School treasurers have the complicated job of managing a district’s finances, but that doesn’t mean that their decisions are unilateral. It’s important to make sure you have an integrated board in mind when making those key decisions about your school district, like balancing budgets, planning a predetermined yearly budget, and protecting various committee funds.
By integrating your board, you have a greater chance of creating functional management plans that win board approval. Since most schools are underfunded, this is important to not only the districts’ success, but also to the success of its K-12 students.
With that being said, below are 5 different ways school treasurers can work with their board members to better a district’s financial outlook.
This one goes without saying, but creating detailed 3-4 year strategic plans will help keep your district aligned on financial goals and within budget. School treasurers should try to include the school board when building these plans, to ensure that they align with the key needs and development goals of the school district.
Consider the 3 keys to success for strategic planning in education when facilitating board-to-treasurer communication.
Technology like ERP (Enterprise Resource Planning) software, online Accounting platforms, and Student Roster Integrations can help improve your district’s financial management. These platforms also streamline school treasurer’s jobs: reducing time spent in the back office and improving overall accuracy.
Just as importantly, technology helps improve visibility for key stakeholders (ex. Board Members) through benefits like interactive financial reporting. Selecting the right software is crucial, but there are many guides that can help treasurer’s make the right decisions.
Open communication between board members and the school treasurer is critical to the financial success of a school district. When sharing information, make sure that all the stakeholders understand the key goals, initiatives, and budgets.
You may consider creating hard documents, like powerpoint slides or pdf reports, that can be re-read and examined by board members later. That way, board members can ask questions and feel fully informed even after your presentation.
Creating a routine, such as end-of-month reporting, is an easy way to keep your board members up-to-date on school finances. Since school treasurers often analyze reports as part of their day- to-day, they are always aware of district budgets and financial activity.
Consistently sharing these updates with board members doesn’t take as much time as preparing ad-hoc reports, and helps foster collaboration between you and your district's board.
The strongest school boards are diverse, bringing professionals with a variety of skill sets together. Unfortunately, this means that some board members may not fully understand the breadth of financial reports presented to them, making it difficult for them to make informed decisions.
Hosting educational breakout sessions or interactive webinars with board members can help fill in any gaps on how to interpret upcoming financial documents, and position the board for success.