EVALUATION OF PRINCIPALS’ FINANCIAL MANAGEMENT PERFORMANCE IN SEVENTH-DAY ADVENTIST SECONDARY SCHOOLS IN NORTHERN MALAWI
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The purpose of this study was to evaluate principals’ financial management performance in accounting and budgeting in Seventh-day Adventist (SDA) secondary schools in northern Malawi. The study used descriptive comparative research design. It was guided by Responsibility Centre Management theory and Accounting model of double entry. It compared principals’ financial management performance when grouped as boarding and day Adventist secondary schools. Eighty respondents including sixty-five teachers, five principals, five registrars and five business managers participated in the study. Data was collected by the use of questionnaires and face-to-face interviews. Cronbach’s reliability coefficient of the questionnaire was 0.619 for accounting and 0.707 for budgeting. Quantitative data was coded, treated and analyzed using Statistical Package of Social Sciences (SPSS). Qualitative data was subjected to content analysis. Whereas there was a significant difference in principals’ financial management in accounting, there was no significant difference in budgeting in SDA boarding and day secondary schools. Other findings were: principals lack adequate training in financial management, principals are weak in accounting and budgeting and that they do not submit monthly financial reports to the Union Office. The study concluded that principals do not have a sound knowledge in budgeting and accounting; principals do not submit monthly financial reports to the Union Office and that; there are no finance committees in some schools. Recommendations were that principals should be regularly trained in financial management; principals should be required to submit monthly financial reports to the Union Office; and that finance committees be established in the schools. A similar study in secondary schools in other regions of Malawi and a study on the establishment of alternative income generating projects and their viability are recommended.