If you run a school or a daycare, you may already have replaced some or all of your check payments with pre-authorized bank account payments (also called automated bank withdrawals or direct debits).
The advantages of going from paper to digital payments are known and obvious: less back and forth, less security risk, no need to go to the bank, and better for the environment.
But getting funds in is only one step of the process. From billing to transaction reconciliation and everything in between, school and daycare staffs spend considerable time collecting tuition or other fees, even if they have already adopted some form of digital payments.
The reason is almost always because they are not using a tool or software that was custom built for education. Instead, they go through their banking platform or use generic small business payment tools. Both alternatives entail work arounds and end up wasting a lot of time.
Here are the issues and areas that matter in order to make sure that you are not making your life difficult when collecting your tuition payments.
#1 You should not have to ‘run’ a file
Certain banks or tools will get you to upload a spreadsheet every time you want to receive a batch of payments. You should run away from such process. It is unsecure, because the spreadsheet likely contains the bank account info of all your families. It is inconvenient, because you have to make the upload several days in advance of the due date. And it is inflexible, because it’s quite difficult or constraining to make any change once the upload has been made.
#2 You should not have to manually input your parents’ bank information
Being required to enter dozens or hundreds of bank account details manually is time consuming, prone to errors, and significantly insecure. It also requires you to collect that information from parents in the first place, which involves paper, sensitive data and back and forth.
The most secure, convenient and efficient tools allow you to gather bank account information directly from the parents through a secured family portal (or at least, we do). Another benefit of offering a portal is that parents have an easy access to all their invoices, and they get a notification when an invoice is coming due, hence drastically reducing the risk of NSF (non-sufficient funds) accidents.
#3 Speaking of NSFs…
When accidents do happen, they need resolution. The first step is finding out whether a payment has come back returned, and from whom. You should be getting this information in a weekly/monthly report from the provider you use, which is the best way for you to stay on top.
An efficient provider will even go further and take steps to resolve the NSF situations directly with the parents, allow you to re-process the payments easily yourself, or all of the above.
#4 Transaction reconciliation should not be a nightmare
Remember why you implemented digital payments? To make your life easier.
So, don’t give some of that time back by reconciling payments to your invoices manually.
A well-performing tuition billing software platform will automatically reconcile each fund transfer received to the corresponding family invoice, so that you don’t have to.
And just in case you do want to do that anyways, you should get easy access to on-demand spreadsheets and reports in order to do so.
Next time you are doing your monthly tuition, reflect on whether your internal processes, tools and time investment make sense. Often, even the solutions offered by large firms are too generic and not entirely adequate for school or daycare billing. Instead, go with a provider specialized to your space which will be able to offer you the custom features most relevant to the education context.
TUIO is the #1 billing & payments platform in the educational space. Principals, owners, administrators and daycare supervisors save hundreds of hours each year automating their administrative billing tasks on TUIO and providing families with a secured TUIO account where they can seamlessly provide pre-authorizations for payment of their upcoming school or daycare invoices. If you would like to see for yourself what TUIO can do for your organization, schedule a demo and/or read some of our customer testimonials.