Why Standard Operating Procedures (SOP) required for educational universities/institutions?
Education is one of the fronts in the world, where there is a large scope of improvement due to a variety of factors, varying from country to country. While some of the universities are beating the benchmarks of education, while some are at risk on some grounds. Some of these consistent risks include- procedures like admission, reconciliations, payroll, fee payment within stipulated periods, role clarity, setting up of HR. To eliminate fallouts or decline in the efficiency of the system, integrated processes such as SOP can be utilized.
With employees in a higher educational body come and go frequently, responsibilities are shuffled rapidly due to financial constraints or unavailability of the previous holder, or simply an expansion of the department. Lack of a centralized control system and sheer negligence also contribute to the cause. This causes fallouts or a decline in the rate of completion of the processes.
Key Problems and solutions:
- Role clarity and responsibility allocation: In smaller organizations and higher educational institutes role clarity is often blurred, or simply isn’t taken care of. Duties in a department are assigned and reassigned in sessions and sometimes in between. To save cost, institutes often assign extra roles to employees, rather than hiring new people or positions, making the lines to fade and erode. It is vital to comprehend that this practice is not at all beneficial as it may increase the chances of fraud, or abuse of access. For E.g. in a payment system, one should approve the invoice, the other enters the transaction, and another review it. This process inspired by SOP introduces three levels of inspection on a slight bargain on processing time. A similar process can be utilized in the admission process, payroll process, fees, and reconciliation process to identify fallouts and revenue leakages.
- Timely constraints: One of the best ways to prevent fraud or financial crisis in an educational institution is to verify that account reconciliations are done in time. Any type of financial fraud or issue is indirectly linked to untimely account reconciliation; leading to misinformation and inappropriate decisions. Unless reviewed properly and timely, the risk of error can’t be eliminated and fraud couldn’t be caught. If SOP is put in place then the account reconciliation will take place regularly, of all accounts, so forged or stale data can be easily identified and the quality of the overall process can be improved.
- Centralized access: To add a dimension of supervision over the access and control of the employees in an educational institution, SOP can be utilized. This needs to be carried as the responsibilities of people change every couple of years due to the movement of people both inside and outside the institution, making older access irrelevant or leverage. If a review is not conducted each year, then the person who has left the organization will still have access, which may be misused. Thus every department in the institution should review the roles and access of its employees at least annually, indirectly assessing their performance in carrying out the responsibilities, strengthening decision making, and role endowment.
Having a predefined and well-designed SOP process helps to eliminate academic issues such as class clash, rules of conduct, library and labs conflicts, orientations and equipment debacle, examination woes; admission issues such as eligibility, waiting list, allotment status, enrollment, and withdrawal; alumni affairs, facility management, maintenance, marketing, purchase, personal purchases, public relations, stores, student affairs, and IT. With such a huge list of responsibilities to carry out, SOP becomes a quintessential requirement that can be made with expert teams of firms in SOP development like NSKT Global.
As the institutes are opening after a very long time in the pandemic, processes will become more complex. Thus proper management needs to be carried out to resolve past issues and new ones, otherwise simple issues may become grave and result in financial crisis, frauds, or unexpected fall in revenues.