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How other organisations save time
Whether it is your bank manager or your board, a degree in finance is not necessary with our reports.
The firm’s client was a developing high tech medical company using Xero as their accounting system. They were supported from the USA by a group which in turn uses QuickBooks and Xero. In addition, there was consosiderable complexity added as the group recently bought a business in Finland. This resulted in the need to consolidate business reports and operating plans efficiently.
Restrictive Accounting Rules
The Finnish accounting rules are quite restrictive meaning reporting from within Xero directly wasn’t an option. Nevertheless they dovetailed their accounting system with Xero as they were determined that Calxa would remain their reporting tool.
A little pre-planning and identifying the key points helped the team come up with a practical and efficient solution.
Easy Multi-Currency and Consolidated Reporting
In a short space of time they were able to produce 3 way reports and forecasts for use locally. In other words, this included reports in Euros, £ and $, together with consolidated reports in US $.
Plan Changes at the Touch of a Button
And the best part is that changes to plans can be made with ease and reports produced at the touch of a button. For instance, a recent request to amend the format of a report was handled with ease. It was mainly due to the immediate professional support coming from Calxa. Peter marwels,
“Bear in mind we are at the other end of the world to them.”
The response from the US Team is summarised in one word ‘AWESOME’.
Evan as a Calxa convert, Peter was amazed at how quickly he was able to produce these consolidated reports across multi-currencies and multiple companies.
“Calxa is truly a special piece of software.”
About BHP Prosper Atikinsons
Atkinsons was founded in 2000. Their eight staff are headed up by father and son team Peter and Chris Atkinson. The the firm has invested heavily in cloud accounting and is a gold partner with software company Xero.
Later on, Atkinsons merged with BHP Prosper, top 40 UK firm, to create a substantial operation, focused on providing real time financial information to businesses, cloud accounting and commoditised tax services. They have been using Calxa over many years.
- Organisation: BHP Prosper Atikinsons
- Cause: Progressive Accounting Firm based in UK
Watching the light-bulb moment when business owners start to understand their business and their numbers.Chelsea Sanginiti
Chelsea Sanginiti is well respected within the First Class Franchise community and loved by her clients. Here is a little snippet on what makes her get out of bed each morning.
8 years ago, Chelsea’s mum persuaded her to take over her First Class Accounts franchise in Fremantle and she’s taken it from strength to strength since. She’s built a reputation for fantastic customer service and a specialisation in providing management reports to her clients. After her initial training and qualifications, she’s now employing her mum as one of the team!
The big thrill for her is “watching the light-bulb moment when business owners start to understand their business and their numbers”. It’s been a journey to get to that point and Chelsea shares some of that with us.
Growing the Business
The learning hasn’t stopped and Chelsea enrolled in a course with Confident Cashflows in Perth to improve her skills further and then settled on Calxa as the tool to simplify and streamline her reporting processes.
She’s now providing condensed monthly reports and more detailed quarterly ones to her top clients. Again, it’s about starting conversations, prompting thoughts and helping her clients think about better ways of running their businesses.
The First Class Accounts franchise has provided the stability and support she has needed to grow. The customer-focused culture suits her style and she obviously suits them as they recognised her as Franchisee of the Year in 2016.
Management Accounting for Beginners
Finding a good mentor was the key to getting started with the management accounting side of the business. She took on work for Peter who guided her in using spreadsheets to provide reports for their mutual clients. Learning the manual way in Excel was important to understanding the principles required for good management reports that provide clients with clear insight into their businesses.
Chelsea enjoyed the challenge of the difficult clients, helping them re-arrange the chart of accounts and restructure departmental reporting so that they could see where they were making or losing money. She prompted conversations that led to decisions that made a difference to her clients.
Falling in love with her first client and marrying him was just an added bonus…
Satisfaction and rewards
As a bookkeeper, Chelsea feels close to the business owners she works with and gets a deep understanding of how they work. In the early days with a new client she takes the time to understand the business and get a good feel for it. Her role is very much about communicating with the owner, far more than the traditional bookkeeper role of entering data.
