A lack of qualified teachers always seems to top the list of needs for most schools. However, there is an even greater need when it comes to running an educational institution, and that is a need for a qualified accountant to manage the budget. Actually, there are several reasons for someone with a bachelor’s degree in accounting should be on staff, and all of them center on budget and tax reporting laws.
The Importance of Setting up Financial Procedures
One of the biggest issues in budgeting can arise when there are no procedures in place for how finances are managed. Whether it is incoming funding, outgoing expenses, or even reporting to the appropriate tax authorities, a procedure must be in place to ensure every penny is accounted for.
Accounting for Expenditures
Every school should be served by a professional with a minimum education of a bachelor’s of accounting. Funding comes largely from government sources and so it is imperative to account for every expenditure. Accurate records are a must when accounting and reconciling accounts but, unfortunately, few people have the skills to meet a school district’s accounting requirements. Discrepancies in expenditures lead very quickly to an audit, which no one ever wants to experience.
Government Reporting Requirements
Anytime the government is involved, the red tape is a huge issue. Nothing can be communicated in a simple memo or spreadsheet. Every penny must be itemized in an appropriate column on a specified form and sometimes completed in triplicate. Whether you have an online bachelor’s degree in accounting or have studied on-campus, you have learned the art of filling out and submitting government forms. As with anything the government does, the language is not always written in such a way as to be understood by a layperson. Put one figure in the wrong column and see just how quickly the authorities are scrutinizing your ledgers!
Budgeting Going Forward
While everyone from the school’s administrator to teachers and maintenance staff has submitted requisitions, few school budgets can accommodate everyone’s needs. It’s usually up to an accountant to weigh the relative value of every need in order to prioritize a budget for the upcoming term. Some things are feasible and some simply are not. It’s the accountant’s duty to sift through the chaff to get to the wheat.
Preparing for an Annual Audit
Most schools are part of a larger district and will be audited at least once a year. This is a different kind of audit from that which arises due to discrepancies in the reports including estimate business taxes. As each school needs to create a budget for the upcoming year, so too does the district. An accountant can better explain the financial state of his or her school so that the annual audit poses no problems for the school or the district at large.
In other words, it takes money to run a school, public or private. No one is able to account for and report the financial status of a school quite like an accountant with a degree in the field. With government forms to file and budgets to be reconciled, an accountant is a logical person for the job. If your school doesn’t have an accountant, that should probably your next item in next year’s budget!