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Five Tips for the Summer Business Office

The academic year is over, and it’s time to think ahead to the summer months.  Business offices are year ’round operations, and many independent schools spend a portion of summer preparing for the annual financial audit.  When that deadline has passed, you may have some time to focus on other things before the next school year begins.  Summer can be a good time to review established business practices – what works well, and what needs improvement.  Here are some suggestions to get you started.

Review Tuition and Enrollment Methods

There’s a seasonality to enrollment and tuition. Think about necessary changes before the next cycle begins in earnest.   By doing so, you’ll improve workflow, strengthen parent communication, and reduce tuition payment bottlenecks.   If cash and paper checks are your only methods for accepting tuition, consider simplifying the process by allowing tuition payments online.

Consolidate Payment Providers

Does your school use a number of payment processors?  Are you spending too much time across departments on reconciliation, PCI compliance, and training issues for each processor? You may want to consolidate all of your processing with one provider.  You’ll save time and have only one processor to work with for payment issues.

Add Merchant Accounts Based on Payment Category

Although adding accounts might sound like the opposite of consolidation, it’s not.  By establishing multiple accounts, a school can quickly and easily identify which payments were made for the annual fund, the capital fund, the bookstore, etc.  Different departments can look up, through their own account, all payments received each month without having to ask the business office to generate a special report that separates expenditures.

Submit Your PCI Self-Assessment Questionnaire

Every merchant agreement requires your school to comply with payment card industry standards and annually submit an SAQ to review that the standards maintained. Complete the questionnaire in summer and check it off your to-do list for the coming year.

Make Purchase Card Program Adjustments

Review your current process and policies for individual cardholders on the account.  Look at the past year’s spending habits, needs for possible expansion or control, and make the necessary adjustments before the next school year begins.

Questions?  Speak With the Experts!

While reviewing your practices, consider speaking with the subject matter experts at Diamond Mind. Our payment solutions and services are designed specifically for independent schools.  We can be reached at 888 566-0945 x777 or info@diamondmindinc.com.