Child care management software also referred to as child care administrative software or daycare accounting software is a term used to describe a unique category of business software designed specifically for use by child care centers, preschools and similar child oriented facilities. Such software is intended to increase staff productivity by recording unique child and family information.
This category of software incorporates aspects of other types of business software, notably accounting software, but typically addresses business management issues that are unique to child care and beyond the scope of generic business software. Immunization tracking and record keeping for the Child and Adult Care Food Program (CACFP) are examples of the specific nature of such software that appeals to a niche market.
Child care management software is typically developed by an independent software vendor, also known as an ISV]. Capabilities vary by vendor but may include tracking one or more of the following:
Authorized pick up persons
Photographs of children or pick up persons
Waiting list management
Classroom rosters and reporting
Summer camps, activities and after school programs
Child scheduling and attendance
Student meal counts
Automated billing for private pay and subsidized child care
Family tax statements and receipts
Electronic payment processing
Payroll and time cards
General accounting and financial reporting
Here you can learn which child care software is best suited to your child care center, home care center or day care center. Our ratings for the top brands in our industry is based upon available full featured child care software and then by the cost of the product as an offering of 'apples to apples' comparison. We will give you a calculated features to benefits differential of each product. Just because a software costs more or less does not make it the best product or value. Child care software is meant to run your whole child care organization not just one part of it. When we compare products we will be compare complete systems with equal functionality.
There are many childcare management software packages available that sell from $100 to over $3,000. The programs range from simple manual databases to fully featured automated systems, and come in both pc and web based varieties. There are many differences between the packages in quality, functionality, usability, stability, and support. These differences separate a useful and professional product from others that are really no better than using paper and pencil. When comparing software, look for features that would completely automate as many of your daily tasks as possible. Donít settle for software that would still make you do many things manually, including billing, record keeping, attendance, and payroll.
Childcare Management software is usually divided into programs for family, small, medium, and large sized centers. Many packages seem to imply that the smaller the center, the less functionality it needs. Functions including extensive batch processing, networking, flexible rates, extensive scheduling, and comprehensive reporting are usually reserved for medium and large center programs that are much more expensive. Some packages for family and smaller centers donít include a timeclock, and others require manual entry for all childcare charges. When comparing software for different sized centers, make sure that functionality to automate your center and save you time is included.
Most of our "professional software" competitors sell their software in modules, reasoning that you shouldnít have to pay for modules you donít need, and that you can start small and purchase additional modules later. Buying software in pieces is expensive, and modules are frequently codependent, so if you need a specific function, you have to buy several modules. In addition, how much time will you spend doing things manually until you can afford to purchase additional modules to automate the functionality you need? (see below, we priced out the needed modules from our "module" competitors for a minimal set of functions that most centers would need. Even though we didnít include many other modules that most centers wind up purchasing, the prices are eye-opening.)
Childcare Management software comes in both pc-installed and web based systems. Both of these platforms offer somewhat similar quality and functionality, but there are some key differences. Disadvantages of web-based systems include: 1) The user is really leasing the software; they donít own the software, they donít own their data, and they must keep paying the monthly cost to use the software.
2) If something happens to the web-based software company, all the data is gone.
3) The user must have a reliable and fast internet connection to use the software effectively, and even with a fast connection, waiting several seconds to change children and to change screens is time consuming and counter-productive.
4) The monthly cost can always increase.
CHILD CARE CENTER MANAGEMENT SOFTWARE MINIMUM STANDARD REQUIREMENTS:
A great child care management software should come with all of the following minimum standards to run your Child care business and comes with such a complete set of functions, including:
- stores every Day's complete information including immunizations, medical information, and parent and pickup person information, with photos for everyone
- includes Day and center journals to record progress reports, incidents, daily checklists, etc
- flexible enough to handle monthly, weekly, daily, and/or hourly billing, full time/part time billing, prepaid attendance, drop-off billing, coupons, and even different billing rates for different days and times
- graphically tracks and automatically generates child bills, with the ability to email bills to parents
- graphically tracks staff hours and automatically generates staff payroll
- lets parents and staff sign themselves in/out with the included Time clock program
- tracks all center expenses including mileage and applies time-use percentages
- creates attendance and staffing reports that show daily and even hour-by-hour attendance and schedules
- creates USDA meals charts, and includes full menu planning functionality
- includes full activity planning functionality
- runs accounting reports that show payments, income, which children are behind in their payments, and which staff you owe wages to
- creates form letters through Microsoft Word
- creates, recalls, and sends emails with built in email functionality
- protects your data with the built-in backup system and 4 level password protection
- includes Childcare forms to help you comply with laws and protect your business
- supports any international currency format
- creates custom reports with selectable information, column order and contact grouping (reports output to Notepad, Microsoft Word or Microsoft Excel)
Child Care Management Software is what makes running a child or day care a joy. It leaves you with more time for the kids.