Taking that time, working out what is important to each business, what makes them different is the key to providing insightful information. Sometimes it takes a little time for the owners to understand the new information but when that spark happens, the change is clear.
For one of her clients this was crucially enlightening,
“I presented Management Reports and watched the light-bulb moment when I was able to demonstrate that they were making money in one department but losing it in another. This has now opened up discussions between the two business partners on what they should and can do.”
“Too often business owners fail to look and understand their numbers and if I can help in this way then I’m one happy Bookkeeper.”
About First Class Accounts Fremantle
As 2016 Franchisee of the Year, Chelsea and her team at First Class Accounts Fremantle provide an exceptional customer service experience. They perform a range of expert bookkeeping services for Small to Medium Sized Businesses.
Utilising Calxa saves me a day each month.Trevor McFarlane
Like many not-for-profit organisations, Leisure Networks has been challenged by the introduction of the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS). To manage the new funding model it has, as an organisation, looked and reflected within to set some key strategic goals. Some of these naturally involved the finance department: from the tools used to improve their customers’ experience to those they needed to stay on track and remain sustainable.
Over the past 6 months a big focus was on implementing new systems and processes and the evaluation of technology, adapting to the changed billing cycle and managing the business growth and cashflow position. Here is part of their story as they prepared for their NDIS journey.
Ditching the Excel Tool
When Trevor McFarlane first joined Leisure Networks, he found the organisation was working with an Excel Tool. His processes included exporting MYOB data and then manually entering it into Excel.
“I could spend a day entering that data. It wasn’t efficient and it also introduced errors.” Trevor found that if he didn’t get the data in correctly the first time, he had to go back trying to figure out “where did I make that mistake?”.
He knew that was unsustainable.
Block Funding to Fee for Service
As the CEO, Libby Mears has lead the organisation’s transformation. She feels strongly that making the move from block funding to individual fee for service is providing people with disability with the chance to purchase the services and support they need to live their lives.
“Our disability services are all about supporting people to achieve their goals.”
Looking at the new market dynamics, it is not all easy. Libby is a realist stating,
“The part that makes the National Disability Insurance Scheme what it is, is that it is consumer directed so we really operate in a market based environment. We now are competing for people with disabilities to choose us.”
Growing with the NDIS
Trevor elaborates, “the impact the NDIS has had on our finance department has certainly been an increase in our reporting and also our reporting to our board.”
“We currently do approximately 300 invoices per fortnight because we now do individualised bills to clients. Before we were block funded so we had one invoice per month.”
The Calxa team worked closely with Leisure Networks in adapting the reporting to the new funding model and in maximising the software. Mick Devine, Calxa CEO, noted,
“They’ve expanded since the introduction of the NDIS. They’ve gone from a small organisation to a big organisation in Geelong. And now they’re talking about moving beyond Geelong and expanding even further.”
Over a six-month period the evaluation, selection and implementation of harmonised systems was undertaken.
Bringing in the Expert
Engaging an MYOB and Calxa expert was a significant part of the process and with Belinda Phillips from Beyond Basics it was a great match. Belinda has extensive NDIS experience. Having worked in a Barwon NDIS pilot site, she knows the pitfalls and understands the issues from a billing perspective and the importance of capturing the activity the organisation is delivering.
Trevor is sold on the idea of getting a specialist in to helping out,
“The benefits of working with a Partner in Belinda is fantastic. She gave us a different perspective into the business.”
The strengths Belinda brought to the table were not only her skills in MYOB and Calxa but also the ability to look at other software and how best to integrate these into the overall ecosystem. Belinda explains the secret,
“You need good integration between the software. Something to capture your accounting system and your billing but you also need a really good reporting system which is what Calxa has given us.”
Trevor explains how he drove this from the Finance Department.
“We actually use 3 pieces of software here at Leisure Networks. SupportAbility for our rostering and client tracking of funding and invoicing, MYOB for our financial reporting and Calxa for our reporting to the Board and Program Managers.”
Using MYOB as the platform has ensured a strong basis from which the processes could flourish.
