Child Care Accounting Software and Other Features

Expense/Financial Management – Managing the childcare center’s checkbook and producing financial statements are handled by the Accounts Payable and General Ledger component of accounting software. These functions allow the center to save time in paying bills, and analyzing the center’s financial results. Look for software that offers a complete accounting suite or integrates with Intuit’s QuickBooks software.

Payroll – Calculating wages, taxes, deductions, etc. is a time consuming process for any business. Many organizations use outside payroll services, but childcare payroll software can make this process relatively quick and easy. Centers that use a computerized time-clock should be able to transfer staff hours into this component, eliminating almost all data entry.

Parent Communications – Perhaps the most basic computer application of all is word processing. In addition to writing letters, today’s word processors offer sophisticated font, clip-art and layout control that allows you to produce attractive newsletters for communicating with parents and prospective families.

Childcare center management software should allow you to use your existing word processor (like Microsoft Word) to produce merge letters, which insert information from your databases. Products that have their own word processor will typically be limited in features and require you to learn an additional product that other people won’t know. The result is additional expense, rather than the savings such products claim to offer.

More and more centers find email is the most convenient way to communicate with families, so you should also look for childcare management software that integrates email. Some even offer affordable systems for designing sophisticated graphical e-newsletters that provide reporting on email delivery and open rates.

Food Program – The childcare food program requires a substantial reporting burden for those centers that participate. Typically this falls into two areas:

Meal Count Management – This allows centers to track children’s eligibility for the program and calculate the number of meals served by eligibility class. This information can either come from the child schedules (and then be adjusted) or from the time-clock data.

Menu Planning/Food Production – Allows childcare centers to establish menus and calculate required food purchases based on serving size and unit size data. Although this requires a great deal of initial setup, those centers that are required to document menus and food production reports will find this very useful.