Financial and accounting software is required for all types of endeavours, from business and commerce to government and not-for-profit. Often the software has to be used by staff who are not trained as accountants or bookkeepers, sometimes they are not even trained in the use of a computer, so it is a great compliment to the designers and programmers of SapphireOne that it can deliver at all levels – from the sophisticated, high-level management reporting to basic data entry and information capture.
Melinda Watson, Finance and Administration Manager, oversees the implementation of SapphireOne in the Darkinjung Local Aboriginal Land Council (www.darkinjung.com.au)
Since its creation in 1984, Darkinjung has focused on improving the lives of its Members by implementing policies and procedures through the operational functions of an Aboriginal Land Council, and in accordance with the New South Wales Aboriginal Land Rights Act 1983 (NSW ALRA ).
Darkinjung provides a focal and information sharing point for Aboriginal issues, advises government and property owners and managers regarding sites of significance, supports cultural and heritage events, and delivers social housing and related services to members. It is the largest landholder on the NSW Central Coast with around 4,638 acres under management.
“We need SapphireOne to capture and record data accurately”, explained Melinda. “You can’t really compare us to any other organisation because we have so many different roles, from a membership organisation to land management.”
Darkinjung’s external auditor, PKF Newcastle, were appointed consultants to work with them before choosing a financial package for the organisation to ensure it covered all bases, Darkinjung knew it had to do even more by supporting the people who would actually use it.
“We chose SapphireOne because it is an Australian product and the team who operate it are located in Australia. It’s also adaptable and flexible, and that’s really important for the range of activities we have to monitor and record. For instance, as the user, we can customise our transaction screens to meet our requirements for different areas.
“The finance team has used SapphireOne from day one. However, we’ve also rolled it out to various business units across Darkinjung, but it all depends on the capacity and skills of the people who use it.
“Not all of our staff are tech savvy, so training and implementation for them is a little different to someone with a financial background or who has used various ERP packages.”
However, this is one of SapphireOne’s strengths. Its robust design means it can be implemented at many different levels within the organisation.
“SapphireOne is used throughout Darkinjung. The reception area has implemented the Workbook module to capture incoming and outgoing mail. This is a great introduction to the program, many staff then springboard into different business units and have an understanding of how the program works. This experience then allows them to easily transition, they may not be a super user of SapphireOne but they at least have an understanding of what the software is about”.
“Recently we had a finance team member apply for leave, the receptionist was then seconded for a short period of time. Although the receptionist had started only a few months earlier, straight out of school, so she was very tech savvy. She picked up SapphireOne’s Workbook module very quickly. So when the secondment occurred, although she didn’t have any knowledge of working as a finance officer, she did understand SapphireOne and this made it a much easier transition. We were teaching her about inventory and creditors, without having to worry about teaching her data entry and computer skills at the same time”.
‘We’ve had great feedback from our external auditors that the information is very easy to extract. Of course, this all comes down to the information we capture in the first place, how many fields we provide and how it can be used”.
While SapphireOne has a broad selection of information fields, it includes a number of options for customising both data input and reporting for any organisation. Some of the customisation is as simple as renaming existing spare fields, or SapphireOne programmers can assist with more complex customisation behind the scenes.
“This is where the customisation becomes especially helpful – and the fact that everything remains integrated works so well. I can’t imagine ever using software again that isn’t fully integrated with everything we do”
“It’s important to have all the information you need at your fingertips. Being able to quickly search for a particular entry, open the transaction and see all the attachments and notes is time saving and it makes what we do that much easier. We are heavily audited, so anything that helps with transparency and availability is essential”.
“We’re a membership organisation with over 700 members. It’s our job to give the Board Members and Members the information they need so decisions can be made on a timely basis.”
And SapphireOne? “I like how SapphireOne listens to its customers and we’ve found their staff to be very responsive. They are always willing to help.