“MYOB in the Cloud has improved greatly since we implemented it 12 months ago. It certainly is getting quicker. But we have undertaken some changes looking at our internet connection, our speed and so forth to make that work better as well.”
Delivering the Services
What Leisure Networks has been able to deliver is a range of services with a focus on individualised support and support in small groups. As Libby proudly says,“keeping customers happy is really important”.
Calxa has been a great tool to track progress against key strategic directions so the board can understand how the organisation is performing. Libby gives an insight on how the board gets involved.
“We have a really skilled and engaged board that meets once a month.”
She says it is important that the reports display key data in a way that is easily understood by the board.
“It helps management particularly look at where we need to make some decisions on where we direct resources or where our expenses need to be better understood”, Libby elaborates.
Strong Team, Strong Management, Strong Board
Mick from Calxa, was so impressed with Leisure Networks seeing the leadership by the board, the CEO, the Finance Department and the whole organisation working to get the right systems in place to keep the customers happy.
”They’ve managed this transition to the NDIS as well as anybody I’ve seen. And they’ve seen it as an opportunity to grow.”
“It’s been great working with Leisure Networks. It’s really impressive to see an organisation that’s got a board that knows what they want to do, that plans, that thinks ahead.”
Favourite Calxa Feature
“My favourite feature in Calxa? There are many of them, but I do love Report Bundles.”
Trevor claims it’s taken away the “how did I do this last month? how did I create that report?” providing consistency in his board report delivery. “And, it’s very timely for myself.”
An Organisation of the Future
It’s great to see an organisation seeing the NDIS as an opportunity not a threat which Libby supports,
“The National Disability Insurance Scheme has really helped us expand our services and expand our impact.”
Leisure Networks has now been using Calxa in the Finance Department for over 5 years for reporting to the board and preparing departmental reports for each manager. Trevor doesn’t mind sharing,
“I thoroughly recommend Calxa to other organisations.”
About Leisure Networks
Working with sporting clubs, local governments and community providers, Leisure Networks delivers support services to enhance community connections and opportunities for people to be more active as well as promoting ‘All Abilities Sports”. Starting out in Geelong over twenty years ago, the organisation has grown through the NDIS and in 2016 will expand their disability services to participants in the North East Melbourne region.
What immediately stands out at Leisure Networks is the spirit shared between a capable management team and their Board.
- Organisation: Leisure Networks
- Cause: Independence for NDIS Participants
“Calxa has allowed us to obtain information across 3 locations with up to 5 different funding streams. We could not supply the level of detailed information required for our Management Committee without Calxa.”Kathy Dickson
Operating a service for a diverse group of people with different needs is a challenge in itself. To fund these activities require help from a number of sources.
Budget Reporting for all Funding Streams
This brings us to the problem at hand. Being able to report against budgets to the numerous funding bodies across 3 different locations with up to 5 different funding streams was no easy task.
Unit Costing for NDIA Pricing
Another factor that needed close attention was the introduction of the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) requiring to cost each activity to ensure it was sustainable within the NDIA set pricing framework.
Having their Bookkeeper isolated in a different location to the main office made end-of-month financials regularly a laborious project. This was made more difficult during her maternity leave, making the sabbatical a real pain point and a danger of losing her skills and expertise.
To ascertain the ability to deliver services under the NDIS funding, the organisation had to first understand their business model. Questions like ‘How dependent are we across the subsidisation of funding streams’ prompted a difficult and challenging reality check.
“Calxa has allowed us to accurately understand the costing of our service and what dependence each location has on the different funding streams.”
Working in the Cloud
The online workspaces have enabled collaboration between different roles such as the bookkeeper and the management team.
“Calxa has allowed our bookkeeper to return to work from home at times that are convenient to her lifestyle.”
Being in the cloud with MYOB and Calxa has great advantages in the delegation of budgeting responsibilities. The finance staff are now in charge of monitoring budget variances and the creation of future budgets providing the Treasurer and Auditors with clear information.
“By using the online version we have also been able to allow our staff the flexibility of working remotely.”
