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Software for funding compliant invoices - help!


Blondie1
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Help!! We use First Steps nursery management system and are having a complete nightmare trying to make the invoices compliant for our funded children. Does anyone else use this system or can you recommend another one that is simple to use and that produces accurate invoices the parents can understand??

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Hi Blondie1

 

We use FirstSteps and they were really helpful when we had to set up our invoices to meet our LA's funding requirements. If you ring their tech support with your requirements they should talk you through setting it up?

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Hi Masha. Thanks for that, we have been on the phone to the support desk. The issue we have is it not being clear exactly what sessions the parents are paying for as all their sessions are on the invoice as it is linked to the booking pattern. It used to show the funding as a deduction, but obviously that's not compliant. Do you charge for food? We do and it lumps lunch and tea together as well, showing 5 meals not 10 for meals taken on 5 days. The parents are not finding it too helpful!

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I'll try and explain how we do ours, in case it helps you

We are full day care, so for the children that attend all year round we have first steps set up so that it deducts the funding monthly but doesn't show the amount on the invoice, just the number of hours. Our LA are happy with this as long as the invoice states that the amount shown is for services in addition to any free hours.

For children that just use their free hours we have a fee structure set up called 'free entitlement' where the fee rate is zero, so children still show on the register but aren't charged. On this fee structure we also have a charge possible for lunch and tea - we click the little box on the bottom of the booking form and it charges the child accordingly. I can't remember if it shows lunch and tea as separate on the invoices as we haven't had a child pay for tea for ages!

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Hi Masha. Thanks for that. We did something similar, but the LA wanted to show exactly what sessions the parents were paying for on the invoice, but we can't do that as it is linked to the booking pattern therefore showing all sessions. I think we need to revert to what we had before which sounds the same as you, a line on the invoice stating fees for additional hours, plus I can give the parents a summary sheet detailing exactly what they are paying for each week and hopefully that will satisfy the picky LA!! What authority are you in? The issue we had was that First Steps actually got all the invoices wrong for our funded children and we have had to do them manually - do you have problems with the system at all? The fee structure for those only doing free hours is a good idea. Do most of yours do stretched? Are you losing income with them not paying for meals? It's fun isn't it??

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Hi Blondie1

I'm in Calderdale. It took a while, and several nurseries working together, to come up with a way of invoicing that LA, nurseries and parents were happy with, but now it's set up Fist Steps handles it all - provided I don't make any mistakes entering the data! I have to keep a little checklist for which boxes I need to tick for which kind of fees, and I had to stop trying to accommodate every request for an attendance pattern outside of the norm, otherwise I'd spend all my time working out invoices and registers!

 

We have about a 2-third/1-third split of children doing free hours plus lunch and those that come all year round. Definitely has an impact financially, especially as the funding has stayed the same for years. Sometimes I think that's why they don't want us to show the amount on the invoices!

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  • 2 weeks later...

I've been asked to mention that Toddlenomics, a nursery management cloud-based software, is funding-compliant. I have no experience of this system so I'm not recommending it, just signposting it as it's a direct answer to the topic question. If anyone else has any experience of it that would be helpful.

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