With the celebration of the National Aborigines and Islanders Day Observance Committee (NAIDOC) this July, one of our partners, Troy Schoenfisch, decided to share his experience working with Faye Carr. NAIDOC awarded Faye the 2017 Female Elder of the Year for her work at the Liworaji Aboriginal Organisation.
Earlier this year, I was asked to assist with the bookkeeping for a Not For Profit organisation (NFP). The Liworaji Aboriginal Organisation had been dormant for some time and had just received some funding. They asked that I come on board to make sure everything was ‘on the money’ moving forward.
The organisation runs a range of programs to assist all members of the aboriginal community in their area. They help youth disengaged from education get into work programs and also help them liaise with the right social services. The organisation was doing a great job of connecting the community with the right people but it needed an accurate and easy way to track their progress.
When I turned up at the office, there wasn’t a financial management system in place. We went through what they needed and decided Xero was the only option that fit. We needed something that was simple to use, but still had the ability to track income and expenses for each of the different programs clearly. Therefore reporting back to the funding bodies would be a breeze.
Software for everyone
As a NFP, the cost point was an issue. My goal was to have a system that I could train someone within the organisation to use. Ultimately, I wanted something that has functionality but is simple enough to hand over to someone internally. It also needed to be easy enough that someone without an accounting degree could run it.
Not only did Xero tick these boxes, but it is a fantastic tool (and my ‘go to’) for getting the books up to date after a long period of time. I was able to enter a years’ worth of data, reconcile and categorise it within a couple of hours instead of a couple of days.
With Xero’s easy to access and fully customisable reports, it quickly showed the full breakdown of expenses against funding. We also set budgets to run variance reporting to confirm when we have reached the milestones to apply for further funding. The breakdown and analysis tools also give more detail of actual costs to assist in the planning, budgeting and application process for new projects and funding applications.
Ladies of Liworaji
Not long after I started working with the ‘Ladies of Liworaji’, they moved to new premises. A bigger space with more capacity for all the current programs. Within the first month they had over 100 people walk through the doors, who had never had the opportunity before.
On the first of July, the Chair of Liworaji, Faye Carr, won the 2017 Female Elder of the Year award at the NAIDOC awards. As a result, there are now even more possibilities opening up for Liworaji to access further funding to provide more support to the people in the region.
Plans for the future? Using Xero to teach financial management and bookkeeping skills to members of the Liworaji community to help improve employability. Software like Xero is really making it easy for bookkeepers to make a difference.
Troy Schoenfisch runs his own business, Troy’s Bookkeeping, in Coopers Plains, Queensland.