This is the Smart Tuition Tips & Tricks Blog.

Account Management: Billing And Payment Best Practices

Enrollment Season is understandably our busiest time of year, not only for the task of having families register to the school and into Smart Tuition, but also since that is when a large bulk of billing is applied to all your families at the same time. Depending on the nature of the billing item, whether it be tuition, a fee, or a discount, we have various ways they can be applied to the accounts.

You may already be familiar with our “Edit Billing Details” page which will allow you to update billing on an individual account. When you are dealing with a specific family change, this is a great tool, however it is certainly not the most efficient method when dealing with updates to your entire student population.

We have a batch tool within “Manage Families” on our site that is ideal when the tuition, fee, or discount is the same value for all the student selected, for example applying a Graduation Fee to all seniors or a Field Trip charge to another grade level. Items like these are typically the same amount applied to a batch of students, and you can select the month or months it should be applied.

Not all billing items are the same rate per student however, like tuition or financial aid. This is where we would suggest using our billing upload process. Your Account Manager will provide you an export of the students enrolled at that time prefilled with the Smart Family ID, family and student names as they appear in our system to ensure an exact match, and possibly the family’s payment plan if that information is needed at that time. We would also include a column for each item you wish to upload and discuss with you how you would like these items distributed on each account. You would then provide the values per student on the template, and send that back to us to upload.
Account managers take the time to not only apply the billing items provided in an upload, but they also run reports to verify everything send has been added correctly. The AR Billing report is the most used report for these checks.

To allow our team time to apply the billing and review their work, we recommend sending back the billing upload template a few business days prior to the invoice generation date. Please discuss with your Account Manager the specific deadline date for your school.
You may be asking yourself, “I have an Excel document with my student billing already, why can’t I send Smart Tuition this for my upload needs?” There are a few reasons why a school template is not accepted. Most importantly, we intentionally want to limit the amount of formatting adjustments needed to fit your spreadsheet into our required template. The template is specifically built in a way that our system will ingest. Less re-formatting equates to less room for human error. Also, since the Smart Family ID is required for most uploads, most likely this information is not already prefilled on a school built template. Another reason would be that we often find the student names vary on school built spreadsheets. For example, you may know student William Jones as Billy Jones and have Billy on your spreadsheet. The family however registered the student as William. If we had attempted an upload with student named Billy Jones, when we have William Jones on file, the upload would be rejected and it would elongate the time needed to complete the upload. For these reasons, Account Managers will insist that the school uses the template they provide.

Payment uploads are also available if you have a large amount of in school payments to post to family accounts. Instead of going account by account, we have a separate template specifically to record transactions collected in house. Please see your Account Manager for this template as well and to discuss the preferred deadline date. It will also be important to discuss with your Account manager how you would like these payments applied. Our payment upload process will use our default allocation method which will apply this credit to the first available balance. If the payments are intended to evenly reduce all future billing, they will still need to be added manually to customize the allocation per account.

During enrollment season, especially, the earlier you can provide these documents to your account manager the better. As the school year progresses, monthly uploads may be the best solution for you to apply recurring charges for lunch or enrichment fees for example. Please discuss a timeline with your Account Manager that works well for you both and I’m sure you will find the process to be seamless.
 
Posted by Diana Urato on Jul 16, 2017 4:36 PM America/New_York

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