The top 3 challenges the education sector is currently facing

23 November 2022
4 min read

5 December 2022

At Findex, we had the privilege to connect with so many leaders from a range of Independent Schools after attending several Association of School Business Administrators and the Catholic Education Business Administrators conferences this year. During our time at these conferences, we uncovered some common challenges in the education industry.

We found that schools go through a similar cycle to businesses where they are either in a growth or mature mindset, and we discovered that many schools are in a growth stage of their strategy - reviewing their processes, systems, and people in place to ensure best practices and alignment to their master plan.

1. Retaining and recruiting quality staff

For many reasons, the education industry is struggling to recruit and retain quality teachers, teachers aids and administration staff and as a result, many educational organisations are reviewing their salary packages, staff benefits, and work culture to ensure they are competitive. We spoke to a few schools’ financial committees and many modelled several options, including:

  • Sign-up bonuses, for example, the Northern Beaches Secondary College in NSW recently offered a $20K recruitment bonus

  • Referral bonuses which are commonly implemented in the corporate environment.

  • Childcare assistance

  • Rental assistance, especially for regional areas and in areas where the impact of holiday homes has reduced supply to the housing market.

All of the above practices are innovative ways to address this challenge. However, if not modelled correctly, they may bring with them, forecast inaccuracies and taxation implications such as FBT and superannuation guarantee. Our Advisors and Tax Specialists can assist you in these areas

2. Cyber security and risk review

There were a few cases where schools had been a victim of cyber-attacks in which the school’s data was held for ransom because the hackers noticed the high revenue and cash holdings in the school’s publicly available financial statements.

A common misconception in cyber security is that if an attack or breach occurs, then it is the responsibility and fault of the IT team. However, if there is a breakdown in policy and governance that exposes the school to potential risks, like a cyber threat, then who is accountable?

If you believe you are vulnerable in your cyber security, Findex can help assess the quality of IT controls, provide technical testing and assessments and enable cyber strategies to ensure protection and security.

3. Managing technology updates and accessing internal data to make strategic decisions

From the schools we spoke to, most were currently reviewing their technological systems and looking to digitise as many processes as possible. We found that only a select few were satisfied with their infrastructure and were starting to look at ways to access their internal data and use the power of knowledge to start making data driven solutions.

The digital journey is a never-ending cycle of reviewing, actioning, and maintaining efficient systems and processes. At either end of the digital cycle, the biggest challenge in making these technological changes is research, time, and resources. Whether you are looking to upgrade or modify systems, or rationalise your applications, we have Digital Consultants you can talk to and the data scientists to help you access and visualise your data.

What next?

Schools are complex organisations, and no matter how well you structure your team, there are going to be gaps in skills, knowledge, and resources. Findex are here to help bridge those gaps and help you be as compliant, risk averse, and as transformational as possible by understanding your school’s specific needs with an industry focus.

As your trusted partner, we can support your educational institution to navigate the complexities of the current environment and build a sustainable vision for the future.

Get in touch with us to learn more.