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How does Balance work with Finance Systems in School Districts?

Finance software, also referred to as Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) Systems in school districts can be complex and hard to understand. Our signature product, Balance, is a software platform that integrates seamlessly with districts’ financial system to help connect spending to outcomes.

We’re often asked how Balance differs from a Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) system, so we decided to go straight to the source and ask Balance some questions.

Q: Balance, my district has a financial management system. What makes you different?

A: I pair with the existing ERP to unlock data and present it in a user-friendly way without the need for custom coding or report writing. You’ll still process transactions directly in the ERP, but use Balance to access that information. I help track spending over time, build collaboration between to the central office staff and school staff, and can help strategically plan how your resources are allocated.

Q: The reports I receive from my financial system are confusing and I can’t make sense of anything. Can you help me make sense of it all?

A: Yes! One of things I do best is present complex information in a user-friendly way. You can search for accounts or transactions using common language rather than codes and use filters to narrow down the long list of accounts to only those you want to see. Looking for salaries? Don’t look up the code (unless you want to)! Just type a word like “salaries” and I’ll show you every account with that word in your chart of accounts. You can save these searches for the future, one-click access to your information.

Q: Does Balance only help me access financial data?

A: I have the ability to store a variety of non-financial information as well so that spending can be analyzed against these data points. For example, some of our districts load the student achievement scores of a particular program or initiative. I can then display the budget or spending for this same program across locations to help leaders determine cost effectiveness.

Each district determines the additional information they want me to store, but some examples include:

  • Enrollment (aggregate by school and/or by grade)
  • School performance measures of progress and growth
  • Free and reduced lunch % by school
  • ELL % by school
  • SPED % by school
  • Position counts or FTE (by full-time/part-time)
  • Meals served (for food services analytics)
  • Square footage by location (for facilities analytics)

Q: Why does Balance only serve K-12 education?

A: Generally, school finance systems are designed to support a multitude of industries such as manufacturing, wholesale distribution, hospitality, sales, advertising, warehouse management, government and healthcare, so they don’t fit the needs of education leaders who are making decisions to increase student growth and achievement.

Balance was designed by educators specifically to support the complex needs of K-12 budget managers. Users have the ability to customize their experience through the use of filters, custom search options and the ability to show or hide only the information that is most important to them—such as a specific grant or program.

We believe that education leaders deserve a finance system that helps you drive the real bottom line: student success.

October 13, 2016