Management: Finance

Defining Finance Terms and Categories for Technology in Schools

School financial systems are not particularly well configured to identify and present the costs associated with deploying, maintaining, and upgrading technology in schools. Categories used for budgeting in connection with technology planning overlap poorly with the major categories used in school accounting. The end result of these two different approaches is ongoing difficulty in reconciling technology expenditures with school financial reports.

Local and state requirements affect financial reporting practices, arguably more than they do any other area of data collection. The data elements available for analysis, and the way they are treated to produce reports, can vary widely within the bounds of generally accepted accounting principles (GAAP). This applies with particular force to the following aspects of cost accounting: the general allocation of functions to programs; the allocation of costs for equipment purchases and support services; the definition of indirect costs; and the definition of bases for the allocation of indirect costs. Cost assignment and depreciation schedules for equipment are particular issues.