Be Your Bookkeeper's BFF
On this episode of “things they don’t teach you in college”: Handling the thousands of dollars that go through your chorus account every school year.
I learned basic operational tasks during my student teaching like:
Requesting and using a PO (purchase order)
Handling money correctly
If there’s one thing I can always count on hearing during our back to school meetings, it's “money can get you fired.” So no pressure, considering Choir, Band, and Orchestra directors are probably some of the primary people managing larger funds in a school.
From my time student teaching, and observing the bookkeepers I’ve worked with over the years, here’s how I’ve kept my money as organized as possible.
Keep A Paper Trail
If you don’t already use one, ask your office to purchase some 3-part receipt books like this one. Believe me, you’ll use them a lot. I think I’m on my 6th one this year. Why 3-part and not 2-part?
One for you. One for the office. One for the students.
If you’re taking up money for something specific, I also like using a spreadsheet as a quick visual for who’s turned in what. Even better, use spreadsheets on Google Drive! It makes sharing with the office so much easier!
Details, Details, Details
When I write receipts, I always include the following:
Reason for payment
How the student paid. If it’s a check, I always write the check number on the receipt, that way if there’s a mistake somewhere it’s a lot easier to look back and figure out.
Remaining balance for whatever they are paying for ( if any)
Give Yourself Peace of Mind: Get A Lock Box
Many of us are limited to less than an hour of prep. When you can’t turn in your money right away (or you need to send it with a student), lock boxes are great. Our office supplies us with money bags...but those don’t lock. I use this one.
Lock boxes are also great for organizing bills and coins. The top insert usually has dividers in it for whatever you need. I like to keep spare paper clips, pens, and coin rolls in my lock box, too.
Get Some Paper Clips
I use paper clips to keep paper money organized. I really like doing this when I’m taking in a large amount at once, because it speeds up the counting process for my bookkeeper. I started doing this after watching how she grouped bills while counting. Here’s how I paper clip bills and checks:
100’s and 50’s: individually
20’s: stacks of $500.00
10’s and 5’s: stacks of $100.00
1’s: stacks of $20.00
Checks: I sort checks from lowest to highest amount.
Change: If I have a lot of change, I roll it!
P.S.- take the time and turn your bills so they’re all the same direction!
Use A Post-It To Track Your Totals
I’m a huge fan of Post-it notes! Need to write a hall pass? Post-it. Kid hands you money with no form or envelope, and you have to remember who it belongs to at the end of the day? Post-it. Need to make a to-do list? Post-it.
Post-its also give me a little way to track my bills, checks, and coins after I organize and paper clip everything. I will go back through to make my final count, and track it like the picture above. When I turn in my money, my bookkeeper and I verify and check off each amount as she counts everything. If there’s a mistake, then we can isolate where the problem is a lot faster.
This system works well for me, and hopefully it's given you a couple of ideas to make your money tracking more efficient. If you have any tips that work well for you, share them in the comments!