How to interrogate a finance report

Read our step-by-step guide to monitoring the finance report so you're clear on what the numbers mean, what to look out for and what questions to ask in your finance committee meeting.

Last reviewed on 28 November 2022
School types: Maintained, Special, Academy · School phases: Primary, Secondary
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Contents
  1. What's a finance report and what should it include?
  2. What to look for
  3. Example finance report: budget overview
  4. How to interrogate
  5. Approving budget amendments (virements)
  6. Approving invoices and orders
  7. Forward projection
  8. Next: scrutinise the budget

What's a finance report and what should it include?

As a governor, it's your job to keep a close eye on your school's finances, including monitoring the school budget during the year.

You'll receive the finance report from either your SBM or CFO (depending on whether you're in a maintained school or an academy) before each finance committee meeting.

The report should:

  • Have an overview of the budget to date – i.e. the 'headline figures' of all the money the school has received and spent at the time of the report 
  • Summarise the key changes since the last meeting
  • Come with commentary to explain things such as:
    • Whether something has changed since the last meeting and why 
    • Whether these changes were foreseeable
    • What the consequences of the changes are

The budget, on the other hand, shows all of the school's finances to date in detail with no explanations.

What the budget was at the start of your school's