Client: Common Equity Housing Limited (CEHL)
Product: MYOB Greentree
Challenge: Common Equity Housing Limited (CEHL), a registered Housing Association, facing some system challenges, decided to look for a new solution. CEHL is a large not-for-profit housing provider in Australia with a housing asset base of $920 million; it was important to look for improvements that would help all areas of the business. Uniquely, CEHL provides affordable housing through more than 100 independent cooperative providers. A number of disparate systems were individually meeting the needs of the various departments, but simple things like checking if purchase orders were within budget had become very difficult. Clarity on expenses against specific assets across such a large base was proving difficult, and communication on activity between co-operative members and the management group were hampered. With rental income constrained it made sense to see how system improvements would help reduce costs and provide better platform information sharing and scaling in the future.
Timothy Dart, the Manager – Finance CEHL, and the team decided to seek a solution that could provide “the glue” for the co-operative group. Looking at the current solution which included:
- A Housing System
- 7 Access Databases
- 27 Spreadsheets
- MYOB Greentree as back end accounts
Solution: A change would be needed to bring these into one solution and to reduce or eliminate a large amount of time spent on reconciliation. After an extensive search of the possible solutions, the answer was right under their nose: the MYOB Greentree platform. It included some components which would provide the base they were looking for. There were some critical components needed to deliver a solution.
Assets – fundamental to CEHL was the need to uniquely identify each asset and then to be able to track costs and revenues against these assets and also manage communication and maintain history.
Valuations & Revaluations – being able to manage the valuation of property on fair value is vital to allow decisions to be made for portfolio management, growth and compliance.
Transaction Volumes – as the organisation was growing there was a need to simplify the processes and slim down transactional activity.
Monitor the Programme – part of the foundation of affordable housing is the ability to manage rents across the program to subsidise very low-income earners.
Transparency – as a not for profit organisation with some members transparency is important for all parties involved.
These became the key to providing a single solution, and MYOB Greentree delivered by providing a system that managed the front end of the business as well as the back-end accounting. Of course, CEHL needed a partner to help implement such a complex solution. They chose to work with MYOB partner Endeavour Solutions (Aust).
“Endeavour has been very good for us” says Timothy Dart, Manager – Finance for Common Equity.
Anna Rizio, owner and Consulting Manager for Endeavour, along with her team, were key to making it all happen. They understood both what CEHL were trying to achieve and how to help the staff through the journey. Timothy Dart says, “Anna helped to spread the changes rather than delivering one big bang”. This helped from a financial point of view and from a people point of view. It was a great team, and the results show the benefit of a well coordinated effort by everyone.
The staff feedback has been very positive. With this type of implementation, there is always some pain during the process, and Timothy sums this up very well. The progression went like this:
- Lots of optimism and excitement
- On going live, what is this! – reality set in
- Over say 6 months they dealt with issues and understood implications
- Efficiency gains are now coming
- People see the benefits now and couldn’t go back
There was expected to be less customer feedback as nothing much had changed externally however there have been a number of benefits realised:
- The unique ID for Assets was well received (BIG HELP)
- This has helped to coordinate discussions and create cross-department co-ordination
- Tracking communication (before “you should be talking to each other”)
- Dealing better with tenants
- MYOB Greentree is now a “single source of the truth”
- It has flushed out things that need to be sorted out
- GEO locations have been introduced
“Cost savings will be the outcome” says Timothy Dart and CEHL is ready for any growth opportunities that come their way.
Pictured here: CEHL Manager Timothy Dart and Harvey.
Common Equity Housing Limited (CEHL), is a registered Housing Association, a provider and developer of affordable housing. CEHL is an enabler; they partner with member co-operatives to deliver an effective, sustainable co-operative housing program. They also work with housing and co-operative industry associations and project partners to provide their housing Program and enable co-ops.
With $920M housing assets from 2200 homes across Victoria, they are the largest independent operator in Australia. They provide services for their clients including training and assistance, negotiate deals, advocate and assist with legal compliance. They are lifting people out of poverty by building communities and assisting tenants.
Endeavour provide business software solutions and accounting solutions to mid-sized businesses from branches in Melbourne, Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch. Started in the 1980s, they have hundreds of customers and provide solutions in many business sectors.
Their point of difference is in building solid business relationships with their clients, and part of this is to make sure they share a common culture with their client and the most effective communication and processes are used. Their mission is to bring the best possible solutions to their clients using the highest level of service. They measure this in client satisfaction levels and longevity of their business relationships.