Category: Data

Personnel Costs for Negotiations

Have you ever been in this situation? The lead negotiator for the district says that they need those calculations for the cost of a 1% raise and the cost of one day of salary. Negotiations are starting in 10 minutes. You get that frozen look on your face because this is the first time you

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Bank Reconciliation

Continuing my occasional series on “the basics” this post addresses something I almost skipped, thinking it was perhaps too basic. Then I worked with an employee who reconciles the district’s clearing account, cafeteria account and student body accounts. I realized that the concept of bank reconciliation might be foreign to younger employees.  Growing up in the era of

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When Your Chart of Accounts Gets Out of Hand

Is your school district’s chart of accounts not working for you? Here are some questions to ask when designing a new one.

What’s Your Sign?

How might you introduce a new accounting employee to an unfamiliar financial system?  First of all, you might want to warn them about any quirks in how the system shows signs. There are two ways to display signs:  Normal and Debit /Credit. Currently I am working with a system that mixes both in the same report.  I know!  I know!  You

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Excel Mastery is What Exactly?

I used to think that the more Excel formulas you knew and the more adept you were at macros, the more you could claim Excel mastery. I have changed my mind.  Those who create complex spreadsheets that are beyond the skill and understanding of their users are pushing the program beyond it’s useful limits. Spreadsheets

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The Giant Account Coding Monster

“Here’s your process. It satisfies all my needs.” Even when there is lots of customer input, the more powerful party will resolve disagreements in its own favor. Even though California’s Standardized Account Code Structure (SACS) is far superior the previous system and was a done deal fifteen years ago, whenever I take an assignment in

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Peeking Behind the Curtain

Pay no attention to that man behind the curtain!  Most of us have seen the movie “The Wizard of Oz.”  The mighty Oz is a fearful sight until Toto pulls back the curtain to reveal an ordinary man pulling levers and talking into a microphone. The lesson is that sometimes the awesome and magical turn out to be an

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Size Matters

In the course of my career I have occasionally heard some unsavory “us versus them” talk. Teachers versus non teachers Certificated versus classified Management versus non-management School versus district Parents versus school administration Some discussions of the Local Control Funding Formula (LCFF) resort to this rhetoric, most notably the “school versus district” polarity.  I have previously mentioned the

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What Does it Take to Get Fired?

Sometimes, Not Much The article Fatal IT Distractions lists mistakes that will lead to immediate dismissal in the IT world: things like forgetting to back up data nightly or not testing your disaster recovery plan prior to a disaster. This made me ponder.  What will get you fired in the world of school finance? I am not talking about obvious offenses

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