Magazine article Teaching Business & Economics

Running a School Shop

Magazine article Teaching Business & Economics

Running a School Shop

Article excerpt

watching the cash and preventing problems before they arise

One of the most high profile and easily accessible enterprise projects for a school to undertake is running a shop. Enterprise projects have been set up to run a wide variety of shops, including tuck shops, sports shops, outdoor equipment hire centres (especially useful in schools with Duke of Edinburgh Award schemes), ticketing agencies and stores selling school clothing and stationery.

Common to all mini-enterprise shops is a financial challenge. Each business is dealing with a large number of cash transactions, and it is very easy for students to lose control of their funds and run into all kinds of problems. There are many examples of what can go wrong: one team could not be bothered to count small change so they kept throwing it in a bucket under the counter, eventually they could not pay their bills; another group failed to keep accurate records of receipts and payments, and then team members started accusing each other of theft.

It is vital that the teacher responsible for the minienterprise group sets up very clear cash accounting procedures. There should be checks and balances which reduce the risk of individuals being falsely accused of theft, or of being tempted to help themselves to the cash.You cannot reduce all risks, but good procedures mean that students would have to go out of their way to conspire together to defraud the business.

This article sets out the controls and systems required for recording cash receipts and payments.

Cash receipts

Cash should be counted every day the business trades. The takings should be listed and double checked by another student, and both students should sign the listing. The cash should then be bagged, with the listing, and deposited in the school/college safe.

At least once a week another pair of students should organise the banking of the cash. This involves opening the bags of cash, checking them against the cash count sheet, listing all the week's cash and ensuring that the total matches the total of the daily cash listings, and completing the bank paying-in slip.

When the bank statement arrives, it should be checked against the deposits listed in the cash paying-in book and the record of weekly cash listings.


If possible, avoid all cash payments. All payments, whether by cash or cheque, should be supported by third party documentation such as a receipt or an invoice. …

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