The Team

Baines Cutler is a small team but with a very wide network of knowledge and contacts. Because of our wealth of experience and the survey data we hold, the team’s knowledge of the finances, governance and success-factors of schools is second to none. Our team are hard-working, enthusiastic specialists in independent education. We are straight-forward to deal with. If we can help you we will. If we don’t know the answer or if we know someone else better placed to help you, we will tell you.

Baines Cutler – the first place for schools to look for information and solutions.

Tim Baines FCA BSc - Managing Director

Tim was one of the UK's leading schools' audit partners over the 12 years to 2013 and acted for schools of all sizes and types, including many of the UK’s very top schools. A list of the schools Tim has acted for as audit partner can be found here.

Tim graduated in economics and accounting from Bristol University and joined Coopers & Lybrand (now PwC) in 1980. He won a top prize in his part 1 institute exams and in 1992 became C&L’s youngest UK partner. Tim moved to Crowe Clark Whitehill in 2001 in order to work full-time with schools and charities. He set up Baines Cutler Solutions Ltd with Rhiannon Cutler in June 2013.

Tim started the Independent Schools’ Financial Benchmarking Survey in 1995 in response to requests from the bursar community for better comparative information. This survey is now in its 21st year, is the official survey for the sector supported by ISC, AGBIS, ISBA, IAPS, HMC, GSA and ISA and participants represent 75% of all pupils at ISC schools. The survey was used by ISC during its evidence to the Judicial Review challenging the Charity Commission's view of public benefit.

In 2010 Tim worked with Rhiannon Cutler to research and then conduct the sector’s first detailed Teacher Salary and Benefits Survey. This was repeated in 2013/14 and in 2016/17. In 2012 he supported Rhiannon in conducting the first wide-ranging survey of Fundraising and Development in UK schools and this was repeated in 2014. In September 2013 BCS carried out a Head Teacher Activity and Time Survey in conjunction with HMC.

Tim is a well-known speaker and commentator on sector issues and was the author of much of the fee affordability research referred to in the ISC's affordability letter to schools in September 2015.

Rhiannon Cutler CIRM BSc -  Director

Rhiannon graduated with an honours degree in Marketing, Communications and Psychology in 2008 and joined Crowe Clark Whitehill to work in marketing and business development. During that time she supported Tim Baines’ schools’ initiatives and helped Tim develop the pilot study of Teacher Salaries which was carried out in 2009.

In 2010 she moved to Cheltenham to work with Tim to research and conduct the sector’s first detailed Teacher Salary and Benefits Survey. This was repeated in 2013/14 and in 2016/17. In 2012 she conducted the first wide-ranging survey of Fundraising and Development in UK schools and was the survey’s lead author. This survey was also repeated in 2014.  She now advises schools on teacher pay systems, appraisals and thresholds and on fundraising.

In 2012 Rhiannon became a Certificate Member of the Institute of Risk Management and she advises schools on their risk management processes. She set up Baines Cutler Solutions with Tim in June 2013.

In 2016 Rhiannon led the launch of our "Fee Affordability and Parental Time Survey" service, helping schools to understand the earnings and time/workload profiles of their parental body.

Chris Curson FCA BA - Associate, Financial and School Operations

Chris is an Accounting and Finance graduate and an experienced schools and charities accountant and business advisor, having worked in the sector since 2000. His experience includes 13 years at Crowe Clark Whitehill where he worked closely with Tim as an Audit Manager in the schools and charities unit. During his time at CCW he worked with a wide variety of schools and charities, including many prestigious organisations. Chris also authored the firm's regular sector update for clients and worked with the firm's Finance Partner to develop performance reporting. 

Chris left CCW in 2013 to start his own practice working with small businesses, which he does alongside his work as an Associate of Baines Cutler.

Chris has particular expertise in Excel modelling, which is invaluable in his work with Tim on the Baines Cutler surveys. He has experience in building cash flow and valuation models for clients, as well as other tools to allow practical and useful reporting from complex data.

Andrew Hillsdon FCA BA - Associate, Financial and Business

Andrew is a chartered accountant with over 25 years experience in the provision of audit and advisory services to independent schools, academies and the further and higher education sectors. After graduating in English with American and Commonwealth Arts from the University of Exeter, Andrew initially qualified as secondary school English teacher before retraining and qualifying as a chartered accountant with Touche Ross in 1993.

Andrew spent 8 years in the public sector practice at PwC before moving to Crowe Clark Whitehill in 2006 to specialise full-time in charities and schools, where he worked with Tim on a number of prestigious clients. Whilst at CCW he represented the firm as a committee member on both the ICAEW's Charity Technical sub-group and Charity and Voluntary Sector Special Interest Group, helping to respond to sector consultations and to produce technical guidance for chartered accountants working in the sector.

He remained at CCW as an audit director until May 2014, when he left to set up his own accounting and financial consulting practice which he runs alongside working as an Associate of Baines Cutler on financial, strategic and other consultancy projects.

Our knowledge and contacts

Baines Cutler has a huge range of knowledge and contacts built up over nearly 30 years. This means that if we can’t help you ourselves, we probably know someone who can. Our philosophy is simple– if we can help you we will. If we don’t know the answer or if we know someone else better placed to help you, we will tell you.

Baines Cutler – the first place for schools to look for information and solutions

Latest News

Independent Schools Financial Benchmarking Survey 2017

23 May 2017

The 2017 edition of the Independent Schools Financial Benchmarking Survey, published by Baines Cutler in association with Crowe Clark...

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