5 tips for better use of the Debtors module

Thanks so much to Kim Macdonald from Precision Management Accounting for sharing this useful information with our Synergetic community.

Synergetic Debtors Module

You don’t know what you don’t know!

Ever heard of that phrase ‘You don’t know what you don’t know’? How true is it? Schools are busy places, and unfortunately taking the time to attend further training or investigating ways of using the product better is usually at the bottom of the ‘to-do list’ for administration staff.

Precision Accounting has worked with many schools using Synergetic software and have commonly found that some handy features of the application are being underutilised.

Often schools only establish what they were using in their legacy system, and don’t have the time or understanding to investigate what other features are available to use and how it could improve the productivity of the Finance Department. Accounts Receivable is a critical function of non-government schools for cashflow, Debtor Management and Risk.

Have you ever considered how effective your debtor management processes are, and if you are using Synergetic in a way that best suits YOUR school profile and culture? The set up and processes for one school, may not be appropriate for the next. To help you get the most from your Synergetic Debtors module, here are five key features that will have a significant impact on efficiency and productivity of the finance department and debtor management.

5 tips for better use of the Debtors module

  • Debtor Electronic Payments

    Schools offer a variety of payment options to families, but how many of them are you still receipting manually? BPay, Credit Card and Direct Debit payments can all be automatically receipted with minimal setup requirements.

    Furthermore, if you are utilising third party providers to process payments on your behalf (i.e. PaySmart, Ezidebit, SecurePay etc), these transactions can also be uploaded into Synergetic if the file supplied is in a compatible format. Think of how much time you could save if you are currently receipting any of these payment types manually!

  • Debtor portal

    Did you know Synergetic has an online debtor portal? The portal can be setup to allow debtors to self-manage their accounts, including making payments online, setting up payment plans, updating payment methods, viewing debtor statements and having access to current account balances and account transaction history.

    Ask yourself how many phone calls and emails your accounts receivable officer attends to during a day or week addressing balance enquiries or to update credit card expiry dates? Could that time be better spent on other tasks such as having personal communication with the debtors that need the reminders and follow up to manage their account?

  • Debtor Charges & Instalment Fee Billing

    The Instalment Billing feature is an alternative way of processing school fees. Auto-Tuition is performed at the start of the school year, however they are not charged to debtor accounts until they fall due. The due date can be according to an individual debtor’s payment plan or a default option as determined by the school.  This billing process is far less time consuming than billing fees multiple times throughout the year, and the aging of debtor charges is more accurate allowing better analysis and debtor management.

    Other benefits of Instalment Billing include:

    • Transparency of total fees payable and due date – families know their exact obligations prior to commencing the school year and payment options don’t require a manual calculation.
    • Early payment discounts can be automatically calculated on statements.
    • Staff can view an instant snapshot of the annual fees applicable to the debtor and the instalment charges that are both outstanding and not yet due at any time.
    • Fees in Advance are automatically recognised as unearned income and transferred when the instalment is due.
    • Reporting is more comprehensive and Income Projection reports can be generated per debtor and/or Fee types.
  • Debtor Statement Groups and Arrangements

    Statement Groups and Arrangements are available to be used to assist with the distribution of statements and to distinguish debtor types (i.e. family vs trade), as well as document specific arrangements regarding the debtor accounts and payments. But are you aware that the debtor reports in synergetic can be generated according to these groups therefore improving internal reporting? Most schools already utilise statement groups but establishing Arrangements creates a secondary level of reporting and assists with debtor management.

    For example, you could run an aged report to produce balances for Debtors that have left the school that have a monthly payment arrangement, and a separate one for those debtors with no arrangement, as the follow up priorities and actions of your staff will be different for each of those groups. How specific you get with Statement Groups and Arrangements is up to you, but we strongly recommend schools review their existing statement groups and arrangements with the intent to improve debtor reporting outcomes.

  • Debtor Comments, Communications and Correspondence

    The three C’s!! Every school we work with has used these features of Debtor Maintenance differently, but they all relate to communication between the school and the debtor.

    Here are a few suggestions for logging communications:

    • Use Debtor Comms to record interactions between both parties as this can track when it was logged and by whom; record a follow up date; and mark when a follow up is resolved.
    • Use the Comment tab to record summary information about the debtor for reporting purpose, or to record an important message that you would like staff to be notified of when they are inputting transactions for that debtor, such as “Sensitive family circumstances, family negotiating with Business Manager”
    • Consider using Synergetic Correspondence for finance communications – most schools already use this for student notifications and messaging, but few are aware that this can also be used for finance, and the communications can be categorised to identify this. For example, you could run the aged debtors report for balances greater than 30 days using ONLY a Current Families Statement Group and Monthly Arrangement Group, and send a group message from within synergetic to those debtors to inform them that they are behind in their arrangement – they may have just overlooked a payment but this is a quick way of initiating a reminder and by doing this directly from Synergetic the communication is automatically logged!

Where to from here…? 

How you are using these 5 discussed features at your school?

Be aware that just because you are using something, doesn’t mean you are using it in the most efficient way, so take the time to review your processes and use the following resources:

  • Use the Synergetic Wiki page to access help guides and online resources – knowledge is power.
  • Talk to other schools using Synergetic – shared knowledge is even more powerful.
  • Take time out to attend trainings and webinars no matter how busy you are – these are invaluable for learning about the features of the system and can be an opportunity to network and establish relationships with people from other schools.
  • Speak to Precision to discuss how we can assist in process review or project management to implement Synergetic enhancements.

Need more training?

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2018-12-04T10:27:32+00:00