Finance & NDIS | Pilot

The purpose of this article is to step through the recommended approach for piloting the end-to-end Finance & NDIS processes using SupportAbility, specifically for Providers of Direct Services. 

Audience: Finance Team, Team Leaders, Support Staff and anyone tasked with managing the Finance & NDIS end-to-end workflow.


Prerequisites

  • Finance & NDIS | Preparation must first be completed prior to piloting this workflow, in order to be able to generate BPRs and export NDIA Invoices.

The following prerequisites are required in order to access and action specific functionality within this workflow:

  • Only Staff with the privileges required to manage Activities can create & edit Activities, including updating the Client's Funding Source e.g. to their NDIS Funding, and performing the Activity Sign Off.
  • Staff require the 'View Financial Information' and 'Edit Client Records Across ALL Services' Staff Account privileges to access the 'Finance' menu and generate Bulk Payment Requests (BPRs) and Invoices.  

Finance & NDIS Workflow


Summary

The following list summarises the content within this article. Click on the links below to take you to the relevant sections:

N.B. As you work your way through each of the steps below, please refer to the learning material which has been linked for your reference, in the 'Related Articles' section at the end of this article for more comprehensive or related information.


Example Clients

Throughout this article, we have referenced three different example Clients to help illustrate the functionality and process relevant to each of their different requirements.

Jim Bob 

  • participates in the Day Service
  • his 'Financial Plan Manager' is set to NDIA as his funding is NDIA Managed
  • his 'Funding Dates' are 1/3/2020 - 19/08/2020
  • the 'NDIS Supports' we have an agreement in place to deliver include Support Item - 04_175_0136_6_1

Saoirse O'Sullivan 

  • participates in the Day Service
  • her 'Financial Plan Manager' is set to Client (Mary O'Sullivan) i.e. she is self-managed, and her mother Mary O'Sullivan has been set as her Billing Contact.
  • her 'Funding Dates' are 1/3/2020 - 15/11/2020
  • the 'NDIS Supports' we have an agreement in place to deliver include a Flexible Budget for Category 4 

Malcolm MacKenzie 

  • participates in the Day Service
  • his 'Financial Plan Manager' is set to Plans R Us i.e he is plan-managed
  • his 'Funding Dates' are 1/3/2020 - 30/06/2020
  • the 'NDIS Supports' we have an agreement in place to deliver include a Flexible Budget for Category 4 


1. Enter NDIS Direct Client Funding records

The first step in this process is to enter NDIS Funding information into each Client record which your organisation will be conducting the pilot for.

Entering the Client's NDIS Funding is required so that SupportAbility understands which Supports are valid when it comes to allocating these Supports in the Activities they participate in.

The funding entered usually reflects either:

  • the Standard Service Booking/s your organisation has entered (for Client's who have Agency Managed funding), or 
  • the Schedule of Supports your organisation is set to deliver as outlined in the Service Agreement in place with the Client (for Client's who have a Plan Manager managing their funding or are Self Managing their funding).

NDIS Supports can be set at either the: 

  • Flexible Budget (Support Category) level when flexibility to allocate any of the Support Items within this Category is required, or at the 
  • Support Item level, when only specific Supports are valid, or when a Support Item requires a fixed custom price.

A Budget may also be added to NDIS Supports for the purpose of tracking Utilisation & Expenditure. 


The Client's first NDIS Direct Funding record entered into SupportAbility

An exception to this rule is for the very first NDIS Direct Client Funding record entered for each Client, into SupportAbility. 

The Start Date of the first NDIS Direct Client Funding record should align with the date your organisation is commencing to use SupportAbility to generate BPRs and/or Invoices for this Client. 

Depending on where the Client's NDIS Plan dates are positioned in relation to the date your organisation begins using SupportAbility for this workflow, the remaining Budget for this period may not be easy to calculate or obtain. Many providers have found it easiest to set up the first Client Funding record with a $0 Budget for each NDIS Support for the Client's initial funding record. 

Creating a $0 Budget means that the expenditure associated with the allocation of these NDIS Supports will be tracked in the Utilisation tab of the Funding record, as well as the Client Funding Statement. 

