29 January 2013

Time-Saving Ways to Handle the School Finances

Schools can make enormous time and cost savings in this area. However, it takes more time to learn new systems, and therefore many still use clumsy manual accounting systems. After all, not only do few people enjoy change, but when we’re flat out it’s a no-brainer to keep doing ‘what we do’ even if the methods are antiquated. One school with a roll of 400 did a cost analysis of internal accounting versus outsourcing. Using guidelines like the list below they were able to chop a bill of $50,000 p.a. down to $22,000.

There’s another even more serious issue – slow manual internal systems leave gaps in accountability, which leaves people vulnerable. Systems with the following features give you good internal controls, keep both people and the school’s funds safe, and save money.

Checklist to find a good external financial services provider:

  • Is the company an experienced provider of school services?
  • How many other schools do they work for, and for how long have they been operating?
  • What do other users of the service say? Beware of services and programmes that people say are clunky and hard to use. Even if it is the cheapest in the market, don’t go there – it will be a continuous time-wasting frustration. The far greater cost is the ongoing day-to-day usage. There are a number of very sophisticated, easy-to-use intuitive programmes around, such as the international internet-based ‘Greentree’ product. Another couple of international programmes are CBA and MYOB (but MYOB is not simple to use.)
  • Is it manual or electronic? (Manual systems mean much double handling.)
  • Do they host the software or do you have to buy and constantly update your own?
  • Is the software internet-based, so you can access information at any time?
  • Can you print your own reports or do you have to apply to the provider for reports?
  • If you do have to request reports or have them posted, is there a charge for these?
  • Does the provider train your staff?
  • How quickly do they answer your queries?
  • Do they have a Help person dedicated to your account?
  • Does the provider have to send staff to your school to enter data?
  • Do you need to send your information offsite to the provider for data entry?
  • Is there any conflict of interest with the provider? For instance, do they have personal connections to the school in any way, i.e. also on the school board?
  • If it’s a local accounting firm, how many other school clients does it have? Many local accounting firms won’t offer the sophisticated and cost-effective time-saving refinements of an education-focused specialist service.

What you’re looking for:

A good system allows you to access the software across the internet. You can enter your own basic data online instead of having to double-handle information; print your own reports; the provider won’t require you to send anything offsite; and rarely, if ever, will they need to spend time in your office apart from initial setup and training. You have control without having to do all the work; everything is always up to date because it’s internet-based and managed by your service provider; you’ll have the services of professional accountants who do your final processing; and you’ll keep all your documents onsite.





Are your days too short, workload too large and work-life balance a pipe dream?

Take a look at these Books, E-books, CDs/Teleseminars, Online Courses/Webinars and Tools. They provide practical, effective and easy to implement ways for you to free up your time, improve your productivity and reduce stress from overload.



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