Reporting has always been important for not-for-profit organisations, particularly where they are handling funding from government bodies. As the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) is implemented, the importance of sophisticated reporting has increased.
To ensure consistent standards within the NDIS, there is a need for comprehensive, detailed reporting. For many not-for-profit organisations, this requires a review of the current system capabilities. Smart software capable of effective reporting is essential for any organisations and disability support providers to streamline this process.
Related: What is NDIS?
How is Reporting Impacted Under the NDIS?
Previously, reports focused on demonstrating to stakeholders or government bodies where funding was spent, as well as reporting outcomes. Under the NDIS, reporting has shifted to cover a couple of key areas. These include:
- Greater control of cost centres — Understanding and controlling cost within a not-for-profit organisation is a fundamental need. Under the NDIS, cost centres will require the ability to track and isolate data on individual participants and programs. Reports will need to measure what is paid at an individual level, as well as providing detail on the cost associated with participants.
- Aggregate data from multiple systems — Not-for-profit organisation reporting was often performed under several different systems and manually compiled for operational requirements. Under the NDIS, there is a need to pull aggregate data from all internal systems for real-time reporting. The data across all sectors of the organisation needs to be accumulated and displayed in a dashboard for clear analysis.
Building the Relevant Reporting Platform
The tools and processes necessary to create the right reporting platform for NDIS requirements will differ between organisations. While there are commonalities across the board, there are specific reports required from health care providers that may not be relevant for other disability support providers, such as employment groups.
It is best to determine the specific needs for the report in order to select appropriate reporting software and data capturing. There are key steps to take in order to get this right:
- Define who the relevant stakeholders are — Determine which key departments or operating bodies require reports to be produced. This may include the financial department, purchasing, HR or a number of other stakeholders. Once the interested parties have been identified, it is important to understand what they require from the reporting software.
- Workshop report types with stakeholders — The workshopping process involves mapping out the various types of data the reports will handle, and how this is to be managed. Consider how the reports will measure the data and isolate particular clients or participants? What system integration is necessary?
- Develop sample reporting — To get an idea of how your organisation’s NDIS reports will physically look and be read, a sample report should be produced. This might be a simple mock-up in a database or word processor that is not yet based on real data. It simply needs to give an indication of the report layout.
- Ensure the correct data is captured — To make sure the correct data will be pulled into the report, it is necessary to delve into the back end of existing software or planned systems. Will the software need to be collaborative with other systems? This process requires reverse engineering to make sure relevant information such as times and client details are being tracked, then compiled into the right reports.
- Select the reporting platform — The platform you choose may be based on aesthetics, current systems or existing needs. There are a number of suitable applications, including Power BI, SQL Reporting Services or Crystal Reports.
As the NDIS is implemented for disability support providers, the impact on not-for-profit organisations will be substantial. One of the big changes will be the need for streamlined reporting and clean analysis of data on both an individual and organisational level. Understanding the requirements is just one aspect of the process.
Rather than relying on multiple systems, it is worth investing in a reporting platform that integrates the relevant data. Choosing innovative software or reporting options now ensures you are prepared for future updates or necessary reporting changes as well.