Examples

Let's step this through using a couple of our example Clients. 

Jim Bob

Jim's NDIS Plan is valid from the 19th of August 2019 with a plan review date of the 19th of August 2020. We are commencing to use SupportAbility to manage Jim's funding and generate BPRs from the month of March 2020, hence the Start Date of Jim's initial funding record here is the 1st of March 2020, and his End Date corresponds with the date of his Plan Review: 

Jim's NDIS Direct Client Funding record has been created with a specific Support Item which we have an agreement in place to deliver, and shows a $0 Budget: 

N.B. Remember to select 'Requires Budget' when adding the Support Item, even when the amount is $0, to ensure it is configured correctly and usable when allocating Supports in Activities.

Malcolm MacKenzie

Malcolm's NDIS Plan is valid from the 30th of June 2019 with a plan review date of the 30th of June 2020. We are commencing to use SupportAbility to manage Malcolm's funding and generate Invoices for the Activities he participates in from the month of March 2020, hence the Start Date of Malcolm's initial funding record here is the 1st of March 2020, and his End Date corresponds with the date of his Plan Review: 

Malcolm's NDIS Direct Client Funding record has been created with a Flexible Budget for Category 0004, as greater flexibility is required when NDIS Supports are Allocated for him in the Activities he participates in, and we have configured this with a $0 Budget: 

A $0 Budget has been added for the first funding record for both of these Clients, however, your organisation may choose to enter the remaining Budget for this period by obtaining the Clients' balance from the portal for example. It's entirely up to your organisation to decide the most suitable option for you. 

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Client Funding resources

We recommend any Staff tasked with entering Client Funding records review the following comprehensive training videos. These videos are linked below for reference and are found in the 'NDIS Direct Client Funding' section of the Finance tab in the Learning Centre: 

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2. Activities

Activities reflect the Services your organisation delivers and includes the Clients & Staff that participate in them. Here we discuss how to get started with Activities, or how to locate existing Activities if your organisation is already underway with this functionality.

Getting started with Activities

If your organisation has not yet commenced using Activities, they'll need to be created, before the Client's NDIS Funding can be added to their Funding Source and the NDIS Supports they've used can be allocated (outlined in the next section).

Please review the Privileges required to manage Activities article (linked below) to ensure these have been set up correctly for Staff involved in this pilot.

We recommend Staff tasked with creating Activities review the Activities Workflow video, as this resource covers each of the steps involved when creating and managing Activities.  We recommend reviewing the following chapters of this video specifically: 

  • Set-Up Prerequisites
  • Activity Creation Wizard
  • Activity Set-Up

This video may also be found in the 'Workflow' section of the Activities tab in the Learning Centre:

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How to locate existing Activities

To locate existing Client Activities, Staff may utilise the following:

  • Option 1 - use the Support Filters in the Activities tab on a specific Client record, or
  • Option 2 - generate the Activity Clients Report. 

Option 1: Client::Activities tab

In this example, we can see the Activities that our Client Jim has been scheduled into by navigating to the Activities tab: 

To filter down the list of Activities, select 'Show Client Support Service Filters': 

In this example we need to allocate NDIS Support Items within Activities which fall in our current fortnightly invoicing cycle of the 1st March - 15th of March, therefore this date range has been entered into the Activity 'From Date' and 'To Date' filters:

Select 'Apply Filter' and scroll down. This search yields the required results, i.e. displaying the Activities this Client participates in, which have '0 NDIS supports' for Chargeable Items:

N.B. The results are displayed in amber in this example, as these Activities occurred in the past. 

Selecting the target icon for each of the Activities in the results list will open the Activity where the Client's Funding Source can be updated to their NDIS Funding, and the relevant Support Items can be allocated for this Client, as outlined in the next section of this article.

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Option 2: Activity Clients Report

Alternatively, the 'Activity Clients Report', accessed via the Activity Reports section in the Reports menu, can be used to locate the Activities a Client has been scheduled into.

