo here.