“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