Here we have selected the following search criteria, Client: Jim Bob, Site: Melbourne HQ, Service: Day Services, Activity Date range set to 1st March - 15th of March, and Activity Sign Off Status set to 'Not Signed Off': 

The following list results have been generated using the above search criteria:

To navigate to each of these Activities, we recommend selecting (right-click) on the target icon, and opening it in a new tab: 

Alternatively, when you have selected an Activity, navigating to the 'Actions' menu will allow you to 'Return to Activity List': 

Now that Client Activities have been created, or located, the Client's Funding Source can be updated to their NDIS Funding and the relevant NDIS Supports allocated within these Activities, as outlined in the next section.

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3. Allocate NDIS Support Items in Activities

Once NDIS Direct Client Funding records have been entered and Clients have been scheduled into Activities:

  • The Client's Funding Source within the Activity can be set to their NDIS Funding, and
  • NDIS Support Allocations may be entered. 
    • Information is provided below, however, please review the Allocating NDIS Support Items in Activities article (linked below) for comprehensive instructions.

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NDIS Support Allocations

Let's step through updating the NDIS Support Allocations for our example Client Jim.

First, the Funding Source must be updated for this Client from 'Billable (No Funding)':

To their NDIS Funding: 

N.B. Only Staff with the privileges required to manage Activities can update the Client's Funding Source. 

Once the Client's NDIS Funding has been added as the Funding Source within the Activity, their NDIS Supports may be allocated. Once this has been added, Staff Members who have access to the Client and the Activity can then add NDIS Support Allocations as required. 

If the Activities your organisation is piloting are related to a Program of Support, please review the Programs of Support article linked below for reference for further details regarding this functionality. 

To allocate the NDIS Support Items when either setting up the Supports that will be delivered, or those that have been delivered, select the 'Allocate NDIS Support Items' button: 

Once selected, the NDIS Support Allocations opens which is where Supports are added, Quantities entered and the Claim Type may be selected (as required). 

The NDIS Support Items configured in the Client's NDIS Direct Funding record, or those most recently allocated, will pre-populate and be available for completion: 

Once a Support has been selected, add the 'Quantity' to the relevant Support Item/s and ensure Claim Type e.g. Standard Service, is set correctly:

N.B. Only Staff with the 'View Financial Information' privilege will be able to see the Price and Value columns. 

Searching for NDIS Supports

If the required Support is not pre-populated the Support Item may be searched for via the 'Add Support Item' field. Simply type the full or partial name of the Support, or reference number, for a list of results.  

Assuming the Client has this Support Item or the related Category Flexible Budget included in their Funding record, it will be available for selection.  

In this example, our Client Saoirse has a Flexible Budget for Category 4, and we need to search for and allocate a specific Support Item with a ratio of 1:1: 

Save NDIS Support Allocations

Once NDIS Support Allocations have been completed select 'Save NDIS Support Allocations' and 'Exit'. 

Once allocated successfully, the Funding Source will be updated to indicate NDIS Support Items have been allocated: 

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Replicating Client NDIS Support Allocations

If the Activity is part of a replicated set, you may wish to save the Client's NDIS Support Allocations to all future Activities in the set.

This is where the Replication Management Settings can be used. Simply activate the 'Clients' checkbox in the 'Replication For Set' column:

Once the Activity record is saved, all changes made to the Clients section of the Activity will be replicated through to the remaining future-dated Activities in the set.

It is important to ensure that Staff Members deactivate this setting after the required changes have been made, as leaving them on may cause issues with information being replicated accidentally when the Activity Sign Off has been performed. 

Please review the  Replicating Activities article (linked below) for more comprehensive information regarding this feature. 

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4. Client Support Logs (optional)

If your organisation has decided to use the Client Support Log feature, once this been configured for the required Services, following NDIS Supports being allocated, it will be available for completion:

We recommend that any Staff Membersusing this feature review the following: 

  • What is the Client Support Log? video: 
    • The Client Support Log is a feature designed to confirm receipt of the NDIS support items as delivered in the direct services provided to Clients via Activities. 
  • 'Support Log Evidence Required' Activity setting video: 
    • Outlines this setting is only available for Services that have been configured to having this to 'On by default' or 'Off by default'. 
  • Using the Client Support Log video: 
    • Covers completing a Support Log via Digital Signature, or Evidence Received, Support Log information and removal, along with how to find completed Support Logs. 

