On any regular day, professionals at educational institutions have more than enough work to keep them busy. Administrators must manage budgets and financial goals, outline policies and procedures, and help set up educational missions and standards. Teachers, in addition to educating students in the classroom, must also grade papers and exams, keep their classroom supplies stocked, and prepare for future lessons and meetings.
Unfortunately, all of these tasks and more means leadership at most K-12 and higher education establishments are too busy to properly keep track of one of a school’s most important concerns: its assets.
Every year, educational institutions lose thousands to millions of dollars per establishment simply because they are not accurately tracking and measuring their assets, such as classroom supplies, computers, and sports and music equipment. In fact, estimates from lost and “ghost” (a.k.a. missing) assets can go as high as $250,000 a year per school district. Numbers like this can not only put a financial strain on individual schools, but also on the people who have a vested interest in the success of those schools.
In terms of public K-12 schools, administrators and teachers must make up for asset losses with what limited resources they have at hand. The lack of proper asset tracking in public schools can also have a ripple effect on the entire district and state, ultimately throwing multiple school budgets off-balance, affecting students in other schools, and impacting taxpayers, as well. Incorrect asset management will also affect future funding efforts for individual schools, who may be held accountable for not meeting state or federal funding compliances.
For higher education institutions, mismanaged assets can result in an increase in tuition fees to cover these losses, a burden which college students and their parents must bear by paying more each semester out-of-pocket or through more loans. Professors may also notice a change in their classroom allowances or even paychecks, in the case of severe asset tracking problems. Additionally, university staff and leadership must often report asset losses as part of financial summaries to any college benefactors and supporters.
The monetary issues which arise from improper asset tracking in educational institutions gets even more complicated when non-physical assets are added to the equation. This is because school inventory isn’t just limited to items like furniture and computers; assets can also include petty cash funds, student activity funds, and even cash and investment accounts. If any of these types of assets aren’t effectively tracked, educational institutions can lose up to millions of dollars a year, on top of losses already incurred from physical assets.
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