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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.
“Watching the light-bulb moment when business owners start to understand their business and their numbers.”
Chelsea Sanginiti, First Class Accounts Fremantle
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 as they perform a range of expert bookkeeping services for Small to Medium Sized Businesses.
- Organisation: First Class Accounts, Fremantle
- Cause: Customised Bookkeeping Solutions with a Smile
“Utilising Calxa saves me a day each month.”
Trevor McFarlane, Business Manager
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.”
He finishes, “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
Lithgow Community Transport merged with similar services in the region to become Live Better. Their journey to transition to the NDIS is a great story.
“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, Manager
- Organisation: Lithgow Community Transport
- Cause: Enabling independence for longer.
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.
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. 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.”
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.
“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, Finance Manager
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.
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 and also consolidated and summarised 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, Accounts/Food Service Co-ordinator,
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.
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. 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. 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 Shoelhaven Meals on Wheels
- Cause: Meal delivery and provides 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, Consultant
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. 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