There are also a number of articles regarding this functionality available in our Knowledge Base, which have been linked below for your reference. 

These videos may also be found in the 'Client Support Log' section of the Features tab in the Learning Centre:

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5. Activity Sign Off

In order for the NDIS Supports Allocated to be included in a BPR or Direct Invoice Batch, an Activity must first be 'approved'. We call this approval process, performing the 'Activity Sign Off' in SupportAbility.

Staff require the privileges to manage Activities to complete this action. By default, this is the Team Leader privilege.


Locating Activities awaiting Sign Off

The best way to locate Activities awaiting Sign Off is to use the Activity Report.

For example, if we wish to approve Activities for a specific period, we may enter the following criteria:

  • the Melbourne (HQ) Site
  • delivered by Day Services
  • for the Date Range of the 1st to the 15th of March
  • Activities that are 'Not Signed Off Only'

This report provides us with a list of Activities awaiting Sign Off:

Most Providers find opening each of the Activities for approval in a new tab the easiest way to navigate this report. Right-click on the target icon and select 'Open Link in New Tab', or CTRL + (mouse) click, to do so:


Alternatively, 'Return to Activity List' may be selected from within the Activity record: 

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Review the Activity

It is recommended each Activity is reviewed to ensure all of the requirements for each Client participating in the Activity have been met for approval, before the Sign Off is performed.

We recommend reviewing the NDIS Support Items Allocated to ensure they are correct and that appropriate evidence has been recorded i.e. Journal entries and the Client Support Log completed (where required):

To view any Client Journals that have been created from the Activity, select the numbered list icon. 

To view the completed Support Log, select the information Support Log icon. 


Performing the Activity Sign Off

To perform the Activity Sign Off, select the 'Sign Off' button within the Activity Details:

Once this action has been completed, the Activity is essentially locked and becomes read-only. Following this BPRs, Invoice Batches and Staff Time Sheet Batches may be generated. 

The Activity Sign Off may only be removed by Staff with the required privileges up until BPRs, Invoice Batches and/or Staff Time Sheet Batches are generated.

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6. Generate a Direct Bulk Payment Request (BPR)

Once Services have been delivered, NDIS Supports have been allocated and the Activity Sign Off has been performed, NDIS Support Allocations will be available for inclusion in a BPR. The BPR can then be exported for upload to the myplace provider portal.

Comprehensive information regarding this process is outlined in the Generating an NDIS Direct Bulk Payment Request (BPR) article linked below.

The following information steps through an example of this workflow.

To generate a BPR, navigate to the 'Finance' menu via the Dashboard:

Select 'Generate Direct BPR' from the Direct Services section of the Finance menu:

Search for Allocations

The first step in the process is to search for the NDIS Support Allocations you would like to include: 

In this scenario, our organisation is registered to deliver NDIS Services in Victoria, and we are wanting to search for all available Allocations, hence we are leaving all search criteria empty. However, if you wanted to limit this, the relevant search criteria can be applied. 

N.B. The Search will automatically set the To Date to the current date, as it is not possible to include future-dated Allocations.

Select the Allocations to include

Once 'Search' has been selected, the available NDIS Support Allocations are displayed. Select the NDIS Support Allocations you wish to include, then select the 'Create BPR' button:

N.B. Only those Clients with NDIA Managed funding will appear for selection in the BPR search. In relation to our sample Clients, only Jim Bob has NDIA Managed funding and therefore the Financial Plan Manager set to NDIA in his NDIS Direct Funding record.

Once 'Create BPR' has been selected, a summary of the number of Support Allocations selected is displayed, as well as the total dollar value this equates to: 

Select 'Confirm' to complete this process. 

BPR generated

Once Confirmed, the BPR has been generated and you will be redirected to the 'Edit Direct BPR' page where a summary of this is displayed:

Download the BPR

The Direct BPR is available to download from the Actions menu in the top right corner of the screen: 

Selecting this will download the BPR file CSV export, formatted to the NDIA's specific requirements. There should, therefore, be no need to open this CSV as it is already in the specific format required by the myplace provider portal. If this is opened in a program such as Microsoft Excel, it may result in the data being changed inadvertently from the required format upon saving.  If you do choose to review the file, please follow the instructions outlined in the  How to open CSV files safely in Microsoft Excel article (linked below). 

