NDIS registered businesses benefit from working with specialist advisors
Working with a specialist NDIS accountants and business advisors can assist providers to meet compliance obligations and set up their operations for success.
How the NDIS works
The National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) provides support and funds services for the 4.3 million Australians who have a disability.
Individuals who are able to access funding and support through the NDIS can choose to work with unregistered or registered NDIS providers.
It pays for NDIS providers to work with specialist business advisors such as accountants to help them navigate the complexities of the scheme.
Adarsh Dutt is the co-founder of forward-thinking business advisory firm Oyster Hub. Rather than being solely motivated by commercial gain, his focus is on making a real difference to clients’ lives. Oyster Hub’s business philosophy of helping clients find their pearl has evolved into specialising in NDIS accounting.
Dutt has been recognised multiple times through industry awards, and was most recently awarded chief financial officer of the year for 2021 by industry publication Accountants Daily. He says it’s beneficial for NDIS firms to work with specialist advisors due to the scheme’s complexity and regulatory rigour.
“It’s important for NDIS businesses to work with advisors who can assist them to establish robust reporting and compliance infrastructure right from the start. This allows them to focus on growing their business, rather than being bogged down in red tape,” says Dutt, who adds the scheme is overseen by the Australian Securities and Investments Commission, the Australian Taxation Office, NDIS commission, as well as other government departments. The involvement of multiple regulatory bodies only serves to emphasise how critical it is for NDIS providers to work with experts.
“NDIS providers that don’t seek advice often spend long hours simply meeting day-to-day compliance requirements. Additionally, providers often find it challenging to access adequate funding, and often lament the lack of support to help them structure and run their business,” he adds.
Dutt notes NDIS registration and setting up compliance systems takes between eight and 12 months before providers can start providing services. At the same time, NDIS businesses have to ensure staff are properly trained and also understand how to comply with NDIS requirements.
“There’s a lot of red tape given the NDIS is funded by taxpayers’ money. NDIS businesses must also meet all the usual tax and business regulations, on top of their NDIS compliance requirements such as NDIS commission audits.”
The importance of specialist NDIS advisors
It’s essential for NDIS providers to work with specialist NDIS advisors so their operations are correctly established from the outset.
“Specialist advisors can help NDIS businesses to identify the path to a successful NDIS business model, in addition to ensuring the busines complies with government regulations and ATO and ASIC requirements. The business model should be set up so it can easily be scaled,” says Dutt.
What does a specialist NDIS specialist advisor do?
Specialist advisors such as Dutt will outline an NDIS advisory roadmap for providers, including identifying the right business model.
“We help organisations identify their goals and set up the business structure to meet these goals. We also structure businesses to ensure their assets are protected and to minimise tax. We can also help NDIS firms apply for government grants,” he adds.
Specialists can assist providers to manage their NDIS registration, auditing and licencing as well as daily compliance requirements. Says Dutt: “We also help our clients to set up team structures and training their staff.”
Advisors can also help implement software to manage complex NDIS processes, including legal requirements, budgeting and cash flow advice, often for multiple locations, as well as NDIA portal billing and claims
“We use QuickBooks Online, in addition to case management software Comm.care by Pnyx. The ability to integrate these software tools helps to simplify NDIS business processes and meet complex compliance requirements,” he adds.
Intuit QuickBooks assists accounting advisors and their NDIS clients to meet their accounting and tax compliance obligations, manage payroll and employee entitlements and access real-time data to make business decisions. It also assists firms to manage multiple NDIS sites and focus on growth.
Comm.care by Pnyx gives NDIS providers the ability to manage three NDIS funding options: NDIA-managed, self-managed and plan-managed, and simplifies the NDIS claim process. It generates invoices and statements and automatically sends them via email to clients and plan managers. It’s also possible to generate bulk NDIS claim data to upload to the NDIS portal.
“The Comm.care software also allows us to access a single view of the client and provide them with a comprehensive view of their care plan, budget, goals and progress, as well as appointments and contacts, from one place,” says Dutt.
Comm.care facilitates workforce rostering and communication to clients and reduces administration burdens. It helps clients to take control of their care plan and see how they are tracking against their goals. It also simplifies the claims process, generating statements and support logs, and creates invoices straight from the app, which can then be sent via email to the client.
“Using Intuit QuickBooks and Comm.care, my clients are able to save more than 120 hours a week or $457,000 in administration costs a year, assuming the business has more than 100 clients,” he adds.
As this shows, navigating the NDIS requires significant expertise, which is why it’s so important to work with specialist providers.
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