It’s an expression thrown around a lot; “We would like real-time reporting”.
‘Real-time’ means different things to different organisations, and is dependent upon what time period is material. For some organisations, a daily timeframe is needed for critical analysis that impacts the result of the next day’s performance. For others, it is weekly.
Of course, the reality is that no matter what time frame is material, delivering a ‘real-time’ report comes down to being able to physically deliver it, which is reliant upon technical capabilities, resources, and process. But let’s ignore that last sentence for now though as that’s for another time.
What we want to discuss is that real (as possible) time reporting has become real for not-for-profits. We work with many organisations in this sector, and we know it is a pretty broad title and encompasses SO many different organisations from professional associations and clubs to disability service providers.
Within this blog, we would like to focus on NFP’s providing disability services. Specifically, the ones who have gone through the transition to the NDIS. This has bought about significant, monumental change.
The change in funding/revenue model.
There has been a move from receiving funding/income in bulk (typically from government) prior to any service being delivered, to receiving set funding at an individual customer/participant level after the service has been performed.
This a monumental shift. Providers, for long term viability, now need to make sure that the cost to deliver a service at an individual level, or rolled up, isn’t outweighed by the set income. This forces a more ‘real-time’ focus on data, particularly around expenses and looking at future revenue forecasts.
No organisation can have more expenses than income and expect to survive in the long term (without additional sources of funding, something some organisations do have, e.g. lotteries). Hence a better understanding of the performance of a particular service or offering is critical in assessing its viability. This is not an understanding at day eight of the following month, but is an understanding in ‘real-time’. These may sound like easy to make statements, but in respect to these organisations, there is no flippancy intended. Their success is vital to our society; these organisations support those in need of their services within our community.
Prior to the NDIS, the priority for reporting was largely to meet the reporting obligations of the funding body. Whilst ‘operational reporting’ gets done, it was not the most important reporting; it was often very backwards looking meaning it was too late to change the performance for the next month.
We now shift to very commercial, corporate-like operations where that operational reporting becomes important to delivering on the Mission of that organisation. What we mean is, if there isn’t timely access to data, and analysis of that data, the organisations long term viability is in question.
Are you ready to improve your not-for-profit reporting process?
Join Business Intelligence consultants Chris Catto and Greg Long in this on-demand webinar to find out how Microsoft Power BI can help not-for-profit organisations improve their reporting outcomes in the areas of: