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Accounts - National School Annual Accounts

re... : Accounts - National School Annual Accounts          
16/11/2010 21:29 - Parents Associations
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Hi Ulysses

I don´t think ´complexity´ is a good reason for not publishing accounts. If the Govt , and charities and large multinationals and credit unions can all publish accounts, then so can a school.

The beauty of a set of accounts showing where money has been spent is that there is very little opportunity for misinterpretation. Any school that is asking parents for voluntary contributions should really be publishing accounts to show where the money is going.



re... : Accounts - National School Annual Accounts          
18/11/2010 00:18 - Parents Associations
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Shane, as I´ve already explained, I´m involved in teaching for 30 years, I have served on Boards of Management in various schools, acting as both treasurer and secretary on several occasions (not at the same time and not on the same Board). I´ve been principal for many years of a large and busy school and am more than happy to sit down and explain the school accounts to all relevant parties, including parents.

As principal, it would be most inappropriate for me to be treasurer in the school in which I work. Nevertheless, I work closely with the treasurer and all members of the Board of Management and, like all principals, am accountable to them on an ongoing basis (and rightly so).

I have worked with thousands of parents, in various schools. There is nothing more satisfying than being able to explain the accounts, in person, to the parents´ association, board of management and so on. Believe me when I say that there is nothing more dangerous, however, than a set of school accounts being completely misinterpreted, without the benefit of a full explanation. It has happened, it does happen and no doubt it will happen in the future.

Shane, it seems that we are both familar with accounting procedures (in my case because I have to be) but that is not the case for most people.

In the case of all the principals I know, they, like me, have absolutely nothing to hide in relation to school accounts. The one and only fear is that the accounts can regularly be misinterpreted, without the benefit of a full explanation.

I would also like to thank schooldays.ie for deleting the earlier posts, which I read but felt were unworthy of dignifying with a response.

Julie



re... : Accounts - National School Annual Accounts          
17/11/2010 21:22 - Parents Associations
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Hi Julie

It is not unusual for any organisation to some money on hand that is committed for a specific expenditure, and there are various accounting rules for how this should be shown.

School accounts really aren´t that special from any other set of accounts. All accounts need some understanding of the business activity to be interpreted correctly.

I really wish more schools would take a more open and transparent approach, and publish accounts to parents.



Accounts - National School Annual Accounts          
26/05/2010 18:32 - Parents Associations (Locality: Westmeath)
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Interested to hear of any Association who has requested a copy of the Schools Annual Accounts. Were they successful or did the BOM refuse your request?
Or any parent who has independently requested to see the School Accounts and what response did you get?



re : Accounts - National School Annual Accounts          
16/11/2010 22:56 - Parents Associations
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Shane, sorry but it´s me again. I have just read this thread and your response to Ulysses. I didn´t see Ulysses saying that school accounts shouldn´t be published but she (or he) has given a health warning that should accompany school accounts as they are very easily open to misrepresentation, depending on the time of year they are presented. Being honest, I thought Ulysses´ post was very sensible and informative.

Money can appear in accounts that could be intended as wages or whatever. Grants are often paid for works carried out in schools but schools are instructed to retain, perhaps 10% for a year, before paying the remainder to the builder, along with the percentage that is not paid by the Department of Education & Skills. This is just to add to what Ulysses has outlined and intended to be helpful in understanding some of the pitfalls when reading school accounts.



re : Accounts - National School Annual Accounts          
26/05/2010 21:21 - Parents Associations
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Don´t know of anything that is more easily open to misinterpretation than the accounts of a school´s Board of Management. Figures taken out of context, without a full understanding of all that is involved, is something that needs to be seriously borne in mind.
I´m a parent and a former member of Parents´ Associations. I am currently a member of a Board of Management and Treasurer of same. You cannot imagine my initial delight when I saw the initial figures and the plans I had for spending same. In the early months, I didn´t quite understand the concept that so much of this money was already spoken for on wages, grants for this and that (all open to be audited by Dept of Education and Skills at any time), gas, electricity, oil, water charges, maintenance, stationery, photocopying, etc etc
By the end of my first year, the penny was beginning to drop. By the end of the second year, it had finally dropped. When I heard fellow parents referring to school finance, I explained that it took me two years to understand the complexities of school finance. (I have a financial background but nothing prepared me for this).
Perhaps an equally important question to ask here is how many parents´ associations spend the money they raise, through the Board of Management, as is the way it is recommended but in truth, very rarely happens?
I´m just making this entry as the original question was one I may have asked 5 years ago but now it´s very much a case of, ´If I knew then what I know now.....´




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