History & Origin of the FSSU
School finances and accounting have become a more complex matter with schools handling a variety of funds apart from per capita grants. While schools in the free education scheme may not charge fees, other sources of finance have evolved over the years in the form of voluntary donations from parents and other types of fund-raising.
The JMB recommended an accounts system for schools to address the accountability needs of school Trustees/Patrons. So, there was no requirement to submit accounts to the Department of Education and Science (DES) or otherwise make them available for public audit. Section 18 of the Education Act 1998 provides that a school Board of Management shall keep accounts of all income and expenditure, and obliges the Board to ensure that the accounts are audited in accordance with best accounting practice.
This section also provides that the Board must make the accounts relating to public monies available for inspection by the Minister and parents of students in that school.
To fulfil this function, the Financial Support Services Unit (FSSU) was set up in September 2004 under the aegis of the JMB. It is grant aided by the DES and has responsibility for assisting all schools in the voluntary secondary sector to meet their responsibilities for financial accountability.
Our Mission Statement
“The Financial Support Services Unit (FSSU) is a support mechanism for the managerial authorities in the voluntary secondary school sector which assists them in complying with the provisions of the Education Act 1998 in terms of transparency, accountability and financial responsibility for State and other funding. The FSSU addresses the financial interests and responsibilities of the Department of Education and Science, Trustees/Patrons, Boards of Management, Principals and other partners as defined by the Education Act 1998.”
The Financial Support Services Unit is responsible for setting up a framework of financial management, accountability and control for all schools in the Voluntary Secondary sector. This is carried out through the following:
- School Accounts
- Inservice and Onsite Training
- Advice and Support
- Financial Guidelines and Information
- Selection of School Accounts Personnel
- Sage 50
- Financial Management Evaluations
- Liaison with the Department of Education and Skills
Inservice and OnsiteTraining
• Financial management seminars for Boards of Management and Principals
• One to one and group training for new Principals
• One to one and group training for accounts secretaries / bursars
• Specific studies or projects requested on aspects of financial management at individual school level.
Advice and Support
Financial Guidelines and Information
Selection of School Accounts Personnel
Financial Management Evaluations
Financial Management Evaluation is a process designed to assist Principals and Boards of Management to implement best financial practice in line with the Guidelines for Financial Management in Voluntary Secondary Schools. It is intended to be a supportive process to enable schools to benchmark their approach to financial management against recommended guidelines.
Based on this review and appraisal, a report is prepared for the Board of Management outlining the school's strengths and weaknesses in the area of financial management and making recommendations for improvement and change.
The Financial Management Evaluations are a continuous process and are essential in assisting schools to implement best accounting practice and ensuring they comply with the provisions of the Education Act 1998 in terms of accountability, transparency and financial responsibility for State funding.
Liaison with the Department of Education and Skills