Technology is an unavoidable part of our everyday lives. We use it to keep tabs on friends and family, share our stories on social media, and search for information. We turn lights on and off and preheat the oven. And we shop – oh, how we shop.
Guess what else we do with technology? PAY BILLS. But not the bills in envelopes we grab from the mailbox and throw in a pile on the table every day. Those, we forget.
That’s one reason I love electronic billing – the convenience of getting them sent right to my smartphone so I can check my statement and pay with a click of a link.
But that’s not the only reason to love going paperless for your tuition billing. Check out why else it can work for your childcare business:
Paperless Tuition Billing Cuts Your Supply Costs Down to Size
Office supplies are expensive, and electronic tuition billing and receipting can help you cut back on recurring expenses and improve your bottom line. You’ll spend less on paper, stamps, ink, envelopes and bandaids for all those papercuts you get sorting bills and stuffing envelopes.
Take a look at where you can cut costs by making the switch to paperless:
- Paper – This is an easy one. If you’re mailing invoices yourself, you’re using paper. If you’re using a service to process your bills, they’re using paper, and you’re being charged for it through the fees you pay them.
- Envelopes – No printed invoices or receipts means no envelopes needed to keep them private or drop them in the mail. It also means not having to lick that nasty glue to seal them.
- Postage – Stamps cost money, and the cost of postage seems to get higher every other year. Unless you invested in a warehouse of infinity stamps 20 years ago, you’re paying more and more each year to mail invoices, receipts, and notices.
- Ink or Toner – Aside from paper itself, traditional statements require a constant supply of printing materials. Printer cartridges are expensive, and they always seem to run out at the worst possible time.
- Equipment – It’s nice to have a fancy printer and copier, but it’s not so nice when you have to pay to have it repaired or replaced. The more you use yours, the faster the parts wear out. If you’re sending invoices and printing receipts weekly, yours may quit on you sooner than you think.
- Gas – Unless you live next door to your bank, driving there every day on your way home to make deposits uses gas. While it may seem like a small expense for one day, it adds up over time. Paperless tuition bills and electronic payments make those bank trips a thing of the past.
Your Staff Will Love You For It
How long does it take your staff to produce paper invoices and receipts each billing cycle? We interviewed center directors from across the country, and they agreed that their administrative staff spends an average of 20-30% of each week on tuition billing.
If you bill weekly like many other centers offering full-time childcare, your administrative staff may start to feel like all they ever do is print invoices, stuff them into envelopes, and prepare them for the mail.
Sorting through stacks of envelopes containing cash and checks is also time-consuming, not to mention recording those payments and producing receipts one by one. When you’re finished sorting through that, you have to prepare your bank deposit, make copies, put copies in files, and shred anything that’s left over. When does it end?
When enrolling new parents, make electronic invoices and receipts your default delivery method so the only people getting a paper statement are the ones who specifically ask for it. By asking parents to receive statements via email or push notification using a mobile app, you could save up to 80% of the time you spend on your AR routine.
Cut the Clutter with a Clean Tuition Billing Routine
No one likes clutter. That pile of mail we throw on the table always seems to take on a life of its own, and when we finally get around to opening it, the things we keep end up in yet another pile.
Switching to paperless tuition billing and payments means you’ll never misplace a check in a pile of junk mail, and you’ll never accidentally throw one away because it is stuck in the bottom of the envelope.
When you go paperless, you can relieve yourself and your staff from the mental stress of being greeted by endless piles of paperwork each day. Less paper also means less filing, and that means less filing cabinets eating up valuable square footage.
End the Waiting Game with Paperless Tuition Billing
When paper statements are sent home with little ones, weeks can go by before parents find them in the bottom of the backpack. If you send them by mail, it can take forever for it to make its way to the top of the stack of envelopes that parents commit to “looking through later.”
Email is instant and a regular part of many working parents’ daily lives, so an electronic bill is likely to be opened, viewed, and most importantly, paid sooner.
With paperless billing, you’ll break the cycle of rushing to get invoices to the mailbox in time, and that means less delays in getting those tuition bills in the hands of parents. With a mobile app, there is an even greater chance to expedite payment because bills are seen the second that push notification hits their smartphones.
Call Off the Search for Files
“When’s my payment due, and how much was it again?” If you need to look through files for a paper copy of the invoice from that tuition billing period, it might be time to save yourself a lot of headaches and go paperless.
When you receive an electronic invoice, it doesn’t matter where you are — as long as you have access to the Internet, you have access to your statement. This works the same for parents if you use a childcare management system with an online parent portal.
With this type of commonplace technology, parents can log in to view account information and payment history, then make payments online. This also means when they’re out of town for work or vacation, they can still receive invoices and make payments.
You’ll Stop Communicating by Post-It
Communication is critical to any aspect of your childcare business, and sharing knowledge with your staff is a key part of having a successful childcare center. Using online tools not only reduces paper in the office, it makes it easier for your team to share information.
Susie’s mom dropped off a check at the end of the day yesterday? There’s no need for post-its or confusion – your morning tuition billing team has an electronic record in your childcare management system, so your staff has access to real-time billing and payment data.
Protect Sensitive Personal and Financial Information
Paper bills require printing, and that means personal information like account numbers and home addresses will be on display for anyone to see. Printed invoices are easy to misplace, especially during the hustle and bustle of pickup and evenings filled with activities and homework.
Electronic tuition billing allows centers to communicate personal and account information directly to parents and families. Emailed invoices never show full credit card or bank account information, and they live in your desktop or mobile device.
Accessing ledgers and payment histories through an online portal provides another layer of security to help protect sensitive personal and financial account information.
Teach Environmental Responsibility by Example
Switching from paper to electronic tuition billing can help you take a step toward environmental responsibility – and it is a great way to practice what you preach when teaching children about conservation and recycling.
Moving from paper to online statements offers some environmental benefits you may not have considered. We all know that going paperless saves paper and trees, but here are some other big boosts to the future of our planet:
- Reduce greenhouse gases
- Create less wastewater in the paper production process
- Save million of gallons of gas delivering mail
The Bottom Line: There are many benefits in breaking away from traditional paper statements. Going paperless doesn’t just reduce environmental impact, it helps childcare businesses reduce costs, save staff time, and improve cash flow by making it faster and easier for parents to pay.