Accounting Software for NDIS Providers: 6 Things to Consider
From helping you prepare for NDIS audits and tax season to tracking all the per-client expenses you need to include on your invoices and paying your staff on time, the right accounting software can make your work quicker and easier. Here is what you should keep in mind.
NDIS accounting software pricing can vary dramatically, from around $10 a month to nearly $200. While it’s important to stay within your budget, remember that cheaper isn’t always better. More expensive software may come with additional features, such as banking reconciliation, or be more intuitive to use. It may also work better with your existing systems and programs.
For example, software that better integrates with your time and attendance tracker could be a considerable time-saver. It will likely be more cost-effective than manually inputting the data into a cheaper but no-frills software.
Before selecting the cheapest package, carefully compare your options. Work out how much time the software could save you and what economic value that represents.
Ease of Use
You and your team will be using your accounting software a lot and relying on it to produce accurate accounts. Before you choose a program, make sure to do your research and ensure it meets your specific needs. Check that the software is intuitive, that you understand how to use it correctly and that it has modern features, such as a user-friendly interface. It may also be worth inviting other team members to try it to see if it’s as easy to use as you think.
Integration with Operational Software
You don’t want to sign up for accounting software only to discover you have to manually input your expenses or purchase a new payroll software. Ensure the program can integrate with all the software you’re currently using. At a minimum, consider rostering, expenses, payroll and bank reconciliation.
Automation and Recurring Transactions
NDIS accounting software should make your work easier, not harder. Check to see if the software can automate most of your processes, such as auto-coding banking transactions. With this feature, the software will automatically classify your banking transactions when you import them and, in turn, give you a better overview of your spending and incoming funds. Instead of having to manually go through all the transactions on your bank statements one by one, you’ll be able to instantly see how much you’ve spent on travel costs or transaction fees.
Other things to look for include importing invoice information from external software and handling recurring transactions.
Running an NDIS provider business can be hard work, especially when it comes to invoicing. From service categories to NDIS participant details, there’s a lot that you need to get right.
If you want to create invoices via your accounting software, you should check if the program has an NDIS-appropriate template or if you’ll need to manually set up the invoice yourself.
Alternatively, you might decide it’s best to use separate software to meet your NDIS requirements. (Here at ShiftCare, for example, our invoicing software handles NDIS prices and codes, invoice generation and bulk claims, as well as tracking all the relevant data for NDIS audits.) In this case, you’ll want to make sure the accounting software integrates well with your NDIS software.
Reports and Analytics
Financial reports and analytics will help you understand your company’s profitability and financial resilience, see where you need to cut costs, and determine which services are most worth further investment.
If you currently use software for billing or expenses, you may already have access to some financial reports. However, reports generated by accounting software can give a bigger picture of your finances. For example, some accounting software packages offer cash flow analysis and budget reports.
The Best Accounting Software for NDIS Providers Compared
The best NDIS accounting software for you will depend on your company’s size, strategy and needs. You’ll want to start your search with Quickbooks, Xero and MYOB, as they are some of the most popular accounting programs, and for good reason. Let’s take a quick look at them now.
Quickbooks is an intuitive accounting software purpose-built for small businesses and the self-employed. As such, it tends to be a cheaper option — although if promotions and discounts are available on competitor software, you may find the difference is marginal.
Despite its generally lower prices, Quickbooks is a good middle-ground between programs such as Xero and MYOB. It’s easy to use but has many of the more powerful features that will give you insights into how your NDIS provider business is performing. For example, it can generate an extensive range of financial reports that are easy to understand yet don’t skimp on details.
These reports include profit and loss reports by client, cash flow statements, staff timesheet activities and more. Uninvoiced time and charges reports will also let you track non-billable services and can help inform your NDIS fund management. Although none of these are robust enough to replace your NDIS software, they can work well alongside it to give you the information you need to make the right decisions.
Quickbooks also offers cloud-based accounting, uses PayPal for faster payment processing and is excellent for integrations. Expenses can be automated, a feature that you can use to stay on track of costs such as fuel and PPE and make sure they’re correctly assigned to specific clients.
Xero is a mid-range accounting package with a wide range of useful features for NDIS providers. Compared to Quickbooks and MYOB, it’s easier to set up and get running quickly, even if you don’t have a thorough understanding of bookkeeping.
Its bank deposit reconciliation and automatic data extraction from receipts and invoices can be a real time-saver. Xero Analytics and Analytics Plus will give you an at-a-glance understanding of your profitability and help you track your financial health. You can also build custom reports and compare them to actual and projected data.
Xero has multiple mobile apps for different functions. The company promises that you can do most of the tasks you can do in Xero web with the Xero Accounting app.
MYOB is designed for businesses of all sizes, from startups to enterprises, and its rates reflect that. Monthly prices range from economical plans to packages with payroll and inventory tracking for over $100 a month.
Although smaller NDIS providers will still find excellent value in MYOB’s offerings, you’ll get the most out of it if you are a larger provider or have a well-versed accountant or bookkeeper on the team. This is because MYOB comes with a host of features designed to help you manage more complex accounting or dive deep into how your business is performing.
These features include cash flow management, invoicing, expenses, real-time financial reporting and budgeting. Job tracking will give you a per-service and per-client understanding of costs, incomes and financial viability. This can help you make decisions about everything from recruiting more mental health or physiotherapy support workers to which services to highlight most on your website.
However, if you plan to use your accounting software on the go, MYOB may not be the best option for you. While it has several options for specific apps, such as expenses and invoicing, it doesn’t yet have a one-stop mobile app with all of your accounting details.
NDIS Accounting, Invoicing and Bookkeeping Made Easier
No matter which accounting software you use, it’s important to check that it integrates smoothly with your other tools and software. This is particularly important for invoicing and payments because, as a disability care provider, you have to invoice the NDIS directly — something that may be easier via a more specialist program.
Here at ShiftCare, our invoicing software will help you streamline your finances, track expenses, pay staff and submit invoices to the NDIS. It also integrates with accounting software, including Quickbooks, Xero and MYOB, to make your bookkeeping quick and easy.
Try ShiftCare’s accounting integration and invoicing features for free today. No credit card required.