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New Core Skills module: Finance for non-financial managers

Image credit: Numbers and finance by reynermedia - licensed under CC BY 2.0.

New Core Skills module: Finance for non-financial managers

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Finance for whom?

Financial oversight of a school is one of the three core functions of governors – and for trustees within a standalone academy or MAT this is doubly important. Modern Governor subscribers will shortly have access to a completed revised and updated module on Financial Management for Governors – but many of us feel uncomfortable with financial terminology, or wonder if our limited experience of personal or family finance is applicable to any context beyond our front door. The prospect of volunteering for a role which places demands in areas where we feel we have little or no skills & experience can be intimidating to say the least.

The new Core Skills module Finance for non-financial managers is designed to give anyone with a role in any organisation – including governing bodies and trust boards – an understanding of the language and terminology around finance.

Recent issues around financial mismanagement have highlighted how critical it is for governors and trustees to discharge the financial monitoring elements of their role well and from an informed position. With last year’s closure of Kids Company coming to be known as the archetype for trustees not having a clear picture of an organisation’s cash flow, this module is intended to give all governors and trustees and understanding of the terms used in the area of finance in order that they may ask better, more incisive questions from an informed position.

Finance for non-financial managers – module structure

This module is broken down into eight sections:

  • Introduction: understanding the numbers – why it’s important to have an understanding of finance
  • The cash flow cycle – understanding how cash cycles through an organisation
  • Managing cash flow and costs – explore the organisational challenges of managing cash flow
  • Financial statements: profit/loss and cash flow – discovering how financial statements are used – specifically the profilt/loss and cash flow statements
  • Financial statements: the balance sheet – finding out more about the balance sheet and how it’s used
  • Interpreting financial statements: using financial ratios – use information from financial statements to discover how an organisation is performing
  • Budgets – explore the budgeting process
  • Assessment – rounding things off with a short knowledge check to test understanding of the topic
A fictitious sample certificate for the Modern Governor Core Skills Finance for Non-Financial Managers course

A fictitious sample certificate for the Modern Governor Core Skills Finance for Non-Financial Managers course

The forthcoming Financial Management for Governors module has been written to dovetail nicely with this module – it will assume that governors and trustees have worked through this and so have a good grounding in the terms used around finance. As with all Core Skills modules the content in this module is intended to be useful in other contexts – so whether you’re starting your own business and want to have an understanding of financial terminology, or involved in a voluntary capacity with a youth group, church, or anything other context where an understanding of finance and cash flow is helpful to your role, then this module is there to be used.

Of course, no e-learning module or training course is a substitute for thoughtful, insightful governance which asks awkward – sometimes seemingly stupid – questions, and with the vast amounts of public money in schools the area of finance is a key focus for governors. This module and the one shortly to follow in the next term are intended to allow governors and trustees to hold both one another and school leaders to account, and do so from an informed position.

New module tools

Along with other newly-released modules – including the Conflict Resolution module detailed elsewhere, Finance for non-financial managers allows a user to search the text of the module for articles and elements which reference a particular word or phrase – as demonstrated below:

The module’s search is automatically updated as the query is typed, and the results can be returned to simply by clicking or tapping the menu icon. The search works whether using a smartphone, tablet or computer.

Accessing the modules

If your school or academy is a subscriber to Modern Governor then the Finance for non-financial managers module is instantly available to you – simply log in as normal and either browse to the Core Skills category or search for the module by name once you’ve logged in to the Modern Governor site. The comprehensive and fully-revised Financial Management for Governors module will be released this term to Modern Governor subscribers. If you’re not yet a subscriber then you can subscribe today – simply get in touch to enquire – or you can access five of the mobile-friendly modules in a few minutes by signing-up for a free thirty day trial.

Image credit: Numbers and finance by reynermedia – licensed under CC BY 2.0.

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