Time management tips to stay ahead of the NQF

5 min read

If you’re a childcare centre owner or manager (which we’re guessing you are, if you’re reading this!) you’re probably already an expert on the National Quality Framework (NQF), right? You know better than anybody that the NQF is an important part of the transformation of early childhood education in Australia and that, under the Framework, all early childhood centre owners are expected to develop their own strategy to implement the Framework in their childcare business. Time management tips to stay ahead of the NQF - Ezidebit

Although the NQF is great news for the children who are on the receiving end of new quality standards such as increased staff ratios in childcare centres, where does this leave the owners and managers of the smaller independent childcare centres who are left with the increased staffing costs? How are you adjusting to the increased time pressures that the NQF places on your business?

So we’ve put together our top four time management tips to help you stay ahead of the demands of the National Quality Framework (NQF).

Automate your top three most time consuming tasks

Just about every business has a list of draining administrative tasks that are massively time consuming and do nothing to improve profit margins. Consider which of your most time consuming tasks could be automated through the right software. In our dealings with childcare centre owners, we’ve learned that payment administration, keeping up with NQF reporting and payment discussions with parents are the top offenders for sucking valuable time out of childcare businesses (plus, making those late payment phone calls to parents can be extremely awkward!).

With the right systems and software, your most time consuming tasks could be crossed off your to-do list much faster. For example, a direct debit payment system could automatically collect payments from parents according to the time and frequency that works best for you – in fact, we estimate that the right direct debit software could reduce the time that childcare centre owners spend chasing late payments from parents by a whopping 95 per cent! The right automated solution could free up countless hours of precious time spent chasing late payments and help you to find better relationships with parents by removing the awkward late payment conversation.

Set aside time for reporting each week

Our childcare centre clients tell us that, since the introduction of the NQF, they are spending more time dealing with more decision makers and more government bodies as they strive to meet national quality standards and maintain accreditation. All of these added compliance and reporting structures take time, and time costs money! Try scheduling an appointment with yourself for reporting each week. Keep this appointment as a priority, turn off your phone and don’t let yourself be interrupted during this time. This will help you to stay ahead of the reporting demands and decrease ‘deadline stress’ at the same time.

Automate your repetitive tasks

Early childhood education and childcare centres are subject to large amounts of red tape. This places childcare centre owners under greater staffing and financial pressure.

Which of your most repetitive administration tasks could be automated to cut down on costs? Could something like your parent payments be automated through a direct debit or BPAY payment system instead of handled manually each week? There are some great products on the market that can help you to reduce the time (and therefore money) you spend on repetitive tasks like this every week. Look for a solution that can be integrated with your existing management software so that you can test and implement it easily. This also means you won’t have to completely reinvent your current setup or train staff on how to use a whole new management system. Time saving solutions can make a massive difference to your profit margins – it’s what successful childcare centre owners are doing to stay ahead of the demands of EYLF reporting. With a little bit of research, you can do it too!

Delegate to non-reporting staff

We know you are spending more money on staff as a result of the NQF’s increased staff ratios. So, you don’t want those precious extra staff stuck in the office running reports, making phone calls and other administrative tasks! Consider which of these jobs could be delegated to more junior staff so your precious hands-on staff can be used where they’re best qualified – with the children.

Your homework

When it comes to staying ahead of the demands of the National Quality Framework, a small investment in time now can save you stacks of time (and therefore money) every week into the future. Here’s your homework to get you started:

  • Identify your top three most time consuming tasks and see which of them can be automated. If you’re not sure which tasks are the most time consuming, ask your staff how you can help them to find more time in their workday – those time sucking tasks will soon be revealed.
  • Schedule that weekly appointment with yourself right now and stay ahead of your reporting demands – removing ‘deadline stress’ is good for business and your personal stress levels!
  • Start researching possible solutions to help you automate those repetitive tasks like receiving payments from parents.
  • Delegate administrative tasks to junior staff.
  • Check out your potential cost savings using our childcare cost saving calculator.

As they say, tomorrow you will reap the fruit of the seeds you sow today so, once you’ve worked out your potential cost savings using our childcare cost saving calculator, it might be time for you to plan that holiday using the time and money you have saved!