VACCHO improves governance with EBS

VACCHO improves governance with Microsoft Dynamics NAV

The peak body for the health and wellbeing of Aboriginal people living in Victoria, VACCHO (Victorian Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisation Inc.) has slashed its payroll processing time from three days a week to just three hours and greatly improved financial transparency and governance since it deployed Microsoft Dynamics NAV.

Too much paperwork and not enough insight

By 2016, VACCHO recognised that its existing MYOB accounting system was holding it back because of limited reporting capabilities and the need for extensive paper-based systems.

VACCHO Director of Business Services Peter Mitchell said the old accounting system was not able to meet government reporting requirements. “MYOB didn’t have the depth of reporting in different streams to cover our 84 separate contracts,” he said. “While they have some levels of similarity, each has unique requirements. For example, reporting on funding for a community smoking program from the Commonwealth is different from a smoking program funded by the State.

“In addition, health itself covers an incredibly diverse range of activities. We have programs for aged care; NDIS;  children; children in care; medical health linkages; smoking; eyes, hearing; diabetes. They all receive separate funding support from government. In some instances, funding can go to some ACCHOS, in which cases reporting is more complex.

“MYOB required us to have lots of paper-based manual processes to run the business, for things like reimbursements and travel allowances. Also, that system did not enforce that processes such as paying third parties were linked to our governance policies.

“Those limitations were definitely holding us back”.

The solution: Microsoft Dynamics NAV

After a comprehensive evaluation, VACCHO chose to deploy Microsoft Dynamics NAV, installed and supported by Melbourne-based business management software specialists Evolution Business Systems (EBS).

Microsoft Dynamics NAV is an easily adaptable enterprise resource planning (ERP) solution that helps small and medium-sized businesses, including Not-For-Profit organisations such as VACCHO, to automate and connect their sales, purchasing, operations, accounting, and stock control.

Mr Mitchell said Microsoft Dynamics NAV had added significant value to the business. “We had a small cost to set up NAV and we pay a similar rate to MYOB to use the service,” he said.

“But in real terms, we have gained immensely more value from NAV for this initial investment. Now, the accountants using our NAV system are not just about processing payments and payroll – their primary focus is on management accounting and analyst roles.

“The time required for payroll used to be three days a week. Now it takes just three hours. The time we have saved has been invested in the analysis and management of our financial systems.

“A big benefit of Dynamics NAV is that it’s part of the Microsoft suite of products, which allows us to use the full range of Microsoft products to provide more comprehensive and detailed reporting to governments. Since EBS helped us consolidate on NAV, we’ve moved to Office 365 as the optimum solution, which gives us quite simple access to the full range of Office apps.

“For example, NAV has direct linkages to Excel, so you can call out any information from the system into an easy-to-use format. I can cut and paste data both vertically and horizontally. I’m not constrained by our 84 projects being horizontal as I can diagonalise funding across regions from within those projects to give a more insightful view of the data.

“With systems such as MYOB and Xero, you get what you get. From a NAV perspective, even budgeting is much more flexible than other financial systems.”

More transparency, better governance and greater insight

Mr Mitchell said the greatest benefits of Microsoft Dynamics for VACCHO were strategic rather than operational. “Data is the new oil,” he said.

“The more information you can provide about the success of what’s going on, the more governments can demonstrate why they have invested in that area. NAV provides the evidence-based reporting that demonstrates the value of projects funded by the money we receive, proving to both governments and our membership that we have advocated for the right projects.

NAV has also enabled us to structure our governance policies into our workflows. For example, it ensures that I am not allowed to approve a particular level of Purchase Order unless my manager has approved it. That means more questions are asked, not about the payment, but about its application.

This creates more transparency for our governance process. As a result of that workflow, our audits are super-easy. In the three years, I’ve been here, we’ve had no major concerns raised.”

Microsoft Dynamics NAV also equips VACCHO to make its systems even more valuable in future by enabling the deployment of Microsoft Power BI, a Business Intelligence toolset that will provide the organisation with a detailed dashboard of tailored reports by the end of this year.

“The Power BI tool in Microsoft Office allows us to draw on information to create a dashboard of health outcomes from various programs,” said Mr Mitchell.

“We are now constructing reporting that is specific to VACCHO and its needs, drawing data from the ABS (the Australian Bureau of Statistics) and our own health evidence information best practice databases to align with our needs. Once this BI tool is complete, our team leaders and directors will be able to drill right down to the actual entries in NAV, to the point where they can even load up scanned copies of invoices.

“NAV is central to that is because that’s where the funding data sits.”

Mr Mitchell said EBS was a responsive partner in the deployment of Microsoft Dynamics NAV. “They invest time and energy into understanding the business of VACCHO,” he said.

“When we have a problem, I go to the EBS guys and say ‘how do we get this out of NAV?’ They tell us where it lives and how we can link it to the BI tool. We receive the right support mechanism from EBS.”

Client Profile: VACCHO aims to build the capacity of its 30 member Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisations (ACCHOs), which support about 25,000 Aboriginal people through Victoria, and to advocate for issues on their behalf: From child care to aged care and everything in between, VACCHO manages 84 separate programs, each with their own revenue streams and reporting requirements from both the Victorian and Commonwealth governments.
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