This is a brief overview of some of the new technologies available to schools in 2016 that can greatly improve their internal efficiencies. Where “efficiency” means…. achieving the same results using less resources OR using the same resources to deliver more output.
Your future and even current parents are going to be tech savvy gen Ys who expect to be able to manage everything on a smartphone and ipad.
Do your school's financial and administration operations match how these people do business?
Paper processes are time consuming. They rely on people physically moving the paper around your school campus. Let’s take a look at areas where your school uses paper and how technology can improve efficiencies.
The school has a mobile communication app that publishes newsletters, calendar events and school notices direct to parents. Push notifications are sent to app users and specific alerts and reminders can be sent to tailored parent groups. Key school documents, policies and forms are available enabling parents instant access to key school information.
Online Enrolment Application Forms
Potential parents can complete online enrolment forms. Once submitted, these forms are sent to the relevant school staff member for actioning where workflow is used to ensure that the enrolment policy and processes are adhered to in a timely manner.
Biggest issue is having both an online and mobile payment tool option for parents.
Receipting is automatic and does not have to be manually entered into the finance system.
Online Payment Portal
Online Payment Portal where parents log in and can see their tuition fee debt and transaction history. Families do not have to contact the school to access statements, payment history or information the amounts owing.
Within the parents' portal there is the additional capability to add online payment management connected to a banking institution were parents can make online payments and manage their own direct debit arrangements. This eliminates the need for parents to complete a hardcopy payment plan form to be returned to the school for actioning. Debtor banking information is securely and confidentially stored offsite and the school is PCI compliant.
Daily direct debits are managed by the banking portal and receipts are automatically receipted in to the finance software, eliminating the need for Accounts Receivable to manually enter receipts.
When a direct debit transaction is declined, an SMS / email is automatically sent to the debtor so payment does not have to be followed up by the school.
Dashboard Payment Plan Reporting
The payment portal has dashboard reporting for family payment plans and monies owed to the school. The dashboard can forecast future payment receipts to assist with cashflow management and you will have instant reporting on delinquent debtors and family accounts.
Fee Billing statements are emailed to families, saving the time and cost of hardcopy postage. Account statements are automatically generated and are emailed to families on a monthly basis.
The school has set up a smartphone merchant payment app where parents can pay for ad hoc charges such as excursions, camps and canteen items, on their mobile phone.
The payment app is linked to the school communication app, so parents can make instant payments on their mobile phone based on information they receive from the school app. Payments are settled daily into the school bank account and a payment file is uploaded into the school finance software.
The school does not have to process or reconcile ad hoc parent payments as the app offers detailed reports that can be used by school administration.
Creditors are paid by EFT and are emailed remittances advices.
Electronic Purchase Orders
Electronic Purchase Orders are raised by budget holders, where POs can be seen and approved instantly. Hardcopy Purchase Orders do not have to be physically moved around campus for signing. This means that Accounts Payable have instant access to all PO’s that can be matched to creditor invoices avoiding any delay in invoice entry.
All Budget holders have access to reports in the finance software to see how much of their budgets they have spent and have remaining. This reduces the risk of potential over expenditure.
Corporate Credit Cards
Credit Card holders take photos of receipts on their smartphones and send these to an online Credit Card Expense Management System. Using Optical Character Recognition technology, receipts are automatically matched to credit card purchases in an online portal and are instantly available in electronic format.
Credit Card holders access card transaction history online and can choose school general ledger codes and cost centres to allocate purchases to. Purchase details are sent through workflow to line managers for approval, if required.
Once approved Credit Card purchase details are uploaded into the finance system via an accrual file. There is no more manual searching for credit card receipts or entering individual purchases. Credit Card holders are accountable for all credit card purchases, and accurate receipting information is stored electronically for audit purposes.
Leave requests and timesheets are completed electronically and are sent through workflow to line managers for approval. Documents are stored in soft copy ready for actioning and have an electronic audit trail.
Staff use an online portal where they can edit personal details and have access to past payslips and leave entitlements. This reduces the amount of queries going to the payroll officer.
Key Board reports such as a Profit & Loss and Balance Sheet are generated from the financial software. No formatting or editing in Excel is required meaning all financial reports are accurate, have integrity and can be produced instantly.
For development, the school can connect to old scholars and the greater school community through a sophisticated CRM. This grows the connections and supports school initiatives in the wider community now and in the future.
Student & Visitor Sign In & Out
Automate the tracking of student movements through an electronic terminal.
Allow visitors and contracts who arrive at the school to sign electronically and enjoy a printed badge to wear. Electronic tracking of people movement ensures that the school always has an accurate visitor register.
Property Management System
Property Management System where Information is accurately and securely stored and the school is not reliant on any specific individual to obtain property information.
The centralised property management system records all property plans, asset information, location of underground and internal services, contract details, maintenance schedules and maintenance job requests. Such solutions can provide input into 10-year asset and facility management plans and also provide a framework for School Master Plans.
Staff log maintenance requests online, where a text message/email is sent to the maintenance manager for urgent jobs. The Maintenance manager can look up all maintenance requests and mark jobs as completed on a mobile tablet. Jobs can also be displayed in regards to their location within the school and their status (in progress, overdue, awaiting parts, etc).
Property Maintenance tasks and workloads are formally documented to ensure all assets are operating at peak condition. The business manager has access to detailed reports to monitor performance of staff, assets and contractors.
WHERE CAN TECHNOLOGY HELP YOU?
New technologies and innovations are designed to make our lives easier.
Think of the paper processes in your school and the physical journey these pieces of information take.
Technology is available to help your school have instant and quality communication with all students, parents, staff, suppliers and stakeholders.
New processes that improve efficiencies can reduce expenses and improve cash inflows to the school.
New systems can create transparency and accountability to improve school management.
How can precision help?
Contact Anita Wassermann at Precision Management Accounting to discuss your specific situation and future needs.