Submit the BPR

Once downloaded, the BPR is then available to submit to the myplace provider portal manually. 

We recommend using the myplace provider portal step by step guides to assist you with how to submit Bulk Payment Requests. 

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7. Generate and export a Direct Invoice Batch for NDIA Managed Supports

Once the BPR has been generated and uploaded to the myplace provider portal, we recommend that any rejected Allocations are removed from the BPR, prior to a Direct Invoice Batch being generated. This ensures that only Invoices for successful Allocations are included in the Direct Invoice Batch.

To generate an Invoice Batch from a BPR, select 'Generate Direct Invoice Batch' from the Actions menu: 

Once this has been selected, a summary of the number of included Allocations is displayed, as well as the total dollar value this equates to: 

After selecting 'Confirm', you are redirected to the 'Edit Invoice Batch' page, as the Direct Invoice Batch has been generated and a summary of this is displayed:

These Invoices can be downloaded via the Actions menu for the relevant finance system: 

Once the CSV file has been downloaded it can be uploaded to your financial system as required. 

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8. Generate and export a Direct Invoice Batch for Self Managed and Plan Managed Clients

Direct Invoice Batches need to be generated for Clients who are Self Managing their NDIS funding or a Plan Manager is managing their NDIS funding on their behalf. 

Generate an Invoice Batch

To generate an Invoice Batch for Self Managed or Plananaged Clients, navigate to the 'Direct Invoices' section of the Finance menu and select 'Generate Direct Invoice Batch':

In this example, we are generating Invoices relating to all Self Managed and Plan Managed Funding, searching for Signed Off Activities for the month of March, for all Services which are delivered at the Melbourne (HQ) site, and we're limiting Funding is set to NDIS:

Once 'Search for Invoices' is selected, available Invoices will be displayed.

With relevance to our example Clients, you can see here an Invoice has been generated for Contact: Mary O'Sullivan who is managing the NDIS funding for her daughter - Client: Saoirse O'Sullivan as this has been configured in her Client Contacts tab. Please see the Client Billing Contact article linked below for more information. An invoice has been generated for FPM: 'Plans R Us' who are the Plan Manager for Client Malcolm MacKenzie: 

Select the checkboxes of those Invoices you wish to include in the Batch then select the 'Generate Invoices For Batch' button:

Confirm your wish to proceed by selecting the 'Generate Invoices' button:

SupportAbility will then generate an Invoice Batch number e.g. #6, and create Invoices for each debtor with a unique Invoice Number: 

N.B. 

  • Please refer to the Invoice Formatting article (linked below) for more information regarding configuring the Invoice Number generated by SupportAbility.
  • The Invoice Date is the date that the Invoice batch was generated (e.g. 23/03/2020), however, this may be edited as required. 
  • An Invoice may contain multiple Invoice Items (NDIS Support Allocations) for the various Activities the Client has participated in during the reporting period 

Once a Direct Invoice Batch has been generated, an export file containing Invoice data is available to download from the Actions menu for various financial systems e.g. MYOB, Xero etc. and is designed to be imported into your organisation's finance system. Your finance system is then responsible for distributing these Invoices to the relevant parties where required, as well as managing the accounts receivable process. 


Export an Invoice Batch

To export an Invoice Batch, select the 'Actions' menu and download the relevant Invoice Batch export for your finance system: 

For more information, please review the  Generating an Internal [Direct] Invoice Batch article (linked below).  

Finance system not listed?

If the list of available Invoice Batch exports does not include the Finance System your organisation uses, a Custom Finance Integration export may be required. More information can be found in the  Custom Finance Integration article (linked below). If your organisation deems that this is required, please have your Authorised Representatives contact our Customer Success team as soon as possible. 

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9. Finance Integration

We suggest checking that the Invoices imported into your Finance system from SupportAbility are formatted correctly.  If any layout changes are required, this will need to be configured in your Finance system.  If there are any issues with the data presented in these Invoices, please review your system configuration and the end-to-end process outlined in this article to ensure that all steps have been completed correctly.  

