School Accounts

Term 2 Tweaks

Welcome to Term 2, the land of opportunities! You made it through Term 1’s new year duties, welcomed new children into the fold, instigated the ideas and budgets formulated in 2016, and took your school for a test drive in 2017.

Term 2 is often a great time to review and consolidate. You know the drill: What is working well? What is not living up to expectations? If you can, do a quick ‘pros and cons’ inventory of your key objectives and projects for 2017. What are the stand out things that may need tweaking in Term 2?

Things that are going well: What are the key strengths of your arena that contribute to the success? How can you celebrate, encourage, reward and do more of that?

Things that are not so flash:  Do they just need tweaking, revisiting the goals, or scrapping altogether and replacing? Does it relate to personnel, programmes, or processes? Is it a minor weakness that can be addressed, or a major failing that needs urgent attention?

Outsource or Up-skill?

Having someone take care of the annoying-but-necessary week to week stuff may be what is needed to release you to take care of the big stuff – things that contribute to the main thing – kids learning and quality staff retention. What can you outsource? What is the best use of staff time?

Investing in professional development for internal staff who handle key processes, can make all the difference to efficiency, quality of services, or delivering on compliance.

How can we help?

School financial service providers can be a source of assistance when budgets, software, financial processes or skills of support staff need assessing.

We have your back when it comes to locally raised funds, property projects, asset management, Board member education, cyclical maintenance, and budget setting. As well as that, one of our favourite things is to train staff in school financial processes (and Xero tips), or new Board members in school financial literacy.

Providing an outside ‘fresh eyes’ perspective on how things are operating can sometimes give you the resource you need to make changes. Here are three reviews that School Accounts Ltd offer for example:

  1. Processes Review. We ‘follow the dollar’ both from an accounts payable and accounts receivable point of view and let you know if there are any processes that can be practicably improved to benefit the school. This includes handling of locally raised funds.
  2. Xero Review. We take a look at how internal staff are using Xero and provide feedback and training if relevant (and keep it fun!)
  3. Specialist Review. Whether it is your budget, fixed assets, cyclical maintenance or school building projects, we can help.

Term 2 is your opportunity to shine and make 2017 the best year ever yet! Just like George Clarke’s Amazing Spaces reviews, “I’ve never seen anything like it in my life!” could be rolling off the tongue as onlookers shower their approval of your arena. Okay, we’re getting carried away. But aim for the best anyway.

We do.

School Accounts
Go home sooner!

How many times has your Principal told you ‘go home, it’s late’ and you say ‘I’m just going to finish entering these invoices, we really need to pay them tomorrow.’? How would you like an APP that could do all the entering for you, so that all you need to do is check and approve them?

What would you do with that extra hour a week? Go home sooner?

Or perhaps get to that job the boss REALLY wants you to do?

Accounts payable (entering and paying suppliers) can be really time critical, time draining, and time dependent. We have an amazing solution our clients are just ecstatic about.

Not only can you send invoices to it by forwarding an email, scanning a hard-copy, drop and dragging a PDF, or by taking a photo on your phone, you can also send Visa receipts to it. It then sends the invoice or receipt all done through to Xero where it awaits your approval and payment, or ready to match against your Visa statement.

What’s more, a copy of the invoice as a PDF is attached to each invoice or spend money in Xero, so you no longer need to file hard copies in the office. Free up some space!

This APP is called Receipt Bank, and as a Receipt Bank Partner School Accounts Ltd can subscribe your school, train and support your Accounts Payable staff, or even do all the work for you if needed.

Have you been thinking about freeing up your Admin and Accounts staff so they can get on to some more school focused tasks? Or are you concerned about staff morale as they constantly work overtime and struggle to meet deadlines?

We can help. We LOVE to help. Find more about it by clicking here.

Subscribe through School Accounts Ltd today and watch the smiles and gratitude bloom!

School Accounts

Librarians Rule, Okay?

Your school library is one of the most diversely represented elements of the education system? What do I mean by that? The size and importance of a schools library is not necessarily related to the size of the school, nor the demographics of the population, budget or location. We see this at our end when processing stats for the library at year end. The dreaded Library Stocktake.

I guess some librarians would be flattered that Accounts people take such an interest at least once a year. But the more likely reality is they are just irritated. Apologies.

Any hoo!

I’m writing this article for two purposes:
1. I found a great resource that either the School Executive Officer or the Head Librarian may be interested in.
2. We would like to address some potential areas of conflict when it comes to annual reporting of library figures.

Here’s the mystery for us Accounting types: even when a school has a perfectly good and perhaps expensive piece of library software that just churns out the numbers for the year end stocktake, somehow the starting figure has managed to change between years. We can end up with some interesting ‘write-offs’ of books in order to account for this difference. Sometime between finalising the previous years end balance, and starting the new year, the figures have changed.

Did students start the new year by returning a whole lot of books that had been accounted for as ‘lost’?
Was the same report used in both years or perhaps different parameters get ‘ticked’ each time?

A critical issue is what date at which the previous years library stocktake is closed and what date the new year is officially rolled over into. It needs to be a golden rule that the library system cannot be used in between times.

You can Balance!
So suggestion one is to take a good look at how your system is run, how it is rolled over from one year to the next, and making sure the year is indeed complete before running the year end stocktake for the bean counters. Here’s how you can tell things are not working: if your new year opening balance is different to the prior year’s closing balance!

For a handy stocktaking guide provided by the National Library of NZ, click here.

You can be Memorable!
Suggestion two is that a library is not just about numbers of books. If you don’t already have an annual library report as part of your reporting package, take a look at this amazing suggestion from the National Library of NZ specifically for the school library: click here for writing your Annual Report.

This is a way you can promote and educate the school management and community about the value of the library in the school. They outline all the pro’s in the article so do read it before you throw up your hands in a ‘don’t I have enough to do already’ sort of way! They even have some worked examples and templates. Some of you may be streets ahead and already weaving this kind of magic – congrats!

We here at School Accounts are vitally interested in your little (or big) school library. We’re happy to help staff figure out their stocktake dramas. We can give you a little template that may help make sense of the numbers the auditors and MOE require.

Do take heart and have a go at promoting your piece of paradise this year.