ALARA QLD Limited is a not for profit, community based organisation that provides a broad range of innovative and responsive services for people with a disability and their families. They provide services in the Ipswich, Somerset and Lockyer regions of Queensland.
Since 1991, ALARA has worked with people with a disability, their carers and the community to design and deliver services and supports that assist people to live at home, strengthen their natural support networks and assist skills development and enable people to achieve their personal goals.
ALARA’s commitment is not only to provide quality services the value add to the lives of the people they support but also the communities within which they work.
ALARA provides state-funded disability services, but is also funded by Community Care and HACC and performs private care work. They employ one payroll officer (who also works on other things), one person in accounts receivable and they have a finance manager who also looks after computers, transport and property matters. An external organisation manages and supports their IT, though one in-house employee works in systems support, making sure all the systems continue to work well together. This role also includes finance and accounting functions.
ALARA already had a client management system (CMS) they were very happy with. They are using TRACCS, a system developed by Adamas Corporate Solutions in Western Australia. They wanted to integrate their rostering, payroll, statistical and finance systems with their CMS to reduce double-handling of data and increase the organisation’s efficiency. Their options were either to stop using TRACCS and buy a new system that did everything, or find a system that would work well alongside TRACCS.
ALARA was very happy with how TRACCS worked for their organisation, particularly because it was a good match for their mixed funding model. TRACCS allows the organisation to produce a ‘needs index’, an important tool for home and community care. For organisations whose work is primarily state-funded, other solutions might prove better.
The entire organisation was also very comfortable using TRACCS, and there was a great deal of legacy data saved in the system. Given all of this, ALARA decided to find a finance/payroll/HR package that would integrate with the system.
ALARA approached Adamas Corporate Solutions for advice on systems they knew worked well with TRACCS. The TRACCS developers provided a list of systems they recommended, and ALARA refined these to a shortlist. They then trialled each of the systems on that list to determine which would work best for them.
ALARA also sought the help of their IT support organisation in selecting a system. They have an ongoing relationship with a local IT company who manage all their hardware and software installation and maintenance and do the majority of their support. That organisation also helps ALARA plan its IT strategy. They meet annually to assess ALARA’s IT situation and what they will need to meet future goals. This IT strategy is then used to inform the organisation’s capital budget, the order in which they enhance their current system, and decisions about what systems to maintain and which to abandon. The IT support organisation was very helpful in determining which system would best meet ALARA’s needs because they have a comprehensive overview of ALARA’s current IT situation and their goals.
After the evaluation process, ALARA elected to implement Attaché General Ledger, Payroll, Fixed Asset, Suppliers and Receivables modules. This was done some years ago. More recently, the costing module “PowerLink” has been added. This will allow a significant reduction in cost centres in the chart of accounts (simplifying the general ledger) and capturing the various reporting attributes needed at the transaction level.