Reporting. It’s time consuming. It’s often tedious. And having to change your processes annually to meet the requirements of the Ministry of Education can make it even more challenging. Matching the Ministry’s reporting standards overwhelms your staff and takes more of their time away from accomplishing your mission: managing and serving your many schools.
But does reporting have to be a constant struggle for school boards? In this blog we’ll dive into how you can use your financial management solution to improve your reporting process efficiency, keep up with the Ministry, and empower your finance team!
The Problem of the Process:
The best part about financial reporting is that it’s scheduled: you know exactly what you need to report on and when you need to do it by. You have to provide the Ministry with statements of financial position, operating expenditure, and operating revenue reports on a monthly basis. You’re also publishing your usual reconciliation reports: budget vs. spending, actual spending, and POs and commitments. It’s a process that you’re familiar with.
But even though you’re a master of K12 reporting, there’s still one challenge that school board finance managers continue to face: the changing reporting requirements of the Ministry of Education.
Why this is such a challenge? The main problem is that keeping up with Ministry reporting requirements takes time away from your already-busy finance team. Suddenly your team doesn’t just have to filter through tons of data, but they also have to take the time and care to make sure the information matches the Ministry’s (possibly new) requirements.
This might seem like an unstoppable time-guzzler. But it isn’t! There’s a reason we called it a challenge, not a road block.
How to Overcome:
The easiest way to lift the weight of the Ministry off of your department is to use your financial management solution to its fullest potential. Below we’ve listed two ideas for using financial management systems to improve reporting efficiency:
- Quick Reporting Add-ons: At Waterloo Catholic District School Board, the finance team has used Jet Reports along with their existing finance solution (hyperlink) to speed up the reporting process. Using these solutions, WCDSB mirrors the Ministry’s annual reporting requirements so they can stop focus on formatting and focus more on reporting.
- Existing Functionality: The finance team at Sudbury Catholic District School Board found a way to match the Ministry using an existing function in their financial software. With the “Analysis By Design” function in their Altus Finance Solution, the team has set up the dimensions to match the Ministry’s with a simple click. Before using this function, this task would take an entire day, but now they can filter exactly how they want in minutes!
It’s inevitable. The Ministry of Education will always change their reporting standards. But it doesn’t have to be an uphill battle. There are plenty of ways to use your financial solutions to overcome this problem. By just taking some time at the beginning of each fiscal year to match your reporting to the Ministry’s requirements, in the long-run you’ll save time on reporting and have more to spend on managing your schools!
Want to make sure that you're implementing the best processes at your board? Take a look at our 2015 Essential Guide to Improving School Board Operations.