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Aug 23, 2023 5 min read

TREND REPORT 2023: Why Child Care Software Automation Matters

Leah Woodbury By: Leah Woodbury


Despite a labor shortage and outsized demand for child care, a Procare Solutions survey showed that half of child care centers not using software rely on manual processes to track their business operations.  

This finding, along with other relevant data related to the current state of the child care industry’s use of technology, is part of the 2023 Child Care Management Software Industry Trends Report. 

This report was gleaned from the responses of a survey sent to over 100,000 stakeholders, and illustrates industry benchmarks as well as how automation can put time back into child care providers’ days.     

So why does this matter? Child care automation software can save child care providers between 60 and 80 hours a month, according to Monique Reynolds, vice president of Early Childhood Education Business Support and Sustainability of Quality Care for Children.  

 In one case, she calculated that before automation, doing payroll and other human-resource related tasks would take six to eight hours biweekly. After automation, that time dropped to one to two hours.   

 With attendance tracking and subsidy reconciliation, that time shrank from 10 hours a week to just 30 minutes.  

Let’s take a closer look at what survey respondents had to say about their technology use.  

Child Care Management Software 

The 2023 Child Care Management Software Industry Trends Report found that 48% of respondents using software use software for these features:  

  • Online registration  
  • Lead management/waitlist management  
  • eDocuments  
  • Automated billing and payment processing  
  • Staff management  
  • Payroll  
  • Financial management/accounting  
  • Mobile check-in/out  
  • Child care mobile app for staff and parents  
  • Meal tracking and food program management  
  • Online digital curriculum  

That leaves about half still relying on manual processes, such as spreadsheets or even just paper.  

Staffing is of course a major issue, but over 25% of respondents are not interested in looking for ways to use software for staff management.  

Software can track payroll records and even calculate paychecks, as well as generate reports and insights for programs’ back-office needs.  

Automated Billing and Payment Processing 

Struggling with billing and payments also is weighing heavily on the minds of providers.  

About two-thirds of respondents to the Procare Solutions survey do not have next-business-day funding. Some payment processors delay funding by up to seven days.  Delays in waiting for payments (also a problem when accepting cash and checks) hinder the cash flow that is vital for child care businesses to make payroll and pay other bills, such as utilities and rent.  

 And today’s parents want options for making payments, and centers accepting only cash and checks are likely not providing today’s parents with the payment methods they prefer.   

 Checks and cash can create an accounting headache. Storing cash and checks until there’s time to get to the bank to make deposits poses security and theft risks. Additionally, the odds of making bookkeeping errors are high, especially at child care programs in which leaders do not have specialized accounting training.  

Child care management software can handle automated tuition collection and provide electronic reporting, which gives providers access to records on their phones and computers, and ensures accuracy.  

Child Care Mobile App 

Despite parents’ dependence on smartphones for everything from paying bills to staying up to date on their children’s activities, 14% of respondents not using a child care mobile app say they aren’t looking to add this feature. 

Despite parents’ dependence on smartphones for everything from paying bills to staying up to date on their children’s activities, 14% of respondents not using a child care mobile app say they aren’t looking to add this feature. 

Being able to communicate with parents in real time benefits both families and centers, so using a child care mobile app is worth exploring to provide top-notch customer service.    

An app offering eDocuments also is something parents want. This feature gives centers a solution to create, send, review and store digital documents. It’s a way to digitize a significant part of workflows that currently rely on manual processes and takes much of the hassle out of reminding parents and staff to complete their paperwork.  

How Procare Can Help 

To meet the challenges of today that will persist into tomorrow, programs must look at how to incorporate software to meet not only the needs of this generation of parents, but to grow and prosper.   

Two out of three centers that use software choose Procare. As center administrators seek to do more with less, Procare help relieve some of the burden of the important work they do every day.   

Want to know how much time and money you could save using the Procare all-in-one solution to run your child care center with automation? Learn your potential personalized savings by entering some details into this online calculator! 

2024 Child Care Management Software Industry Trends

2024 Child Care Management Software Industry Trends

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Leah Woodbury

Leah Woodbury is the head of content at Procare Solutions. Her job includes writing about topics that matter to child care professionals and finding ways to help them do their important work. She’s a mom of two who loves getting updates about what her preschooler is doing during the day via the Procare child care mobile app!

Leah Woodbury