The automation of bulk budget creation with the Budget Factory has proven a key element in the planning allowing to embed different stress tests within various scenarios.
On a side note:
Lithgow Community Transport worked with Calxa Accredited Partner and MYOB Certified Consultant Rhys Roberts to review their systems and processes. Manager, Kathy Dickson said,
“Having an external perspective from someone with good system knowledge really helped us set everything up right first time and save lots of stress.”
About Lithgow Community Transport
Lithgow Community Transport has provided transport services to young people with a disability, their carers and the frail aged over 65s since 1978. In regional areas their program reaches transport-disadvantaged people. The service delivery is co-ordinated by a small team with the help of a pool of volunteers and is overseen by a management committee. Funding is mostly from federal and state governments.
- Organisation: Lithgow Community Transport now LiveBetter
- Cause: Not-for-Profit – successfully transitioned to NDIS
- Accounting System: MYOB AccountRight
- Website: https://livebetter.org.au/services/disability/
Calxa provides greater transparency. When our full consolidated report is 67 pages it’s very nice to use the Report Bundles to generate that in one click.Nadelle Manners
The NDIS will change the way Muscular Dystrophy South Australia provides its services to its clients. With funding allocations shifting from block based funding to Muscular Dystrophy SA, to individualised funding directly to their client.
Better Board Reports
Finance Manager, Nadelle Manners, needed to provide better reports to her board and managers – both for better decision-making and to improve transparency in the organisation. The previous spreadsheets the organisation used to produce budgets were complex and unwieldy and there were limitations on the information they could extract from them. Lack of an accurate and regular cashflow forecast left the organisation exposed to some risk.
Implementing Calxa “certainly made the process a whole lot easier and being able to present a month by month budget has been fabulous”, said Nadelle. Calxa’s reports gave her what she needed at the departmental level. Furthermore, it also provided a consolidated and summarised view for senior management and the board.
Being able to bundle the reports to produce them in one click not only saves hours every month but enables her to provide the right level of detail for each audience.
About Muscular Dystrophy SA
Muscular Dystrophy South Australia is committed to helping and supporting people with neuromuscular conditions. Based in Adelaide, the organisation delivers a wide range of services from physiotherapy to counselling to social events, camps and retreats to their members and clients. Early diagnosis, proper therapy and support make an increased quality of life possible.
With 1 in 1000 people affected by muscular dystrophy and no known cure, Muscular Dystrophy South Australia make a difference in the lives of many children and adults. The organisation is best known for their fundraising arm the “Muscle Team”. Organising an array of activities like Adventure Challenges or the Big Red Ride & Run, it’s more than just getting people to the finishing line.
- Organisation: Muscular Dystrophy SA
- Cause: Supporting adults and children with neuromuscular conditions
“As a small not-for-profit we welcome any assistance we can get and I really think that
Calxa will make a difference to our treasurer and make it easier to meet our reporting needs.”Vicki Love
Voluntary management committee or not, the reporting task to responsibly manage both the funding as well as prepare acquittals to the Government departments is no less taxing than it is for larger charities.
Extra Twist with NDIS Rollout
Now with the rollout of the NDIS, the finance task just got an extra twist putting additional dimension to the already busy Treasurer role.
Adding Calxa to the existing MYOB systems, provides another dimension to the monthly report delivery.
Building Program Budgets
Whilst transactions are allocated to the various funding sources during the month, building program budgets and being able to track the unspent component is vital. So, doing this by automating the population of actuals out of the accounting system without double entering this in spreadsheets is the first step in reducing the time it takes.
To manage the transition to the NDIS, unit costing will be crucial in identifying the costs of the various organisational activities to ensure sustainability.
Accounts / Food Services Co-ordinator, Vicki Love, says,
“As a small not-for-profit we welcome any assistance we can get and I really think that Calxa will make a difference to our treasurer and make it easier to meet our reporting needs.”
Dedicated Treasurer, John Hayes, is a recipient of the 2015 Commonwealth Bank Treasurers Award. He has been instrumental in streamlining the organisations’ practices over the past 6 years. Adding Calxa to his arsenal of tools, demonstrates further his and the organisation’s commitment toward good financial practice.
