What is FPS for schools?
FPS Web for Schools is an easy-to use web-based budget planning tool used by over 4,000 schools. FPS Web for Schools has lots of useful, time saving features and is always up to date with the latest education finance initiatives.
Why should I use FPS Web for Schools when I already have an Excel budget spreadsheet?
FPS Web for Schools has a number of advantages over Excel:
- HCSS Education maintains FPS Web for Schools, updating it to reflect legislative and other changes, saving users time and giving them confidence in their budget figures.
- Multiple users may view and edit FPS Web for Schools budget plans at the same time from a variety of locations, without the need for emailing various versions of an Excel document around. This means that users do not have to worry about accidentally using older versions of the budget, and can view changes made by other users immediately.
- FPS Web for Schools can contain a huge amount of data and complicated formulae without speed of use being significantly affected. Excel spreadsheets can be slow to open and save once they grow beyond a certain size.
- Data validation reduces the chance of entry errors, and the nature of the software means that formulae cannot be accidentally overtyped. This gives FPS Web for Schools a huge advantage over Excel which is very vulnerable to formula errors.
Does FPS link to any accountancy packages?
FPS Web for Schools has links with SIMS FMS6 and Personnel 7.
The link modules transfer data electronically between systems. The link will upload the chart of accounts/nominal coding structure from the accountancy package into FPS Web for Schools. Once budgets have been assigned in FPS, the full budget can then be exported to the accountancy package. This means that you do not have to manually type codes into FPS Web for Schools or budgets into the accountancy package.
How does FPS manage in-year changes from the DfE?
Regular changes to the education finance environment including, where possible, new DfE directives will be incorporated into FPS. As FPS is web-based, these updates are done remotely and you will not have to download software patches. These changes do not affect your locked budgets and you will also have the ability to accept or decline the changes per budget. Changes may include updates to National Insurance Rates and Thresholds.
What reports can FPS produce?
There are two categories of reports; ‘Financial Reports’ and ‘Pupil/Staff Reports’. A wide range of reports can be produced within these headings. Information is produced in tables, charts and graphs to appeal to all stakeholders. Reports can be tailored and exported into Excel and PDF formats, which can be emailed and shared.
We are very busy and don’t have a lot of time – how long will it take to set up my budget in FPS?
Once the budget data has been entered for the first time, it is a simple task to update it with any changes. Data can be copied to new scenarios for ‘what if’ scenario planning. Upgrades to the next budget year involve the transfer of all existing budget data to the new year format, with any statutory and local changes applied automatically. This means that a draft budget for the New Year can be produced extremely quickly.
I need to be able to review the impact of different staffing requirements and increasing/decreasing pupil numbers; can FPS help me with this?
FPS is scenario based. A base budget can be set up and then copied. The copies can be tweaked for various different scenarios such as decreasing pupil numbers and the financial impact viewed. In this way, you can keep your most realistic budget plan untouched whilst also being able to make strategic plans for a number of different possible future positions.
How can I prevent changes to the budget once it has been signed off?
FPS budget scenarios have a ‘lock’ facility which makes the data read-only. If there is a change to the budget authorised mid-year, a copy can be made of the scenario which is ‘unlocked’. Changes can then be made to the budget, and then the new budget can be ‘locked’. This means that you can be confident that an approved budget cannot be edited by any other user.
Can FPS support different access levels?
Schools have the ability to create multiple user accounts and define the access rights for each.
- Master -full and unrestricted access to the software including the ability to set up user accounts (we only create one master account)
- Full – as above, but without the ability to set up user accounts
- Read-only – read-only access to all data
- Read-only non-sensitive – as above, but without the ability to view the individual staff contracts. Useful for teaching staff that may not be part of the Senior Leadership Team (SLT)
- Reports-only – users can access all reports including staffing reports
- Reports-only non-sensitive – as above, but without the staffing reports
- Action planner – access to the action planner only
What training and support is available to me after the initial set-up process?
There are video help guides within FPS (which requires sound), which can assist you with most queries. It is recommended you open these up in a separate tab on your browser so as not to close down what you’re doing. If the video guides do not help with your query then contact your Finance Officer for a finance issue and SCoMIS for any technical issues.
Will we have to input staffing every year, or just input any contract changes?
All staffing along with all other areas of the budget except budget share data can be copied across each financial year so the duplication of entry each year isn’t required.
Can we have more than 12 budget scenarios?
Each school can have 12 working scenarios and also 12 locked scenarios.