Coming into the new school year can be a stressful time, especially when trying to remember to get everything set up. So, to help, we’ve provided some software tips for our Abacus and Footsteps users which have proven to be especially handy at this time of year.

Update Fees

September is the month that many nurseries update their fees with fee increases and sessional changes. It’s quite a simple task within Abacus, when it comes to just increasing the fees. All you have to do is go into Settings > Session Types then click the edit pencil next to the session type you are amending the fees for, then choose  ‘Update the fees’ on the right hand side.

Add School Terms

Adding your school terms is fundamental for your term time only, so you can ensure sessions are removed during half terms. We’d hope that your autumn term dates have already been added at this stage, but if not, here’s how you do it! You’ll need to go to Settings > School Terms > Add Term.

When adding school terms, they need to be added in 2 halves around the half term period, so the system knows when to remove the children’s sessions from.

Just as a quick reminder, to make a child term time only, you’ll need to go to Children > Child Summary > Edit Pencil > Misc. Details > Select Term Time in the drop down menu. Then, you’ll need to  tick the Term Time box  and  select the term you want them to be term time only from, followed by  ‘Save’.

Add Free Entitlement Terms

Abacus users often get confused when it comes to updating terms on the system, as they tend to assume that updating school terms also affects free entitlement – but it doesn’t.

As mentioned in a previous tip, we’d really like to think your free entitlement terms have already been added for the autumn term, but if you haven’t got around to it yet, here’s how you do it!

You’ll need to go to Settings > Free Entitlement then click the A symbol next to your free entitlement group (if you have multiple, you’ll need to do this for each group). In the middle section of the screen, click ‘Add Term’ at the bottom of the page then enter your term details on the right hand side.

Adding Baselines for New Starters

Adding baselines for children is imperative when it comes to using the tracking and progression reports within Footsteps. Adding a baseline means the reports can accurately display how your children are performing, and whether or not milestones are being met. Should you skip the step of adding a baseline for a child, the reports will assume the child is falling behind, and will display this in all reports.

Baselines are added as an observation, in the same way you would add in an ordinary observation, ticking off all learning matters that the child has been observed completing.

Setting Leavers

Ensuring left children have been updated on Abacus is really easy to do, but is just as easily overlooked. When a child leaves the setting, you’ll need to amend their actual leave date to be the date they left or will be leaving the nursery, and then amend the status from ‘Registered’ to ‘Left’, once the child has gone.

To do this, you’ll need to go to Children > Child Summary > Edit Pencil.

Outstanding Debt

In an ideal world, all customers due to leave the setting will be up to date on their payments, but sometimes it doesn’t work out that way. An easy way to keep on top of outstanding debts would be to run the Aged Balance Report Monthly Outstanding. This report will show you all children with an outstanding balance, providing you with the information necessary for chasing outstanding debt.


Keeping on top of your enquiries can prove to be really useful when it comes to forecasting your occupancies. Checking potential start dates for children, and ensuring they are moved to the registered list when they confirm their attendance, is so important to ensure you have the staff and spaces available.

A great report we would suggest to use alongside checking your enquiries would be the Occupancy Opportunities report, found in Reports > General.  This report will tell you how many children you currently have within your occupancy, as well as how many more children you can take, with your current staffing levels.

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