About Southern Shoalhaven Meals on Wheels
As a small community organisation, Southern Shoalhaven Meals on Wheels is managed by a voluntary Management Committee. With 4 permanent part-time staff, it relies on Federal Government support and funding from the Commonwealth HACC Program.
Providing meal services and social support from Sussex Inlet to North Durras just south of Wollongong is no mean feat. Add to this home visits and social group outings, running a volunteer program, it is no wonder the resources are stretched at any given time necessitating multi-skilling.
- Organisation: Southern Shoalhaven Meals on Wheels
- Cause: Meal delivery and Social Services to frail aged people, younger people with a disability and their carers
I needed to report budget by month and in MYOB I could only do it on an annual basis.Kerry Gemmell
Kerry Gemmell performs a range of consulting projects for a New Zealand based accounting and financial services company. She is always on the lookout for useful tools that will help her clients.
Need for more Reporting Capabilities
In 2009 she had installed MYOB at a client and was assisting them with some ongoing monthly reporting projects. The client, Dannevirke Kindergarten Association based near Palmerston North in New Zealand’s north island, needed reporting capability that was beyond the MYOB product they were currently using.
“Whilst the product was ideal to suit most needs, it lacked in areas of reporting,” Kerry says. “Specifically, I needed to report budget by month and in MYOB I could only do it on an annual basis.”
A few months later, Kerry attended a MYOB conference in New Zealand and came across MoneyManager (Calxa’s predecessor).
“I got a demonstration from Mick Devine, CEO of Calxa, and realised this was the answer to my clients’ problem.”
After Kerry and a colleague installed the software to check out the tool themselves, they were impressed by its user-friendliness in addition to the reporting flexibility.
“Because the software is so easy to use, we managed to get ourselves up and running without any problems.”
Back in the office, Kerry began using Calxa regularly to create all the reports her client needed.
”On a monthly basis I would update the client’s MYOB file and provide them a monthly profit & loss report by job with budget. It was perfect.”
Kerry’s client was so taken with Calxa they decided to install it and make use of the flexible, professional reporting functionality – and everything else Calxa offers – themselves.
“Calxa is even easier to use than MoneyManager and our client finds the reports perfect for their needs,” said Kerry. “Everyone there is happy and I particularly love the product. Anyone in my line of work should consider Calxa; you can produce budgets in a fraction of the time of spreadsheets, and the reports you can create are so professional looking and easy to understand.”
Kerry was also impressed with Calxa’s customer service. “They have a 0800 number that goes straight to support in Australia – they even answer after hours! Also, the webinars are very well run and ideal for old or new users,” Kerry says.
About Morrison Creed
As a progressive accounting firm, Morrison Creed help businesses using technology to enhance business processes. They believe the effective use of software and hardware can provide enormous benefits to any business. Morrison Creed offers a wide range of innovative accounting software services.
- Organisation: Morrison Creed
- Client: Dannevirke Kindergarten Association
- Cause: Early Childhood Services
The reports Calxa produces are highly professional documents and I think this is a benefit to the not-for-profit sector, who often do not have the time or resources to produce complex financial statements that Management need and require for funding submissions.Rose Morton
The Women’s Centre was in the process of creating their five year business plan, the financial planning part of which was to be discussed at an upcoming Management Committee meeting. Three weeks before the meeting, Rose Morton, Administrator at the Women’s Centre in Townsville, North Queensland, promised to produce budget and cash flow forecasts for the five year Business Plan and have appropriate documents ready for discussions. As her deadline grew closer, Rose still hadn’t come up with a plan for producing the documents she knew the management committee would need.
During this time Rose got an email from Calxa and she decided to give them a call. “My meeting with Alex and Ellen from Calxa was highly productive and we planned to have everything sailing beautifully in plenty of time,” she said. The Friday before reports were due, Calxa was installed on Rose’s computer and all her MYOB files uploaded. This left Monday to complete her reports!
