Access Business Administration & Invoicing

Custom Access Business Administration & Invoicing System

Janet Marshall Dance Studios is a centre of dancing excellence based in Gloucestershire. They offer a range of classes for both children and adults, in styles such as classical ballet, modern, tap, jazz and dance drama.

The Problem

In 1995 our client was managing a very successful dance school using a paper-based system. It was, however, becoming increasingly difficult to manage all aspects of the business as the dance school grew.

Sending invoices to their customers was particularly time-consuming, as was tracking payments and ensuring unpaid invoices were chased in a timely manner.

Later, managing the exam process became increasingly difficult too, particularly complying with changing requirements from their professional bodies.

Our client required a custom database to be developed using Microsoft Access to simplify invoicing and payment processing, as well as to manage other business administration tasks.

The Solution

The first step was to build a custom Access business administration database for managing key aspects of the business. This holds information about students and studio locations as well as family contact details.

With this in place we automated the termly invoicing process. Invoices can be created in batches by studio, with fees easily entered as applicable by student group. Mail merge simplifies the production of invoices which are then printed and distributed to students' families. Invoices can be located easily and marked as paid. An "Unpaid Fee" list makes it easy to identify debts to be chased. VAT and payment reports, can be generated for time periods specified.

A few years later, we modified the original database to help our client manage changes to the exam process as required by their professional bodies. Exam schedules could be defined and generated for use on examination day, with relevant student information automatically included.

Later again, the exam board introduced a new system that required a bigger administrative overhead for the dance school. A 2-phase approach was needed. Firstly, student lists had to be generated before an exam day, and fees collected prior. Exam schedules and class lists were then required on the day.

We amended the database to mirror the exam board's system, incorporating information from the existing student database. This means that the dance school can manage the process easily, with little impact on their original way of working.

As a further enhancement, we configured the system to enable it to be used both in the central admin office, as well as securely in the dance school itself by means of a remote desktop link.

In 2020 we adapted the system further to integrate online payments with the existing Microsoft Access business administration database.

Over many years we have been growing our database and what it is able to achieve.

From a simple storage system for financial records to more recently combining an exam preparation system for graded to vocational level students.

Tony has, over the years, advised us and amended our systems so we can cope with the increasing detail required by our professional bodies.

This has not been an easy task as our requirements do have a habit of changing as we move forward. We have been fortunate in that Tony understands this and has been able to be flexible and thus accommodate our ever changing needs.

Ian Marshall, Janet Marshall Dance Studios