According to research, almost 60% of the world’s population is online. We see people staring at screens without being aware of their surroundings. Teens texting on their phones instead of chatting with their peers. In this increasingly digitalised world, going digital is no longer a buzzword. It is a necessity. If you’re operating an education centre and are still managing your workflow manually, how do you prevent yourself from falling behind?
As a tuition centre owner himself, our founder, Darren, realised a few years ago that the old way of filing papers and updating Excel sheets is no longer a viable solution. In order to thrive, we needed a better system. That’s why he came up with AOneSchools – a management system that streamlines administrative tasks for education centres. Back then, switching to a completely new way of doing things was nerve-wracking, to say the least. We did not have many precedents to refer to, and resources were scarce. Developing a brand new software and convincing other centres to give it a go was a daunting experience. However, in the past couple of years, other industries have started catching up. More and more digital solutions have popped up in our country, and now, we are proud to see that even the government is starting to realize the need to make a change.
In Malaysia’s 2020 Budget presentation, the Ministry of Finance announced that it will provide a new grant initiative, to help small and medium enterprises (SMEs) in the country adopt more electronic solutions in their operations. They called it the SME Digitalisation Initiative.
What is the SME Digitalisation Initiative?
As mentioned above, the Malaysian government is hoping to encourage local companies to incorporate modern technology to manage their businesses. The SME Digitalisation Initiative is a grant to give these enterprises a boost. A 50% matching grant of up to RM5,000 per company will be awarded to eligible businesses that purchase digital service(s) from designated provider(s). For example, as a music school owner, you’ve decided to subscribe to an electronic point-of-sale software for RM8,000. With this grant, you can get up to RM4,000 of the fees subsidized by the government. This allows you to upgrade your operations without taking on too much financial risk. No fees are required for the application, and the grant will be valid for a period of 5 years beginning from February 17 2020, or upon reaching 100,000 applicants, whichever comes first.
What can you purchase with this grant?
The Ministry of Finance has identified 7 types of services that the SME digitalisation grant can be used for:
Electronic Point-of-Sale System (e-POS)
Human Resource (HR) Payroll System / Customer Relationship Management (CRM) System
Digital Marketing / Sales
Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) / Accounting and Taxation
Remote Working Solutions
Electronic Point-of-Sale System (e-POS):
An electronic point-of-sale system, or e-POS, is a software that can help companies manage sales and cashflow data efficiently. One of the biggest time drains for education centre owners, whether it be tuition centres, sports academies, or art schools; is having to deal with billing and cash management. Having to track each student’s enrolment, fee information, and payment method; not to mention tracing fees collected through online banking to match them to the right payees… these tasks can make even the most organised person want to pull their hair out. One of the most rewarding feelings of being an educator is being able to watch students learn and grow under your tutelage, but even the most passionate of teachers can feel like drowning at times when dealing with financial paperwork.
At AOne, we recognised this problem early on, and strove to develop a solution for it. With our software, you can rest easy knowing that invoices are being generated automatically to students, based on the packages that you offer. There is even an in-app payment feature available, so you won’t have to process payments every month – or worse still, go through a pile of cash deposit and bank-in slips to figure out which students they came from. When customers make payments through your app, their receipts will be issued automatically, allowing you to sit back and enjoy your freed-up time doing things you love.
2. Human Resource (HR) Payroll System / Customer Relationship Management (CRM) System:
To operate an education centre, you not only have to manage your students, but also the teachers that you employ. If you think organizing student data is hard, try tracking teacher payroll. Going through attendance records, calculating employee hours, totalling payment amounts – these could easily take up days of an administrator’s time. That is time that could be better used for marketing your business, preparing for lessons, and thinking up ways to better serve your students. If you employ many teachers and need a solution for this tedious process, consider getting a software that simplifies it for you.
3. Digital Marketing / Sales:
A business without customers is just a hobby. A good digital marketing service provides solutions for you to promote your school to a wide range of students, and helps you manage advertisements effectively.
Procurement software offers a more competent system for businesses to purchase and sell supplies. This includes sourcing suppliers, corresponding with them, and performing transactions through the internet.
5. Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) / Accounting and Taxation:
As Benjamin Franklin said, “In this world, nothing is certain except death and taxes.” As enterprise owners ourselves, we know that doing taxes can be the death of us. Accounting used to involve calculators and lengthy ledgers; but if you’re still doing that, it’s time to level up. An accounting software can help educators manage their books efficiently, which makes filing taxes a lot easier as well.
What about ERP? ERP, or enterprise resource planning, is software that can handle multiple functions within an operation, such as product planning, development and manufacturing, warehouse management, financial management, sales and marketing etc – all in a single system.
Since most enterprises have their own operating systems, ERPs are often customised to suit each business’s needs.
