Accuracy, Admin and Automation: Help for Helping Hands
As the Executive Officer of a disability support business, Lee-Anne Flint juggles many tasks. “I do everything from systems to compliance to business management and more,” says Lee-Anne, who works with Helping Hands Support & Therapeutic Services.
The business was founded in 2020 after Director Hayden saw the need for more small shift arrangements to support NDIS participants to “live actively in the community, shop and attend appointments.”
They started with a team of four doing 10 to 15 hours each per week supporting three participants. “But that rose dramatically very quickly,” Lee-Anne says. Helping Hands Support now has 23 staff doing between 700 and 900 hours of support per month for more than 45 participants in Victoria and Tasmania.
The secret to their growth? Along with the need for services, Lee-Anne attributes it to their people. “We value our staff as much as we do our participants,” she explains. “We match them according to like-mindedness and interests. We make sure they’re enjoying their jobs and supporting the right people.”
And what does she love most about her work? “Seeing the outcomes for participants. The look on somebody's face when they've achieved one of their goals or been able to go somewhere because we’ve provided community access – there’s no words for that.”
The rapidly growing business needed good systems and processes, but the first solution they tried didn’t cut it. “It was incredibly frustrating,” she says. “We could see it wasn't built to do what we needed it to.
“We weren't confident in the accuracy of our invoices or the descriptors we put into line items. We couldn’t put shift templates in. It didn't have the timesheet functionality either. Along with managing HR, that was an additional thing we had to do manually.”
Using a system not designed for NDIS service providers impacted her and the business, Lee-Anne says. “We had to rework some things we’d already done because we didn't get the outcome we expected. We also spent lots of time communicating with the developers, trying to get them to understand what we needed.”
The problem with invoice accuracy affected timely payment, which flowed onto wages. “It had a snowball effect. The whole business was let down.”
They looked at other solutions, but many were more complex than they needed and involved an expensive upfront payment.
Then they discovered ShiftCare, which “was just the right fit,” Lee-Anne says. Along with being cost-effective, it had all the features they were looking for – including rostering, timesheets and NDIS compliant invoicing.
Using ShiftCare has positively impacted the business in several ways. “Our rostering is so much more streamlined. We have confidence in the descriptors on our invoices and what the system generates, so we don’t have to go back and double check.
“We love the shift templates. We can prompt our staff about what's needed on each shift, which we couldn't do before.”
Time for more important things
Lee-Anne says using ShiftCare has more than halved time spent doing administration. “The templates mean we've got all the information from staff. We can approve those shifts knowing we've got a really good picture of what happened. That rolls into the timesheets as well.”
She especially loves ShiftCare’s integrations. “Being able to generate invoices and then export a file to Xero in three clicks is awesome.
“You’re doing multiple jobs at once so it's a real timesaver. I'd have to have three of me if I was still using the old system.”
Support for growth
And ShiftCare has supported their growth, partly by helping build a positive business reputation. “It allows us to give purpose-built support and helps staff to give good service.”
ShiftCare also allows them to easily see what’s happening in the business. “We can all get in there and become really familiar with participants and staff. It gives us a good visual to see where we could onboard another participant if needed.”
Plus, it’s great for training. “I give new staff a run down and send links to our administration manual and ShiftCare’s YouTube videos. This saves a huge amount of time. We then revisit ShiftCare for some fine tuning applicable to our business needs.”
Understanding and anticipating user needs
At times, it even feels like ShiftCare’s developers can read their minds. “We’d say, ‘Wouldn't it be good if you could drop and drag’ – and there it was.”
Lee-Anne believes this is because ShiftCare recognises their customers’ needs. Not only are they responsive to feedback, but they also “understand what's required of a service provider and the compliances under the NDIS”.
Lee-Anne also appreciates ShiftCare’s user support. “The webinars are fantastic. The Help icon is great; it’s an in-built administration manual!”
With a waiting list for their Bendigo services and a commitment to recruiting only top-notch staff, further growth for Helping Hands Support & Therapeutic Services is on hold for now.
In the meanwhile, they’re still focusing on providing the best possible experiences for staff and participants – and ShiftCare plays a part. “We talk about a holistic approach to our services and a holistic business approach. That's what ShiftCare gives us.”