Development of tailor-made accounting manual for Laela Secondary School

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Southern New Hampshire University
This is a report of the project titled "Development of Tailor-made Accounting Manual for Laela Secondary School" submitted in partial fulfillment for the requirement for the degree of master of science in Community Economic Development in the Southern New Hampshire University at the Open University of Tanzania. Laela Secondary School (LSS) is located in Laela village in Sumbawanga district, Rukwa region. Laela village is located along Sumbawanga - Tunduma road, about 100 km from Sumbawanga town and 230 km from Mbeya municipal. The inhabitants of the area are predominantly Wafipa and farming is their major occupation. The objective of Laela Secondary School is to provide secondary education in the Laela parish mandate area encompassing 25 villages. The area has no other secondary school despite the fact that each village has at least one public primary school. The main activity of the Laela Secondary school as the name suggests is to provide secondary education to children who have finished primary school. LSS was started in 1992 and is owned and managed by the Catholic Diocese of Sumbawanga. The registration number of the school is S 503. The needs assessment was conducted in participatory manner whereby participants, used participatory tools to identify priority problem facing the school. Moreover an in-depth insight of the priority problem identified was analyzed in order to come up with an effective solution. The exercise was accomplished by conducting a survey in which questionnaire was used to collect information. The data collected were analyzed using SPSS software. The survey using structured questionnaire was complemented by conducting key informant interviews, whereby the identified people with knowledge and experience with the project subject were interviewed. Other methods used include observation and document reading. The important findings were that 90% of the informed respondents were of the opinion that the school accounting procedures were not written and known to all concerned while 10% agreed. 71% of respondents were not sure if there were any reports produced from the operation of the IGA's of the school. 24% were of the opinion that the reports were produced twice in a year but they were not distributed to all stakeholders while 5% agreed that reports were produced twice and distributed to all stakeholders. Research findings have revealed that lack of accounting manual has caused poor budgeting, low school fees and poor decision making by board and management due to lack of proper information. This has resulted into financial problems to the extent that the school cannot pay competitive remuneration to its staff and thus teachers are few. Few teachers at LSS have resulted into poor performance of students in final exams and this does not attract other students to join this school. A tailor-made accounting manual for the LSS has been prepared covering the organization of accounting department, routine accounting procedures, accounting for stocks, accounting for fixed assets, budgeting and financial reporting. The proposed accounting manual has been accepted by the school and put into use. (Author abstract)