Cashflow Graph a Piece of Cake
As a previous MoneyManager user Rose was slightly nervous about transitioning to Calxa but her fears were unfounded.
“I kept expecting that it would be more difficult, but once I got started it all happened quite quickly,” she said.
“The information from one budget year was easily transported into the next year ahead. I then edited the budget figures to match the spreadsheet calculations I had prepared previously for the next five years, factored in a CPI increase, saved my budget for each year and bingo: I was able to produce the Five Year Forecast Report from the menu selection in Calxa. The Cashflow Graph was a piece of cake as it was generated by the budgets I had already entered,” Rose said.
“I then had the five year forecast as well as a great visual to show the Management Committee how our finances would perform 2010 – 2015,” she added.
Budget Analysis Reports and More
Additionally, the 2010/2011 budget was tabled as a draft for the next financial year at the same Management Committee meeting in the form of the Budget Analysis Report. This compared the forecast to the actual income and expenditure completed during 2009/2010.
“The reports I produced in Calxa informed Management of the financial ups and downs between the years and gave opportunity for discussion about decisions to be made in-line with Strategic and Operational Plans,” explained Rose.
“As a result, further planning and development within the organisation – including collaboration between myself and the Treasurer to achieve the outcomes of the Business Plan – happened faster than it would have without my Calxa reports.”
Calxa a Perfect Fit
Rose believes Calxa is perfectly suited to her organisation and the work she must complete on a regular basis.
“The reports Calxa produces are highly professional documents and I think this is a benefit to the not-for-profit sector, who often do not have the time or resources to produce complex financial statements our Management need and that are a requirement of our funding submissions.”
Simplifying Complex Financials
Rose finishes off with her recommendation.
“My recommendation about Calxa would be that the reports produced are highly professional documents. I think this is a benefit to the not-for-profit sector, who often do not have the time or resources to produce complex financial statements that their Management need and that are a requirement of our funding submissions.”
About NQ Women’s Centre
The Women’s Centre is a women’s services organisation run by women for women, incorporating Townsville Sexual Assault Support Service, a Specialist Homelessness Service and a Women’s Health Service. They offer free counselling services to women over 15 in the Townsville region.
Calxa helped our organisation be more transparent.Robert Horn
One of the largest and most recognised not-for-profits in Australia and around the world, Ronald McDonald House. The organisation has been helping Australian families for nearly 30 years. The core program is the RMH Houses which are located close to women’s and children’s hospitals and provide a home away from home. This is especially true for families from rural Australia.
In addition to the Houses, this large not-for-profit also runs a range of charitable activities. These include Learning Programs, Family Retreats, Scholarships, Grant Programs and more. As a result, financial management is complex and transparency crucial.
So, enter Calxa. With a long track record of working with not-for-profits and an intimate knowledge of their reporting requirements, the software house was a great fit for Ronald McDonald House in Westmead, NSW. Therefore, Calxa specifically helped the organisations tackle two key issues: board reports and transparency.
“In the past, creating accurate and professional looking reports for our Board of Directors was a difficult. It was a time-intensive task that often put one of our staff members in the awkward position of having to produce something that was beyond his or her training,” says Robert Horn, former Finance Consultant to RMH Westmead.
“I had heard about Calxa from a colleague and decided to give it a try. What convinced me that it was the solution to a lot of our problems, was the fact that it made producing all types of reports simple. It delivered budgets, cash flow forecasts, and board reports. This in itself was great, but the bonus was that in making reports easy, Calxa also helped our organisation be more transparent. With the ability to create and share reports in minutes, Calxa lets us immediately share financial information of any sort with board members, management team, and corporate donors.”
Reports for the Non-Accountants
“Also, the Board Reports alleviate some of the pressure on the board members. Now they can easily understand the reports put in front of them, have confidence in their accuracy, and make decisions accordingly,” continues Robert.
About Ronald McDonald House – Westmead NSW
Ronald McDonald House Westmead is committed to keeping families close by providing a warm and welcoming home away from home for seriously ill children and their families travelling to Westmead for treatment.