KEY POINTS

  • Lifeline Darling Downs and South West Queensland Ltd (LDDSWQL) experienced rapid growth over recent years and their accounting system simply could not keep up.

  • LDDSWQL made the decision to implement the ERP system Microsoft Dynamics 365 Business Central working with Professional Advantage (PA).

  • Both LDDSWQL and PA worked as a team to complete one of the smoothest implementations either organisation has ever seen.

  • They experienced a 30% time saving, 70% reduction in printing, and 90% reduction in filed documents.

  • LDDSWQL will go on to use Business Central with Power BI to produce reports and dashboards to outline the reaching of their objectives within the community.

"I liked that Professional Advantage was a homely sort of place; we weren’t just a number."

Colin Aynsley, Chief Financial Officer, LDDSWQL

The Organisation

Lifeline Darling Downs and South West Queensland Ltd (LDDSWQL) is part of Australia’s leading suicide prevention service, with the mission to “exist to build strong communities which empower people to live their lives to their full potential”. LDDSWQL employs more than 280 people across seven locations spreading into the far south west of Queensland, with their head office in Toowoomba. Supporting their main charter of suicide prevention and counselling services, they offer a suite of community focussed programs which include Child Protection, Domestic and Family Violence, Financial Counselling, Youth Work, as well as providing emergency relief and community recovery during times of fire, drought, storm, and more recently, the COVID-19 pandemic.

Following considerable growth as an organisation, the decision was made to implement the ERP system of Microsoft Dynamics 365 Business Central. This business management solution, designed and aimed at small and medium organisations, helps these organisations to connect their financials, sales, service, and operations.

The Need

LDDSWQL recently experienced rapid growth from a transactional basis, with their organisation doubling in size over the past two years alone. Their previous accounting system was 10-12 years old and could no longer cope with the requirements of the team.

"We also needed all of our systems to integrate together and offer us complete automation.”
Colin Aynsley, Chief Financial Officer, LDDSWQL.

The Solution

Making the decision to implement Business Central with Professional Advantage (PA) was an easy one for the team.

“Business Central was a no brainer. We needed an accounting package that would interface with all our other packages and bring together finance, payroll, and SharePoint, as well as integrating with Microsoft. Business Central met all those needs.”

When it came to choosing their implementation partner, LDDSWQL knew they needed someone with whom they would partner well, but most importantly, someone who had good client service.

"PA provides good implementation and customer service, but most importantly for us, good post implementation service.”

You can read more about their relationship with Professional Advantage in our Lifeline Darling Downs and South West Queensland Limited client story here.

The Results

When asked a question, Colin responded with a simple answer:

“Has it achieved the project objectives? Yes, more than we had hoped for! We cannot think of a negative to the system or implementation.”

LDDSWQL are now benefitting from one database for customers and one for vendors, cutting down on duplication; previously they would be duplicating an invoice 4 or 5 times in the approval process, whereas now it is fully automated. They experienced a seamless transition from the old accounting package to the new one, bringing with it a change of focus: they have created a central repository for all their files within Business Central, which is then utilised by other teams—marketing now registers their leads within Business Central—and interrogated by their other systems, such as SharePoint.

“Our people really love Business Central. It is very flexible, so if you don’t like the look, you just change it. We can do everything ourselves so any problems that arise, we can rectify quickly. If it didn’t work for the staff, that would be an issue, but they love it.”

The project ran under-budget, and when discussing the implementation, Colin was frank in his opinion.

“It was one of the smoothest implementations I have ever seen during my working career.”

LDDSWQL and PA agree that it was the team approach that bolstered the success of the project. Together they talked through what was being done, with their consultant running through specifics and adding in their thoughts and ideas. For example, LDDSWQL began to discuss their marketing team with their PA Client Success Manager, and within no time they were told there was a relationship management system within Business Central that required no additional cost and simply needed to be implemented.

“I cannot speak more highly of the project and how it was conducted: tight timelines were met, we had excellent trainers, and our PA team always understood us: we described something, and they were on it.”

Their consultants within PA shared this positive opinion on the working relationship.

“LDDSWQL’s attitude was integral to the success of this project. Without them being as organised and focussed as they were, we couldn’t have done it. They were an absolute pleasure to work with.”
Business Central consultant, Professional Advantage.

LDDSWQL are not shy in discussing the benefits they have experienced since implementing Business Central:

  • 30% time saving in payables: instead of passing invoices from branches to offices for signatures and then entering them manually, staff enter them in an app which is then interrogated by Business Central.
  • 70% reduction in printing: previously items were printed, photocopied, and stored, whereas now, storage requirements have decreased, and documents can be rapidly found online with no manual searching.
  • 90% reduction in filed documents within Accounts Payable: everything is now electronic.
  • Report run times decrease from 4-5 days to 1 day: using Jet Reports with Business Central, instead of people manipulating the data, transactions are analysed and reports created, ultimately eliminating human error.

The Future

Put simply again by Colin:

“What is the overall significance of the solution to your business? Significant long-term benefits!”

Now that they are enjoying the benefits of Business Central, LDDSWQL are planning for their future with the solution, including bringing Power BI into the mix. Initially they plan to roll out Business Central to both their marketing and fundraising teams, then when all data is in one central repository, they can use Power BI to create reports daily across every aspect of the business.

“The measure of our success is not financials; it is what we have done for the community. What are the current suicide rates, how many emergency care food parcels have we distributed, and how have we helped people? Power BI and Business Central will allow us to create reports and advanced dashboards to outline how effective we have been in the marketplace.”

Whilst LDDSWQL have an exemplary internal ICT team to develop their use of Power BI, they know they can reach out to PA to hone their skills should they need.

"We will want some training, so will come to PA for that to make sure we hit the ground running with Power BI."

At Professional Advantage, we look forward to continuing to work with and support Lifeline Darling Downs and South West Queensland Limited and their Business Central solution to ensure they achieve more with their technology.

At Professional Advantage, we look forward to continuing to work with and support Lifeline Darling Downs and South West Queensland Limited and their Business Central solution to ensure they achieve more with their technology.