The concept of going paperless isn’t necessarily a new one. However, schools manage large data stores every single day, and all too many still rely on their physical data stores as the backbone of their operations.  

Chances are, you’ll already be implementing paperless technology in other areas of your life. Utilities, communications, and banking are just a few parts of our everyday lives that have moved online.  

The accounting and admissions process are both heavily document and data based for schools. This is why this department can often be the last to make the switch to an entirely paperless approach. But why is it vital that your school systems offer the functionality you need to move online? What features should you be looking for when considering a change? 

Why go paperless? 

As mentioned, paperless is the norm in most areas of our daily life management. We know that is makes more a smoother and more efficient process, as online portals, emails, and apps become the normal way to access our data and solve problems. So why should your school finance and admissions follow suit? 

Remove margin for error: It’s easy to make mistakes on paper or when completing tasks manually, especially when copying over data into a digital format. You’re likely already working with some digital systems, resulting in a need for duplication and digitisation. Remove the barrier to easy data synchronising and the potential for mistakes by working with a seamless online software and database. 

admissions and enrollment management software

Protect key student, parent, and financial data: With paper-based records comes the potential for loss or damage to key school data. You handle huge amounts of student, parent, and school data each day. It can be too easy for teams to lose track of documents. Even if you could remove the risk of human error, there’s no way to protect against external or environmental factors that could damage your physical data storage. 

Optimise the finance and admissions operational budget: Ultimately, paper printing and physical storage costs money, and will only continue to cost more as your school grows. This is an unnecessary cost that can be reduced easily by switching to a cloud-based and paperless solution. 

Meet parent expectations: In the same way that you are managing your personal finances or utilities online more than ever, so is your school’s community of parents. It’s almost expected to be able to manage accounts and payments online today, and it’s important to meet those expectations wherever possible.  

Maximise team efficiency: Removing the need for manual uploads and data entry frees up time for your teams to focus on the more skill-intensive tasks. Relying on outdated tech could also be preventing your team from reaching their full potential, so it’s important to provide them with the tools they need to perform at their best. 

The benefits of cloud-based software 

Cloud technology is commonplace in many of our daily-used software. So much so, that you may not even be conscious of that fact. Cloud-hosting enables schools to go paperless throughout their entire establishment, with a database that serves as one source of the truth for every department. 

Flexibility and accessibility: Cloud-based servers enable your staff to access the data that they need, anywhere and at any time. Your teams can work more flexibility, with the access they need to perform their roles without restriction. This is particularly key for schools that offer remote or flexible working options, as well as providing data for auditors when the time comes. 

admissions and enrollment management software

Data security: Despite this increase in accessibility, cloud technology still prioritises data security. Physical data stores are always at risk, as it’s impossible to truly protect these storage systems. This is especially true in schools that still rely on paper copies. Cloud servers are encrypted and sit behind steadfast firewalls. Working with the right solution provides maximum security. 

Limited downtime and easy updates: Cloud servers and software can be updated remotely, at any time. This ensures that your systems are always running the latest versions, resulting in the best functionality for your teams and keeping your security protocols up to date. Similarly, if anything goes wrong, fixes can be prepared and shared as soon as possible. 

Scalability: Cloud-based software grows with your school. There is no physical limit to the amount of data that you can store, as your databases will grow per your requirements. Make sure that your software and your data storage isn’t holding you back.  

Save on resources: Ultimately, physical storage options are expensive, and those expenses will only keep growing each year and as your school capacity grows. Whether you’re running paper storage or an on-site IT solution, it’s important to consider the increasing expense through the years, versus a cloud-based option. 

Key features in accounting and admissions software 

So, you’re considering making the switch to an entirely paperless approach for your admissions and finance departments. Where do you start? How do you know you’re getting the best functionality and that your teams will be able to work smoothly with the change?  

admissions and enrollment management software

There are some key features that you should look out for when searching for the most suitable software and a seamless experience: 

  • Portal integration: The admissions team aren’t the only users that will need to access admissions functionality. It’s important that your systems can integrate with more parent or student facing solutions, particularly for registration and payment of deposits or fees for admissions. That’s why you should consider a system that has all the key portals built-in. 
  • Workflows and automation: Workflows are there to maximise efficiency for users. For example, your admissions team likely follow the same process for each application and enrolment – how can your software support this? Similarly, your finance team should benefit from automations that support the management of invoices and documents – like the iFinance AP inbox for matching incoming purchase orders with their invoices.  
  • Flexibility and payment management: When working with both school and parent finances, flexibility is key. Independent and International schools need a solution that offers support for multi-currency, split billing, and easy online payment integration, to ease the fee payment process as much as possible. 
  • In-built reporting and Power BI integration: Data is at the heart of what you do at school. You need to understand the data points in order to understand your performance, and make smarter decisions. The same can be said for your admissions and finance teams. Your chosen software should have reporting built-in, providing you with key insights into your department’s trajectory against their goals. 
  • Full branding and customisation: Admissions is one of the first steps that a parent will experience with you and is, in some ways, your school’s first impression. It’s important to put your best foot forward, with a system that provides easy customisation for parent-facing portals and throughout the application process. 

Ultimately, a strategic change management process is the key to making the switch to a fully paperless approach. Your software provider should support you with this. Once your departments are fully onboarded, the best software solutions will move with you, resulting in less friction with each system enhancement or the introduction of new functionality.  

iSAMS for paperless finance and admissions management 

iSAMS’ dedicated solutions for the finance and admissions department, iFinance and iSAMS Admissions, work independently and together to provide your departments with the tools they need to drive performance.  

Built with education at their heart, these systems understand the needs of Independent and International schools and the requirements for a paperless approach throughout the education sector. Offering workflows, automations, cloud-based storage, and more, iFinance and Admissions could be the key to a seamless transition to paperless processes in your school.  

Interested in learning more about how they help schools around the globe every day? You can access a demo for each system below: