What’s really important: kids or cashflow?

When you're operating a childcare centre in Australia, it can be easy to get caught up in the overwhelming administration demands. Dealing with compliance, cash flow management and marketing can childcare centre cash flow absorb a lot of hours in each day, leaving you little time to deal with what really matters – the children.

However, the alternative is also true. If you dedicate too little time to administration, you could soon see your business floundering under growing debts and a shrinking client base.

So, how do you strike the right balance between child care and business care? Here are three ways to give you more time to focus on the kids in your centre.

Automate payments from parents

While the amount of revenue your childcare centre attracts is important, it is even more vital to ensure these payments are coming in as efficiently as possible.

Have you found yourself combing through mountains of cash, cheque, EFTPOS and credit card payments at the end of each week? Relying on such methods for your income can create huge administration burdens for you and your team, particularly when having to chase late or lost income.

Fortunately, simple adjustments can be made to streamline your income processes. In particular, you may want to make automated payment terms (such as paperless direct debit and BPAY) the default option. This minor change will help improve your centre's cash flow management, as well as reduce the amount of time spent chasing late payments from busy parents.

Take it slow

Change can be difficult for most of us, so it's important that you take small steps to start saving you time. Most parents will welcome the chance to automate payments, and forget about carrying cash or having those awkward conversations about late payments. If you communicate your intentions with parents, outline how it will help them (saving time), how it will help the centre (more funds to spend on the centre) and how it will help you (less wasted admin time).

Get everyone involved

It is not uncommon for business owners to shoulder the burden of administration on his or her own shoulders, or hire a small and dedicated team to hide cash flow challenges from the rest of the staff.

However, it may be more beneficial to try a new approach. Educate your staff at every level of the centre on cash flow issues and opportunities.

Many workers may not completely understand the pressures management are under, but would jump at the chance to expand their knowledge base. In particular, as competition for promotions and management roles increases, individuals who demonstrate an interest in business performance and parent management can put themselves into a better position for future opportunities.

You can take advantage of this by encouraging staff to get involved with cash flow attrition and parent discussions, including the retention of families. If front-facing staff are interested and knowledgeable in business performance, they may be more likely to understand the importance of retaining loyal parents.

This is also beneficial for any childcare centre owner, as it reduces the amount of administration work you have to put in to marketing and retention strategies.

When the burden of cash flow management and other administrative tasks begins to impact on your ability to provide quality care to the children, it may be time to consider these important revenue tips.