6. Remote Working Solutions:
Since the announcement of the Movement Control Order (MCO), citizens have grown used to the new normal of working from home. While challenging to adapt to at first, remote work has gradually become a regularity in our lives. A good number of AOne’s clients switched to online teaching during the MCO period, and many mentioned that it was a tough transition. For companies used to offline operations, having to pivot online in such a short time can be extremely difficult. Therefore, the government included remote working solutions, such as software that enables effective data exchange and communication between remote staff, in the SME Digitalisation Initiative to ease the process.
Even before COVID-19 hit, e-commerce has taken the world by storm. Pioneers like Amazon and eBay have shown us how easily goods can be purchased with a few clicks of a button. With their success, other businesses have followed suit, whether it be clothing retailers, consumer goods manufacturers, even food services. Now, with stringent rules on social distancing, the ability to buy goods online has become an integral part of our lives. E-commerce digitalisation services allow SMEs to use technology to sell their products online, while providing them assistance in fulfilment, marketing, and other activities.
What are the companies affiliated with this grant?
Keep in mind that only the SME is authorised to complete and submit the application documents. Appointment of any third party for collection and submission to the bank is not allowed.
Before applying for the grant, you will need to pay the price after deducting the subsidised amount from the grant to your service provider(s), and submit proof of payment to the bank.
When your application is approved, BSN will make a direct payment of 50% of the total invoice amount, or up to RM5,000, to your appointed service provider(s). Depending on the total invoice amount, this payment may be made in one lump sum or in stages, based on the bank’s discretion.
Digitalisation is a process that all businesses have to embrace in order to thrive. Here at AOne Schools, we strive to support you in your efforts to do so, by providing solutions and resources that can help you grow. If you are interested in finding out how we can assist you, please feel free to contact us or schedule a demo.
It’s time to leave the days of manual paperwork behind, and start using a more elegant system for your education business.
However, we also have to take into consideration on the safety of our students, teachers and ourselves if we decide to operate our learning centres in this uncertain times. We also need to spend sometime to prepare our centres following the latest SOP rolled out by the Government. Has your centre been disinfected? There are a number of parties mentioning that childcare centres are not expected to open for about another month as operators have to undertake a series of stringent precautionary measures before they can resume operation.
We will resume the operation of our learning centres sooner or later. However, we should start preparing and be ready right now. Here are some suggested guidelines that the AOne team has prepared for you!
(1) Body Temperature Scanning for Everyone
Make it compulsory to measure body temperature of all students, teachers, parents, business owners and anyone who comes to your centre. Looking for a non-contact infrared thermometer? Do let us know by filling the form at the end of article if you need one!
(2) Regular Usage of Hand Sanitiser
You should provide hand sanitiser for students or anyone before they come in the centre. Place it at the counter and classrooms wherever that is convenient for everyone to use. As a good practice, you should always sanitise the tables and chairs after each class.
(3) Use of Face Masks
Make it compulsory for students and teachers to wear masks. As a business owner, we too should be setting an example for them. Prepare more masks for standby in case some students do not bring maks when they come for classes.
As #AOneJagaCentre, if you need any help in sourcing the necessary items and services, do fill up the form below and we will see how can we help:
(4) Seating Arrangement 1 Meter Apart
You may arrange one table for one student with at least 1 meter between students. Minimise the contact between students, and maintain the size of class to a maximum of 4-6 students .(*depending on the size of your classroom.)
(5) Social Distancing
We know it’s hard to keep “social distancing” among those naughty students, but you can do it by marking some lines and “personal space” allowed for each student. Give the awareness to the students on the importance of social distancing. Meanwhile, educate all teachers within your centre to follow the social distancing even outside of centres. Encourage “take away” food rather than dine-in. Minimise the contacts with other people and stay at home when there is no urgent errands to run.
(6) No Waiting for Parents In The Centre
You may need to add a new policy that states that non-students are not allowed to be waiting in the centre to minimise the risk of infection. Parents, drivers, maids etc should pick up and drop off students only. Encourage parents to come and pick up right away after the class. Discourage students to wait in the centre.
For payment related matters, you may encourage online banking (paperless + contactless) OR implement in-app payment using AOneSchools mobile apps for Parents. We will implement auto-billing for lesson fee collection in May 2020.
WHY should you go for e-receipts and in-app payment now?
Parents, students, teachers, admin and business owners can avoid touching paper receipts, cash
Automated and easier way of collecting and tracking of lesson fees
Cashless and contactless payment
Reduced contact between parents and staff
The government has announced the SME Digitalisation Grant (up to RM 5,000) for all learning or education centres to adopt any digitalization measures. No matter if you are running a tuition centre, kindergarten, dance school, swimming school, music school or any kind of learning centre, you will be eligible for the claim!
You may fill in the form below if you wish to know more about the grant
Do comment below if you have any suggestion or practice that may share to us. Stay safe everyone!