Risk Management and Compliance for School Bursars in the South African Context


Risk management and compliance are integral to the effective functioning of educational institutions. In South Africa, school bursars play a critical role in ensuring that schools adhere to the regulatory framework and mitigate financial risks. This article will focus on three key aspects of risk management and compliance for school bursars: financial risk assessment and mitigation, regulatory compliance in education and school insurance management.

A. Financial Risk Assessment and Mitigation

1. Identifying Financial Risks: School bursars should develop a comprehensive understanding of the potential financial risks faced by their institutions, such as fluctuating exchange rates, changing interest rates, credit risks and liquidity risks. This can be achieved through a systematic process of risk identification and assessment.

2. Establishing a Risk Management Framework: A robust risk management framework should be established to guide the bursar in addressing identified financial risks. This framework should include policies, procedures, and risk appetite statements that outline the school’s approach to risk management.

3. Monitoring and Reporting: Regular monitoring and reporting of financial risks are essential for effective risk management. Bursars should implement processes to track and report on identified risks, ensuring that stakeholders are well-informed about potential challenges and the steps taken to mitigate them.

B. Regulatory Compliance in Education

1. Understanding the Regulatory Environment: School bursars must stay informed about the relevant laws and regulations governing education in South Africa. This includes legislation such as the South African Schools Act, the Employment of Educators Act and the National Education Policy Act, amongst others.

2. Implementing Compliance Procedures: To ensure regulatory compliance, bursars should develop and implement procedures that address the requirements set forth by governing bodies, such as the Department of Basic Education and the Council for Quality Assurance in General and Further Education and Training (Umalusi).

3. Training and Awareness: Bursars should ensure that staff members are trained and aware of the relevant regulations and their implications for the school’s operations. This may involve conducting regular training sessions, providing resources and support and fostering a culture of compliance within the institution.

C. Insurance Management for Schools

1. Assessing Insurance Needs: School bursars should conduct a thorough analysis of their institution’s insurance needs, considering factors such as property, liability and other potential risks.

2. Selecting the Right Coverage: Based on the insurance needs assessment, bursars should carefully select the appropriate insurance policies and coverage levels to protect the school’s assets and operations adequately. This may involve consulting with insurance professionals and seeking competitive quotes from multiple providers.

3. Regularly Reviewing Insurance Policies: Bursars should regularly review and update their institution’s insurance policies to ensure they remain suitable and cost-effective. This may involve renegotiating terms, adjusting coverage levels or changing insurance providers if necessary.


In the South African context, school bursars play a vital role in managing risk and ensuring compliance within educational institutions. By focusing on financial risk assessment and mitigation, regulatory compliance in education, and school insurance management, bursars can effectively safeguard their institutions against potential challenges and create a stable environment conducive to academic success.


Marwick & Company Inc. is well-positioned to provide expert assistance in managing risk and ensuring compliance for educational institutions in South Africa. As a trusted firm of chartered accountants and registered auditors with over 45 years of experience, they possess the knowledge and skills required to address the specific needs of school bursars.
Marwick & Company can help assess and mitigate financial risks through their budgeting, financial management and reporting expertise. They can also support schools in navigating the complex regulatory environment by offering guidance on compliance with educational laws and regulations. Additionally, their experience in insurance management can help schools select the most appropriate and cost-effective insurance coverage, ensuring that their institutions are adequately protected.
By partnering with Marwick & Company, school bursars can confidently manage their institution’s financial, regulatory and insurance-related challenges, creating a stable foundation for academic success.

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