To meet the escalating demand for services and continue its important role in the community, The Family Co. required the backing of robust accounting systems and advice.
CEO Ashleigh Daines reports that the Hopscotch Accounting team have streamlined procedures and provided timely financial information that has strengthened the NFP’s operations.
In touch with Hopscotch
The Family Co. is an essential service that creates safe and positive communities for women, children, youth and families. Founded in 1987 as Sutherland Shire Family Services, the NFP has become a key support service offering child, youth and family support and domestic violence assistance in the Sutherland Shire and St George areas.
When The Family Co. needed to update its financial systems, the services of Hopscotch Accounting were recommended. CEO Ashleigh attended an event featuring the ACNC Commissioner that was organised by Hopscotch and thought highly of what she saw.
“Hopscotch came recommended to us by other NFPs it supports,” says Ashleigh. “We saw how the team operated and how Hopscotch were invested in the industry by running that event. We also had the opportunity to connect with other current clients – NFPs that Hopscotch supports – and I heard first-hand about the impacts that having Hopscotch on board had made to their organisations.”
The Family Co. engaged Hopscotch to provide outsourced accounting services. This meant that – without employing extra staff – they had access to professional accountants who were ‘on their team’. Fortunately, by signing up to Hopscotch services they acquired expert help with a much-needed accounting systems overhaul.
Addressing the pain points
While the organisation was getting busier, its processes were under pressure – reliant on an older accounting software, pre-Cloud systems and inefficient payroll procedures. “At the time our systems were outdated. The systems were not automated and a lot of our processes were manual,” recalls Ashleigh.
“When Hopscotch came on board, the team assisted us to move from an old MYOB accounting system and change to Xero’s cloud-based accounting,” she continues. “They also helped us automate and streamline all our time-sheeting processes for payroll purposes. This really improved our efficiency overall.”
Ashleigh adds, “The changes gave us greater transparency and real-time insights into the financial situation of our organisation.”
Harnessing Xero and associated platforms
After setting up the Family Co. with Xero software systems, Hopscotch matched up the organisation with the best payroll and billing systems, ones that would tie into Xero and meet the NFP’s ongoing requirements. “Hopscotch actually worked with us to find appropriate systems that would meet our unique needs,” says Ashleigh, who was impressed by the considered approach of the Hopscotch team. “Hopscotch took opportunities to learn about how we operate and our payroll needs.”
On the advice of the Hopscotch team, the NFP settled on the payroll system TANDA. It also integrated ApprovalMax to streamline internal approvals of purchases.
Introducing the most appropriate software has allowed The Family Co. staff members to gain a swift oversight of the organisation’s finances. “Our operations manager and our key team members have definitely found that processes are streamlined and information is more accessible,” says Ashleigh. This helps to free up their time and enables better informed financial decisions.
Acquittals and reporting
Like many NFPs, The Family Co. runs great programs, but it also spends a lot of energy administering them properly and producing detailed acquittal reports on time. With the systems Hopscotch has introduced, The Family Co. no longer has to do everything manually – so acquittals can be produced with less effort.
“Our new systems assist us to prepare those acquittals faster because they are more streamlined and automated. We can review each funded stream quicker,” Ashleigh points out. A better understanding of each funding stream is also possible. “The systems that we now have in place have given us that greater transparency.”
Sharing information with the board
Board communications are another aspect of the NFP’s operations that benefit from Hopscotch’s delivery of improved financial reporting. Ashleigh comments, “The reports that Hopscotch generates for our board meetings definitely give the board members greater insight into the financial snapshot of the organisation at any particular point in time.”
With the new reporting system features, users have the capacity to customise reports – to make them as relevant as possible. Ashleigh explains, “The board might request to dive deeper into particular areas of the organisation and Hopscotch are able to customise reports for the board based on those areas of interest. Overall, the board are very satisfied with the reports that Hopscotch has been able to generate.”
Responsive to staff training and board requests
The staff at The Family Co. rate Hopscotch highly for responsiveness and knowledge sharing. “Importantly, I think that it is not only the systems that Hopscotch has been able to implement, but it is the expertise and knowledge it has been able to share and to pass onto us,” says Ashleigh.
“The Hopscotch team have been able to upskill and support our staff, taking the time to explain the various accounting requirements to our team members.
“They have also been really responsive to answering questions generated by the Board on those issues that they wanted to delve into more deeply.
“From minor, small day-to-day enquiries right through to supporting us with our acquittals processes, grant writing or forecasts, we have been in touch with them daily since we started working alongside them. We have definitely found the Hopscotch team to be really responsive to our support needs.”
“They walk with you every step of the way to implement systems that are tailored to your organisation’s needs, as opposed to just a ‘one size fits all’ approach. For our organisation, for example, we have some unique considerations in terms of our time-sheeting, the staff benefits we provide and our rostering systems. Hopscotch has definitely taken opportunities to walk with us and understand our needs and set up those automated systems that streamline our processes for our staff.”
Transparency that informs future plans
The support from Hopscotch has put The Family Co. in a good position to keep progressing. “The transparency of the systems that Hopscotch have put in place helps with the Board’s decision-making. It comes back to having good oversight of the financial health of the organisation that helps us to understand where we can best utilise our resources to respond to our growing service needs,” says Ashleigh.
The NFP will be moving forward with the Hopscotch outsourced accounts team on their side. “They are definitely user-friendly in terms of the support which they are able to provide,” Ashleigh affirms. “I would certainly recommend Hopscotch.”