Developing confidence and transparency in financial reporting for the aged care sector

In 2019, BlueCross, Victoria’s largest provider of aged care services, made the decision to work with LightArc to implement Board as a solution to improve their financial data management and reporting. Knowing that changes to the regulations governing the aged care sector were imminent and likely to be ongoing, it made sense to undertake the process of streamlining processes and procedures, especially as the company had grown to operate 32 sites.

Implementing Board was no small undertaking given the size and complexity of BlueCross’ organisation. As such, the process entailed phases of implementation to ensure the transition would be as efficient as possible.

Phase 1 - Gaining Confidence in Financial Reporting

When Board first came on board with BlueCross, it was difficult to have confidence in the numbers as the financial data was spread across multiple reports. Immediately, this became the first issue addressed.

Of those multiple reports (around 50 separate financial reports), some were not being updated automatically or regularly, and there were various profit amounts being shown, ultimately indicating a lack of clear and efficient data management. It was obvious things needed to change.

Building a system to ensure alignment and restore baseline confidence

Financial reporting was done monthly but required automation. At this initial stage, focusing on producing a regular report that was simple and easily available digitally to those requiring the data was the priority. Fortunately, this was easy to do and solved the time and labour issue of having staff manually print, copy, collate, bind and then distribute as had been done previously.

ROI on the software system became apparent when the business analyst could then be reallocated to other business-building duties such as partnering with the residence managers, building stronger communications and supporting better financial literacy for managers. As a dollar amount, this equated to approximately $15,000 p.a. and indicated Board was indeed a viable solution to rebuilding confidence and transparency in the financials of BlueCross.


The need for quick and accurate information sharing

The efficient operation of 32 sites is dependent upon residence managers having timely access to consistent and accurate data. Board has enabled BlueCross to have this. Previously, it had taken anywhere up to a month to finalise financial reports for the prior month, which didn’t allow for agile decision making.

Getting the month-end processes sorted was a crucial step in ensuring the residence managers had the data they required quickly. Tailored Board screens were developed for residence managers, allowing easy access to:

  • Casual reporting
  • Personal leave reporting
  • Annual leave reporting
  • Fortnightly variance reporting on hours vs budget
  • Benchmarking revenue and costs

Having 32 residence managers with varying degrees of financial literacy and commercial confidence meant ensuring the system catered for all levels of users. A fully integrated budget built in Board, with all 32 residence rosters maintained in the system, ensured all managers had access to the data they needed.

Commonalities were sought and these became the building blocks of the system. Overwhelmingly, the greatest request for automation in the system was related to sick leave. When staff work across multiple residences, every residence manager needs to be able to access sick and annual leave reporting. Additionally, fortnightly variances in actual hours worked vs staffing budgeted hours needed to be tracked and aligned with revenues and costs.

The systematisation of this data allowed us to ensure it was immediately accessible and saw the introduction of daily labour reporting. This allows BlueCross to be prepared for what’s coming with the Royal Commission findings around reporting care hours per occupied bed on a daily basis across all sites.

Two years post Board implementation, budgeting processes have been refined, and the finance team continues to grow stronger and better informed by access to more accurate data. There is still work to be done within the system to streamline integrations and ensure datasets around budgets and rostering relating to each home can be isolated and exported to other databases when required.

Being able to evaluate the data from each home with the residence manager to see what is happening in real-time, has meant easier alignment between budget forecasts, actual spending, and the gaps between them and why. Decisions can then be made to reallocate resources if necessary and adapt goals. Finally, reported financial data that is reliable, timely, and trustworthy is available.

Contact us today for further information on how Board could simplify the management of your aged care business and streamline financial management and reporting for greater confidence and transparency.

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