Connections for Success



Streamlining for Savings
Jennifer Herman

At my job, I am the CFO and bookkeeper. I am also a finance, accounting and HR department of one. I work three days per week in a 10’ x 10’ office with minimal storage and desk space.  What’s the key to my success?

My employer, Beacon Academy, a Montessori High School, is an independent, not-for-profit start-up school. In 2014, the school opened with 37 students in the top three floors of an urban, commercial building above a restaurant. Our current, newly-renovated facility houses almost 200 students and 50 faculty. To provide maximum space for our students and programs, the administrative staff and our supplies take up less than 10% of the space.

During the school’s first year of operations, I worked one day per week. As the school grew, my role and work load increased. The new school’s budget did not provide for an executive level salary for the performance of day-to-day tasks. I also did not want to work more days to do that work either. Hiring staff would put pressure on the budget and further tax the space.

What was our solution? Streamlined processes and online technology tools. My priority in automating tasks and selecting software is based on value. How much bang can we get for the school’s buck? As the administrative work increased, I began to identify the most time-consuming tasks. Next, I evaluated the tools available to automate those tasks. Finally, I considered the cost of automation and the benefit, which in my case was time savings.

Technology tools come in all shapes, sizes and costs. Technology may or may not be the great equalizer, but it can definitely provide significant time savings and efficiencies. Invest time in researching, comparing and evaluating software that you are considering. Read reviews, talk to current users and take advantage of all training tools. Invest the time to properly set up the software and the processes. Others will adopt the technology more easily if the tools simplify the processes and create less work.

For more information, follow Jennifer Herman on Linkedin. Visit to learn more about our Not-For-Profit Group.

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