Automating Your Child Care Center
As a child care provider, your primary goals are to offer a quality learning experience and loving care to the children at your center. Too often, however, time-consuming administrative tasks can divert your attention from these goals.
By automating the record keeping at your early childhood program or preschool, you can regain time to focus on the children. There are many advantages to automation, including accuracy and efficiency, as well as saving time and money.
When thinking about how to best automate management tasks at your center, you’ll want to consider a number of factors….
Child Care Software Options
It’s important to look at the specific needs of your child care business and to choose a management solution that will provide the greatest benefits.
Management software is available in two formats:
- Generic accounting software
- Specialized child care software
Generic accounting programs, such as Quickbooks, are designed to handle general accounting needs for many business types. However, they are unable to track specific child care information, so detailed family and child data must be maintained elsewhere.
On the other hand, child care management software addresses both your specific child care tracking and accounting needs, such as subsidized billing, family copays, and split-parent household invoicing. Software designed for child care will also track Family and Child Information, as well as recording immunizations. In addition, you can also print rosters and handle Time and Attendance Tracking—not to mention Meal Counts and reimbursement rates for the USDA Food Program.
Managing Incoming Revenue and Payments
One of the most time-consuming tasks in child care is maintaining parent fees and payments. With software specifically designed for Family Accounting, tuition can be posted, balances calculated, and receipts emailed to each family. Payments can even be collected directly from each parent’s bank account or charged to a debit or credit card with an integrated Tuition Payment Service.
Employee Information, Payroll and Financial Reporting
In addition to tracking income, there are other important aspects of your business to consider. These include employee scheduling and time cards, payroll, accounts payable, and overall financial reporting. Many centers outsource these functions due to time constraints, fear of inaccuracy or concern that a high degree of accounting know-how is required to do this work. With easy-to-use software for Employee Data, Daycare Payroll and Expense Tracking, these tasks can be done efficiently in-house, at a fraction of the cost, and will increase control over your finances.
Child Attendance and Staff Ratios
While complying with state ratio requirements is always a top priority, keeping employees on the clock with too few children in the center is money poorly spent. By using an integrated time clock system, exact attendance hours for children and staff are recorded, alerting you to issues of over- or under-staffing throughout the day.
A Check-In Computer provides additional features, such as security (fingerprint ID) and communication with parents. You can easily run attendance reports and monitor who is picking up each child. You may even want a system that can work in conjunction with an Automated Door Controller, which allows entry only to authorized pickup people.
Automate Your Center
Automating your center not only increases your efficiency, it also presents a professional image to your community and to current and prospective customers. With less time focused on administrative duties, attention can be focused on increasing your enrollment, mentoring staff, and building relationships with your families. Today’s technology can boost your center’s operation, helping you to provide the best care and nurturing for the children.
Shelley A. Moore Spliethof
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