For childcare centre managers, the mission of increasing your centre’s profits while meeting national quality standards seems like a contradiction in terms. How can you increase profits on one hand while you’re increasing staff ratios on the other?
The answer has a lot to do with how your staff members manage their time. When your key staff members are spending less time in the administration office they have more time to spend with the children – which in turn increases your staff ratio quality standards and decreases your staffing costs.
We know that managing payments from parents is an energy-sapping administrative burden for childcare centre managers. You’re manually combing through payments each week; you’re manually tracking who’s paid and who is yet to pay; you’re cross-checking data in multiple systems and you’re making a few awkward phone calls to the parents who are late payers (not fun!). All of this time adds up and can have a massive impact on your childcare centre’s quality standards and profitability.
So, the question is: what’s the price of managing payments in the childcare centre that you manage? To find out, start by asking yourself these three essential questions.
How much time do you spend chasing payments?
If you’re physically making phone calls to the parents who are late payers, chances are you’re leaving more than one voicemail message before you get onto Mum or Dad – and even then you might need to follow up a few times before they settle their account. All the while, you’re probably writing down the outcome of every phone call in a diary or spreadsheet. Ask your team to keep a simple record of all the time they spend doing all of these things chasing late payments from parents for a few weeks. When you look back over the diary, you may be shocked to discover how much time (and therefore money) you’re really spending on this administrative chore.
How much time do you spend matching payments?
Are you stuck in the administration office combing through a combination of cash, cheque, EFTPOS and credit card payments at the end of each week? The hidden costs of your time spent painstakingly counting cash, trekking to the bank to physically deposit cash payments, balancing your centre’s accounts, matching your payment records to your bank statement as you manually cross off who has paid and highlight who is yet to pay can be staggering and is likely to be causing a huge drain on maintaining your centre’s quality standards and profitability. The most savvy childcare centre managers are using up-to-the-minute software to automate the repetitive task of matching parents and payments – which means their precious time can be spent on more important things.
How much time do you spend jumping between systems?
How many different pieces of software do you need to manage a modern childcare centre? If you’re using the right software the answer should be, ‘one’.
Even if it only takes you five minutes to jump between screens and software (don’t tell us: you’re using a childcare centre management system, your internet banking portal plus a few of your own spreadsheets, right?) to get your parent payments processed then it’s five minutes too many. The best childcare centre management software will let you use plug-ins to seamlessly tie in with your other systems (like payments) so you can multi-task from within one screen. This will help you to cut down on your double handling of tasks and delete those clunky manual spreadsheets from your computer forever – saving you time and money.