Since 1989, not-for-profit WDEA Works has been helping people of all abilities to find work and achieve employment goals – so they can lead great lives.
The organisation also runs several of its own social enterprise businesses – lawn-mowing and gardening, eWaste and retail. These mean people with a disability or other disadvantage can go to work every day and feel good about contributing to their community.
The list goes on – WDEA Works started a Foundation in 2004 to support community activities for those living with a disability, and they provide first aid and early childhood education training.
A registered National Disability Insurance Service (NDIS), WDEA Works has grown to become one of the largest community and employment service providers in Western Australia, with over 350 employees across 30 different locations.
Finance manager Liz McCulloch has been with the organisation for over 10 years and has witnessed the astronomical growth first-hand. And while helping more people is always a good thing, growth didn’t come without its challenges. She says there’s no way they would have been able to do what they do, had they soldiered on with their old accounting system.
Too much data overloading system
Saving transactions at snail’s pace
For a long time, WDEA Work had been making do with an older system. And that didn’t just mean more manual processes – the overloaded system itself was slowing things down even more.
“When it came to entering transactions, it could take two minutes just to save one transaction – what we had was no longer a workable solution,” explains Liz.
The other issue was how easily transactions could be deleted, which, come audit time, was less than ideal.
“We needed something that was quick, didn’t hold up our staff, provided a clear number trail and could easily reverse transactions if required,” says Liz.
Even though the organisation knew what was needed, when they went looking, it took a while for them to find the right solution. She says the options felt limited.
“We either shifted to a ‘band-aid fix’ solution, which might have seen us through for a bit, or the alternatives were highly complex solutions that were more money than we were willing to pay,” she says.
A colleague of hers spoke to someone at a work conference and mentioned MYOB Advanced – and that was it for Liz.
"We did our research – and decided to go with them"
New system that can withstand the load
Easy to access and plays well with others
When it came down to it, MYOB Advanced had what Liz was looking for.
For a start, it’s cloud-based, crucial for the widely spread team.
“Head office is where all the finance staff are, but we also have site managers and regional managers spread out across our other sites that need access,” explains Liz.
The platform would work seamlessly with WDEA Works’ other software for client management, POS and NDIS support. Liz saw that it could also make light work of sub-account level reports, with the help of a reporting add-on, Velixo.
"MYOB Advanced is more intuitive than our last system. You can save documents as transactions, write notes – it’s working a lot better for us"
500 clients, 100 bills a day – not a problem
Streamline and automate to free up staff
As an NDIS provider, WDEA Works pays bills on behalf of clients. With 500 clients on the books, any one day could see them paying upwards of 100 bills – you can bet that got very complex, very quickly.
“Before we implemented MYOB Advanced, one of my team members was manually typing in NDIS support-related data. At the time our client numbers were small, but within 12-18 months, our numbers skyrocketed from 30 to 500,” explains Liz.
MYOB Advanced didn’t just take that pain away, it also set the organisation up to be able to help even more people.
“The growth we’ve seen with our plan management service is big – MYOB Advanced has essentially put more money in us by helping us branch out and provide the service to more areas.”
With a new system, Liz has seen simplified processes and tasks become automated, which means staff can now focus on other things.
“We benefit from seamless invoice processing and data import functionality because MYOB Advanced and our client management software are integrated,” says Liz. “It wouldn’t have been possible to continue that manually.”
MYOB Advanced was implemented by system partner, Axsys, with their Director Jason Ransley adding, “Thanks to MYOB Advanced, time-consuming processes and tasks are now automated, which leaves WDEA more time to focus on delivering quality services to their clients. This is a massive benefit for any NDIS provider.”
Systems for their social enterprise businesses are better connected and easier to use too. Liz says they’ll continue to add more integrations so they can become even more efficient.
“We’re in the process of completing other integration projects, like adding a service module for our lawnmowing business to help keep track of jobs and automatically invoice when a job is complete.
“Our primary business is employment, so the next step is to bring in an integration that imports our income for our NBIS clients automatically,” Liz adds.
And how are staff handling the change? Mixed reviews like for any form of change, Liz jokes, but overall “they’ve embraced the change.”
Quick summary on WDEA Works
- Operating since 1989, over 350 staff, 30 sites, 500 NDIS clients
- One of Western Australia’s largest community and employment service providers
- Social enterprise businesses employ those with a disability
What has changed with Advanced
- Staff free from manual data entry
- More transactions processed for more clients = more bills paid
- POS visible across all social enterprises
- Sub-account level reporting available
- Seamless invoice processing and data import functionality
- Room to grow – more integrations being added