Is Aged Care QFR Taxing?

Published Aug 30, 2022

With an ERP the New Aged Care Quarterly Reporting Doesn’t Have to be a Taxing Time

Thirty-five days. Just over one month. That’s all the time you have to submit the first aged care provider Quarterly Financial Report (QFR) after the end of the July-September quarter.

It might seem like a long lead time, but extracting and compiling data across many different business areas is time-consuming – especially if you don’t have a single source of truth to tap into or a system that connects all business processes and enables automatic extraction of relevant data.

Instead, what lies ahead is hours and hours of manual data collection. You will need to check and double-check for human error. You will need to gather in-depth information from HR, Payroll, Operations, Governance, Facilities and Asset Management, IT, Food and Nutrition Services, and Finance. You will need to sift through reams of spreadsheets to extract the information you need. The thought of it is mind-boggling.

Your current processes only add to the complexity. They don’t allow you to capture all the information required to meet stringent accountability, reporting, and record-keeping obligations, let alone the quality of care compliances tied to funding.

You’ve got 35 days, but you’ve done the math, and your quarterly reporting requirement could take four weeks to compile. To make matters worse, you are already operating with limited staff resources, and the extra admin work introduced following the Aged Care Reform has left you struggling with the new pressures.

The future is overwhelming. Once this reporting period is finished, there’s little time before the entire process is repeated. There is, however, a silver lining.

The data-gathering process will reveal a goldmine of information you can use to shape a business case for investing in improvement measures. An easier approach is needed – there’s no denying it – and you’ve decided an ERP software system could be the answer. The right ERP will equip your organisation with the tools needed to produce compliance reporting, pull together reporting data, and increase productivity and efficiency. All this equates to significant time and money savings.

A single source of truth is not a pipedream. It can be a reality. Here’s why the new Aged Care QFR doesn’t have to be a taxing time.

What Information is Needed for Quarterly Financial Reporting?  

The QFR has five distinct sections:

  • Viability and prudential compliance questions: The government will use your responses to these questions as indicators of viability and prudential concerns.
  • Quarterly financial statements: The government will assess your financial information to paint a picture of the sector’s overall performance.
  • Residential care labour cost and hours reporting: This information will be used to determine your star rating and shape costing studies under the newly introduced AN-ACC funding model.
  • Home care labour cost and hours reporting: The government is using a sharp increase in the scope of reporting for home care services to enhance transparency and improve accountability. The reporting requirements are now more closely aligned to those in residential care.
  • Quarterly Food and Nutrition report: This report has replaced the existing Basic Daily Fee (BDF) supplement report.

Residential aged care providers must submit four of the five sections, including the viability and prudential compliance questions, quarterly financial statements, residential care labour cost and hours reporting, and quarterly food and nutrition report.

Home care service providers must complete three of the five sections, including viability and prudential compliance questions, quarterly financial statements, and home care labour cost and hours reporting.

How Difficult is it to Produce and Submit the Required Reports Manually? 

How difficult and time-consuming the reporting process is will depend on several factors, one being how you store your information. If you data is not stored in a unified systems, or can be easily extracted and consolidated into a central data store, you will have to invest more resources into your QFR process.

For example, you may have to draw from several source pools, including your CRM, payroll and accounting software, project management tools, and human capital management. If you can’t easily navigate these tools yourself, you’ll need to speak with various area managers and wait for them to response with the correct data.

From there, you’ll need to collate the data, read through the information, identify relevant insights, and manipulate the data into spreadsheets. then, you’ll need to double-check that you’ve entered everything error-free and that your formula’s are working as they should be. Finally, you can submit the information to the department’s online portal.

What are the Risks of Reporting Manually? 

All government-funded aged care service providers must meet the Aged Care Quality Standards. The QFR is one aspect of ensuring your organisation meets these stringent regulations. Even if human error is to blame, failing to provide accurate information can have far-reaching consequences, including:

  • Financial penalties: You may be liable to pay financial penalties if your information is not submitted on time of if you data is inaccurate.
  • Non- compliance: Your organisation’s funding and operational viability are linked closely to quality assurance and your reporting obligations. Regulatory bodies will intervene if the viability of your operations is questioned or if you are found to be non-compliant. For example, the Commission keeps a record of every provider’s performance when it comes to reporting, which, along with other insights, determines a provider’s risk profile. How the Commission responds to non-compliance depends on the scope of the offence and the overall risk profile.
  • Brand reputation: If you reputation is found to be non-compliant, your reputation, customers relationships, and market position could be severely and potentially irreparably damaged. The aged care environment is becoming increasingly competitive, a phenomenon only exacerbated by the introduction of the star rating system.
  • Succession planning: Manual reporting means developing a long-winded and sometimes unconventional process of gathering, sorting, and formatting information. This process likely included workarounds, making it too convoluted and complex to document. So, what happens if you leave the organisation? How will your successor cope with reporting?

Take Note if you Experience These Manual Reporting Pain Points 

Many of our prospective customers have shared business inefficiencies, challenges, and pain points with us, all of which have impacted their ability to generate accurate QFR’s. So as you undertake your reporting tasks keep an eye out for the following. These are tell-tale signs your organisation is in need of a systems refresh.

  • Seeking information demands complex communication, which is inefficient, time-consuming, and results in several back-and-forths.
  • Manual tasks are repetitive.
  • You are forced to allocated more time to business processes than looking after your clients.
  • Your current system does not provide the level of detail needed for new reporting requirements.
  • You are tasked with accessing a large number of business systems across your organisation to retrieve the information you need.
  • You are navigating multiple touchpoints that are working in silos.
  • The number of spreadsheets is becoming difficult to handle, and accurate analysis feels almost impossible.
  • Data is outdated or not available in real-time.
  • You don’t have the visibility into your operations that you need to meet reporting and compliance obligations.
  • Your systems have become barriers preventing you from doing your job efficiently.
  • Your manual workload has forced you to source outside help.
  • Reporting timeframes have required you to put aside high-priority and growth-driving activities.

Three Tips to Improve Your Business Case for Digital Transformation 

The above pain points are all too familiar and investing in a system transformation is the only way to change things. If you feel compelled to present a strong business case highlighting the time and cost savings an ERP could deliver, here are three tips to sharpen your business case and secure buy-in for change:

  • Download a free business case template and keep a record of the challenges and issues you run into when gathering information from current business systems. How many hours are you spending chasing up the financials only to find they are outdated? How many back-and-forth emails have you shared with HR?
  • Consider documenting the challenges you face for each of the three of four reporting requirements your organisation is obligated to complete.
  • Seek support from colleagues in other areas of the organisation. Ask them to provide feedback on their experience with the reporting process and the resulting inefficiencies. You want to show that the current way of doing things adversely impacts all corners of the business. Plus, decision-makers are typically more approachable and more likely to address existing and emerging problems when multiple voices express concerns. The more perspectives you can gather, the stronger your case.

Start Building Your Business Case to Drive Change Today  

Need help formulating your business case for a new ERP system? We can help.

Precise Business Solutions have extensive aged care industry-specific experience and purpose-built software to meet your unique requirements. We can help you find which parts of your organisation that are starting to hinder your efforts to grow. In a one-to-two hours hands-on workshop, we can help you uncover the root cause of your critical business challenges and lay the groundwork for project success. The best bit? It’s absolutely FREE of charge.

Get in touch today, and let’s set your organisation on a path to easy, accurate, and compliant reporting.

Make a time to chat