Managing a school means juggling a lot of things along with student education. School principal and management have to spend a considerable amount of time in HR functions, administration, finance and budgeting activity to keep the school running smoothly.
Thankfully technology has made work easier by maintaining database and automating many processes. School management systems can also support finance and budgeting processes in your school.
Take a look at how school management systems can help to manage school budgets:
1. Continuous monitoring
Budgeting is the process of forecasting and planning for school expenses and income. This requires being up to date with the expenditure done till date and the income received. Knowing the current status of finances helps in taking corrective course during the academic year.
Keeping a tight watch on the current expenses incurred and income received is easy with school management software. Most school software includes a budgeting module where current year budget can be fed in the system and comparative reports against the budget can be generated.
This continuous monitoring ensures that schools stick to the budget committed at the beginning of the year. You can also request your software vendor to enable alert notification in case of expenses crossing set budget limit.
2. Data Analysis and Forecasting
Forecasting in budgeting is done based on the past data and expected growth rate in future. For example you may expect the enrollment in your school to go up by 5% or the staff salary to rise by 7%.
School management software can give you projected numbers based on past data fed into the system. Data analysis and statistical modeling will make your budgeting more accurate.
This not only saves time on number crunching activity but also eliminates the time and effort in corrective course down the line.
3. Present a Business Case
Schools need a solid business case to get state aids and financial grants. School software can be used to generate reports that back proposal for funds. This can be done by
• Highlighting how funds have improved learning and benefiting students in the past.
• Give visual reports of current state of student learning and school activities
• Take example of schools that have successfully introduced similar changes
• Request for extra budgets. Eg: funds for children needing special care or new activity needing equipment.
School management systems can give reports such as balance sheets, profit and loss account, debtors and creditors report. Analyzed patterns such as cash flow cycles, reserve usage rate and fee payment cycles can be of immense help in budgeting.
These reports give an overview of state of finance in your school and can help in forming strategies, making provisions and decisions related to budget allocation. State/district council or trustees will appreciate the ease of presentation of financial trends of the school.
4. Minimize Errors
Human errors are possible in accounting and finance. Minor errors in accounting can disrupt the budgeting activity and finance in a big way. Shakopee School district saw a budgeting error of $4.5 million on overspends on multiple expenditure categories earlier this year.
Such errors can be caught in its early stages with school management systems by setting alarm notifications and check systems in the workflow.
5. Free Up Staff
This is perhaps the most important way in which school management systems support you in budgeting activity.
Budgeting must be done in line with the long term vision of the school. It should also support the strategy school has decided to meet its goals. Budgeting is as much a strategic task as a financial activity.
However, day to day work and overload of activities can keep the long term vision of your school out of sight. School management systems can free up your staff for strategic thinking by taking over manual and repetitive work such as data entry, payment collection and updating and compilation of lengthy reports.