10 ways to better manage your school fund
1. Make it as quick and easy as possible to enter the myriad of money that comes into school on a daily basis. Make sure that your system is simple and intuitive, and that money can be recorded in a matter of seconds. There should be options for cash and cheque, as well as bank transfers, direct debit and vouchers as required. it should be straightforward for the operator as well as others, to check what has been entered and add further items.
2. Make sure you have a single entry system in place - that is, that once you enter details of money received/ consent form received , you don't have to enter it anywhere else. You should not have to update spreadsheets with who has and hasn't paid, shouldn't have to extract lists of students to add contact numbers, medical information etc. - it should all be provided automatically.
3. Ensure you have instantly updated reports, so at any point someone can ask for information and know it is completely accurate. If a teacher needs to know who has not yet given in a consent form, or who has not yet paid, then they usually need to know there and then and won't want to wait for forms, files and lists to be checked. You should be able to get the information at the touch of a button.
4. Print receipts automatically for those who need one - make sure that when you enter a pupils money, you can instantly produce a receipt for them (or later if you prefer to return in registers) You should not be handwriting receipts - this should all be done automatically, in a format you choose with your logo, full details of who has paid and what for and what they still owe if appropriate.
5. Control trip and other account expenditure by being able to see instantly how much a trip has generated, how much has been spent and whether the balance is in deficit or surplus. Pick problems up early by checking monthly reports that list deficit balances. Ensure frequent 'over spenders' receive account summary reports regularly showing the ins and outs of their trip to prevent current and future deficits.
6. Accept online payments from parents for trips, uniform etc. Choose whichever online provider is offering the most cost efficient option and suits your general school requirements. Several of the home-school comms providers have online systems that are discounted for their existing clients, so check these out. Ensure that your private funds accounts system can accept online payments from any of the online providers.
7. Chase up non payers and late payers to ensure that trips/accounts do not end up in deficit. Make sure your school fund system has an automatic option for producing debtor lists and debtor letters. These don 't have to be mean or pushy - a friendly chase up letter usually does the trick, so make sure that your system allows tailored letters.
8. If you have a lot of them, don't spend hours hand writing cheques for payments out or refunds. Have a school fund system that enables you to either print cheques automatically, or link into your existing main school BACS system if you have one.
9. If you have sizeable donations and fundraising activities, make sure you are claiming back gift aid. If your school fund is not already a registered charity, then set it up as one so you can start claiming back 25p on top of every £1 received. Ensure that your school fund system can automatically account for and generate the reports required by HMRC for this, including the new R68 spreadsheet that became mandatory for gift aid reclaiming from 2013.
10. Have accurate accounting for any after school clubs you may offer. Ideally have a system where parents book in advance (a term or half term at a time) and are invoiced in advance, even if they only pay weekly. Make sure you can generate automatic registers of who will be attending, record who has attended, monitor payments, and if necessary generate automatic chase up letters complete with attendance records.
The Private Funds Manager from Istek UK Limited provides ALL of the features listed above. For further information please visit our website on www.istekuk.com or call 01722 413255