AT A GLANCE
- Government, Tourism, Education
- Eliminate manual, time consuming tasks
- Reduce time spent with data requests
- Introduce better accounting features, including budget tracking
- Achieve better reporting
- MYOB Advanced
- Paperwork cut by up to 75%
- Staff empowered to access own data
- Detailed live budgeting information
- Improved reporting and easily customisable
- Cloud data stored locally
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A national icon, the Old Parliament House building is home to the Museum of Australian Democracy (MoAD). Given a new lease on life in 2009, the building underwent an overhaul to become a contemporary museum where visitors can come and discover the history of Australia’s democracy. By exploring the past and present political landscape, the Museum’s vision is to provide educational public programs that celebrate the success of Australia’s democracy.
Slow, non-intuitive system
“We are a Corporate Commonwealth Entity – we’re owned by the government but we’re required to become more self-supporting by generating our own revenue,” explains MoAD’s Acting CFO, Nick Hetherington.
MoAD faced a variety of management challenges due to a growing number and range of visitor experiences. Its legacy finance system was slow and cumbersome, requiring lengthy training for new staff to be able to use it.
“We knew we needed something more intuitive and user-friendly,” Nick says. “Our finance staff were spending too much time handling requests for information from various departments. There was also a lot of duplication and manual form-filling; one person would put information into the system and then another would have to check it for errors.”
“We knew we needed something more user-friendly.”
MoAD generates revenue from fees paid by visitors, school and tour operators. There can be more than half a dozen school tours each day, and each one generates an invoice that has to be processed. All the cash received by the reception desk and the retail souvenir store also has to be entered and reconciled. New permanent and temporary exhibitions require budgeting, but lack of live data made tracking difficult.
As well as needing a cleaner, simpler way of managing its accounts, MoAD wanted better reporting capabilities and for its staff to access information for themselves. The search began for a replacement system.
Solution Flexible, cloud-based SaaS
“At the end of the day our needs are pretty basic, so we were looking for something that wasn’t too complicated with functions that we’d never use, which would just have made our task more difficult,” says Nick. “Some of the packages didn’t offer enough efficiency in work flow – they were either too small or too big for our needs.”
Government agencies are also required to consider cloud-based systems as a cost-saving measure. With MYOB Advanced, the risk in storage and recovery is low, as the data is hosted in Australia.
“We liked its functionality, its simple user interface, and its flexibility,” Nick says. “Using a cloud solution ensures we have a single source of truth, which gives users a central repository for all information saving time and reducing data errors. Everyone is working on the same live database.”
“Without Advanced we would be doing the same old things the same old way.”
MoAD and the MYOB Partner’s consultants ensured a smooth implementation and data transfer process, working together in generating new ideas to MoAD on how to operate its finances more efficiently. “The importance in getting the data transfer right was one of our big focuses and my team worked hard with the MYOB Partner in reconciling and ensuring the data transferred was accurate and complete,” Nick says.
Implementing Advanced enabled MoAD to reassess and improve its work processes.
“Without Advanced we would be doing the same old things the same old way,” Nick says. “In the future we need to be more efficient; we need to streamline processes, which wouldn’t have been possible unless we made the decision to move to a new platform. Now we can bring up live data so we can get straight into the interactions and the analysis of the financial data for the specific questions that people are asking.
“We’re also very confident in the future because we know Advanced can integrate with third party solutions.”
Paperwork slashed, better oversight
MYOB Advanced has transformed MoAD’s financial management.
“We’ve been able to easily, very flexibly, set up a range of new accounts that gives us a whole new level of detail that we didn’t have before,” Nick says. “Advanced is flexible because it lets us go to the level of detail that we need to go, whether it’s in how someone raises an invoice or how we report out of the system.”
Advanced has removed a significant amount of manual data entry by automating purchase orders, AP payments and AR requests. Paperwork coming into the Finance department has been cut by up to 75 percent. MoAD’s finance staff have been freed up from handling data requests, as users of the MYOB system can now go in and extract their own data. While they now have more time for revenue-generating work, the finance team still has access control, to maintain the integrity of the system’s information.
“We have control over what people can and can’t do in MYOB; we can set screen or button-based security,” says Nick. “We’ve been able to give very specific functionality, where in other systems security is very broad or tied down – here we can open it up just enough so people can do the things we want them to do.
“The best thing is that Finance now has oversight of the approval process for invoices; we used to need a separate spreadsheet to track and follow up a person or document to get it signed – now MYOB tracks it all.
“We can spend more time in the quality assurance of the financial data that’s going into the finance system, we can then unlock the secrets of the analysis of that data and provide it back to our cost centre managers.”
For Nick, one of the greatest benefits delivered by MYOB Advanced is its reporting capabilities. “Under the old system, any change for a report had to be done by one of our consultants and they would usually have to come on site to do it, so it would take a long time. Now with the MYOB Report Writer we can customise reports very quickly and easily, and get them to the people who need to see them a lot faster.
“Advanced makes my reporting better because I can tailor my reports for the stakeholders I need to report to. Whether it’s our executive or our board, or our cost centre managers, I’m able to get to the level of detail that I need for the decisions that I know that they need to make.”
Where users previously had the habit of storing data on their own computer, MYOB has become the central data repository. Everyone knows where their data is stored, and so MoAD has an audited record for the future.
To track its capital works programme, MoAD uses Advanced’s Project Tasks module. The task of budgeting and monitoring its exhibition projects has also been streamlined.
“The good thing about MYOB budgeting is it’s very flexible and easy to make adjustments,” says Nick, “so as exhibition time gets closer, the nature of it will change and so the internal budgets need to be adjusted on the fly. It’s good having a platform that allows us to make those adjustments easily.”
MYOB Advanced not only tracks costs against the General Ledger; it also monitors purchase orders so users can get a live snapshot of their project budgets. Income streams from visitor fees, tours, rents from leasing parts of the building, and government grants, are all visible separately. Advanced’s ease of integration with other systems has enabled the introduction of a POS system in the retail shop, and data from that system is easily uploaded into MYOB on a daily basis.
Exhibitions are listed as assets with all their various components, from static displays to audio-visual presentations, and MoAD’s growing collection of heritage items can accurately reconciled to the Curators catalogue system.
“MYOB Advanced has opened up transparency throughout our organisation.”
“The good thing here about Advanced is the tracking of transactions against assets; you can actually see in an asset what AP went towards the creation of that asset, so there’s definitely a lot more transparency from the asset module back to the source modules where assets have come from, which is important for complicated heritage assets, which have an indefinite life and can be made up of many sub-components.”
Nick himself finds Advanced’s cloud access especially convenient. “It creates a flexible working environment where you’re not tied down to your desk; I can attend offsite meetings and still go out and have our MYOB information available, which is important with a small team who are responsible for all accounting functions of the museum.”
MoAD has plenty of future plans for Advanced, from more detailed project monitoring to helping plan new areas of revenue generation. Since implementation the finance team has spent more time being strategic business partners with other parts of the Museum, offering insights and focusing on growing areas of revenue generation to ensure a financially sustainable museum of the future.
“Museums are dynamic and ever-changing environments and Advanced gives us the capabilities to ensure we can advise on, monitor and control the financial activity across the diverse areas of our businesses,” Nick concludes. “It’s opened up transparency throughout our organisation.”
Source: This article was originally sourced from MYOB