Technology makes life easier for admin staff

SND15-wk1-ADMIN-E-commerce-Wrap it Up operators1Ways to make the job easier are always going to be welcomed by busy administration staff, and as in many other areas of 21st-century schools in New Zealand, technology is providing the answers.

Sandra Finlay, founder of e-technology company Kindo, and online lunch service ezlunch, says she has been working with schools across the board – primary, intermediate and secondary, to help them streamline their administration, save time, and to bring more money in, faster.

“With kindo, it allows them to start using their school website to make transactions,” Ms Finlay says.

“Previously, this was expensive and difficult with specialised software and merchant accounts, but with Kindo there are no big set-up costs.”

The Kindo system has a number of easy-to-use functions, with one of the most popular being the ‘permission slip’.

“Traditionally, schools would send home a paper form with a tear-off slip for parents to sign to give permission for their child to take part in a sporting activity, for example.

“They would then make the payment through internet banking. When the slip was returned to school, the admin person would have to reconcile the slips with the bank deposits, which was very time-consuming.”

The permission slip also includes a section where parents can indicate if they are willing to be involved as a sports coach, or by providing transport.

“With Kindo, everything can be done online, all in the one package, such as fundraising, collecting donations, selling items, gathering information, and there is no data entry to be done.

“At this moment kindo schools are running uniform and tuckshops, collecting camp and bus money, taking sports and music class registrations, collecting donations and fees, stationery orders and running fundraisers, including a community triathlon,” Ms Finlay says.

“ICAS will no doubt be added in by the schools later this term as they update and change their listings according to what’s needed.”

To date, Kindo has been taken up as a new product by 25 schools, including Campbells Bay School on Auckland’s North Shore.

“Our experience with Kindo has been a pleasant surprise with how easy it is to set up, personalised efficient reporting and definitely time saving,” the school’s executive officer Karen McNair says.

“Our community likes the flexibility it offers with online 24-hour access and quick, easy account management.

Our administration team finds reconciling payments so much simpler and with the additional bonus of having the ability to collect information at the same time and report in a basic excel format, it really is a must for busy school offices with stretched resources.”

E-commerce system Wrap it Up has been developed by three working mothers. Business partners Jane Bornholdt, Rachel Ebbitt and Lucy MacGinley set up the system, which is “basically an online payment system for schools,” CEO Ms Bornholdt says.

“We’ve created a user-friendly system to help schools save time and money when dealing with payments coming into the school. Everything can be paid in one go, the payment history is recorded and the school can access the system 24/7 to see who has paid and what has been paid for. There’s no need for reconciling bank statements with payments, which is very time-consuming.

“All money is paid into a secure Trust Account where it’s safe, and each week Wrap it Up pays the money into the school bank accounts. She says schools that have the system installed find money comes in faster, which is another advantage. The weekly sausage sizzle is an example of how fundraising can run more efficiently.

Parents can pay for all sausage sizzles up front in one payment for multiple children, which means the school doesn’t have to collect the money each week. This reduces cash handling and cash being kept at the school, and avoids queues at the office with students coming to pay.”

Voluntary contributions, school excursions and sports fees are just a few examples of payments that can be made online with Wrap it Up. The system includes a ‘permission slip’, which again saves time and avoids paper slips being misplaced, Ms Bornholdt says.

“All these functions mean the admin staff can spend their time doing more interesting and productive activities. Fundraising committees also love the system because it lets them manage their stock such as lolly bags and glow sticks for school discos. By logging onto the system to see how many children will be going to the disco, they can pre-order so there’s less wastage.”

Wrap it Up operates throughout New Zealand and has so far had an enthusiastic response with lots of positive feedback from parents and office staff. Principal at Worser Bay School Jude Pentecost says: “The Wrap it Up team are great to work with and so professional.

We receive money in faster and the time saved by office staff in payment reconciliation has been greatly reduced. The fact that all payments are made into a Trust Account adds to the security of the system. It’s brilliant and we love it.”

“Wrap it Up is all about making life easier for both the parents and the school and we’re certainly achieving that.” Ms Bornholdt says.

Rosie Clarke

Rosie is the managing editor here at Multimedia Pty Ltd, working across School News New Zealand and School News Australia. She has spent 10+ years in B2B journalism, and has spent some time over the last couple of years teaching as a sessional academic. Feel free to contact her at any time with editorial or magazine content enquiries.
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