Financial management is an issue that is often plagued by challenges. But this is even more so when it comes to schools. Policymakers delegate some degree of financial management to schools. This means that schools ought to have the right skills and mechanisms. Otherwise, without proper management, there will be an ineffective allocation of resources, poor performance, and possible disruption of learning.
Enhance Cost Containment Strategies
Schools are constantly trying to balance performance outcomes with the budget. The efforts towards enhancing performance often lead to miscalculation and over-optimism. This is something Julia DePinto-Perez, Vice President Business Finance Pillar College, experienced firsthand.
When Ms. Perez started working as a business administrator at the school, she noticed that there was a tendency to be overly optimistic about the budget. In addition to below target student enrolment and uncollected accounts receivables, the school was facing a fiscal deficit at the end of the financial year.
Ms. Julia DePinto-Perez started working on enhancing the system to mitigate the expected deficit. She improved the purchase order system and began a system of aggressive revenue collection. For more than 2 decades Julia DePinto-Perez has always placed academic return on investment a top priority.
Improving Communication and Transparency
In order to manage finances in schools effectively, there is a need for consultation and clear communication. The various stakeholders such as academic leaders, community members and members of the school board need to communicate effectively. Transparency and clear communication are crucial if the stakeholders are to meet their strategic goals.
Sometimes transparency is weakened by poor communication. Good communication strategies need to be adopted to enhance transparency. This includes tailoring the messages so that the various groups of stakeholders can understand them. Establishing clear channels of communication should also be a top priority in this area.
Create Strategic Long Term Plan
In the two decades that Ms. Julia DePinto-Perez has been a business administrator, she has learned the value of a long term strategic plan. In managing schools, it has proven to be effective in containing cash flow versus expenditure imbalances.
Without a strategic plan, it would be difficult for schools to manage their strategic goals and synthesize them with those of the stakeholders. A good long term plan should be broken down with clear guidelines on implementation. These plans make it easier to adjust and improve on the strategies, should it be necessitated by regulatory changes in the future.