It may also help to review the relevant Finance Integration article specific to your organisation's Finance system e.g.  MYOBXero or Zed Axis (linked below)A map of the Invoice batch export headers, along with the corresponding SupportAbility data fields is included in each of these articles.  

N.B. If the Invoice Batch export has been customised for your organisation, please refer to the specification requirements of your Finance system that has been provided to us to build the custom export.  

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10. Reconciliation

Once Supports have been allocated, and Invoice Batches and BPRs have been generated, this information along with actual and projected Expenditure, is available in one or more of the following areas of Supportability; Client records, Activity records, Funding records, and Searches and Reports within the Finance menu.

Invoices and BPRs

Once Invoice Batches and BPRs have been generated, this information appears in the following areas of SupportAbility:

Activity records

Client Invoices and/or BPR's are displayed inline with each Client in the Finance section of the related Activity:

Funding tab in the Client record

Client Invoices are also displayed in the Direct Invoices section on the Funding tab of a Client record:


Expenditure

The Utilisation tab of the Client's NDIS Direct Funding record will begin to reflect expenditure once NDIS Supports are allocated in Activities and the Activity Sign Off has been completed. 

Using our sample Client Jim Bob who commenced Service 1/3/2020 his 'Used' 'Expenditure' to date is showing as $120.42 which corresponds to the Activities we have generated BPRs and invoices for earlier.  The amount displayed in 'Allocated' 'Expenditure' i.e. $1,083.78 relates to Supports allocated to future dated Activities: 

For more comprehensive information about Funding Utilisation please refer to the  NDIS Direct Client Funding Utilisation article (linked below). 

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Reports and Search tools

Direct BPRs

Every BPR generated in SupportAbility remains available to view in the Direct Services:: Bulk Payment Requests (BPRs) section of the Finance menu:

Reviewing the 'Direct BPR List' in conjunction with the remittance advice received from the NDIA, referencing the Claim Reference number, is a useful way in which to reconcile Supports and payments, which can then be marked off in your organisation's Finance system:

N.B. The Claim Reference number attributed to each NDIS Support Allocation included in a Direct Bulk Payment Request (BPR) is displayed in the 'Support Item' column.

Detailed BPR Report

A 'Detailed BPR Report' including a full list of all of the Allocation information displayed on the screen, as well as the Invoice Number and Invoice Number Item aka 'Old Claim Reference' is now available from the Actions menu in the Edit BPR screen: 

This export provides a mapping of each Allocation with all of the associated data including Claim Reference and once an Invoice Batch has been generated, the Invoice Item Reference, Invoice Number and Invoice Batch it is associated with. This is designed to assist providers to locate the required Invoices in their finance system for reconciliation.

Direct Invoice Batch

Every Direct Invoice Batch generated in SupportAbility remains available to view in the Direct Services::Direct Invoices section of the Finance menu:

Selecting 'List Direct Invoice Batches' will display a list of Invoice Batches which have been generated to date. Selecting the target icon for a specific Batch will open the Batch displaying the related invoices:

Invoice Search

The Invoice Search tool, accessible by selecting 'Search Direct Invoices' from the Direct Services section of the Finance menu: 

Invoices can be filtered by specific Clients, Debtors, Invoice Numbers and/or Invoice Dates. In the example below, we have filtered our Search for Invoices dated in the month of March:

This has returned a list of results which includes our sample Clients Jim, Saoirse and Malcolm:

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Payroll Pilot

If your organisation has determined that Time Sheet batches will be required for Payroll, it is recommended that your organisation also completes a  Finance & NDIS | Payroll Pilot process in addition to, or alongside, this.  In readiness for this pilot, Providers will first need to complete the Finance & NDIS | Planning and Finance & NDIS | Payroll Preparation. More information is available in the  Finance & NDIS | Payroll Preparation and the Finance & NDIS | Payroll Pilot articles (linked below). 

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What's next? 

Following your organisation successfully conducting a pilot of these processes, it is important to consider any lessons learned that may impact the Integration of these processes in the final stage of implementation. 

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