Outward Bound is an iconic Kiwi brand that has helped thousands of New Zealanders to think about goals and move beyond their personal limits, but a transition to MYOB Exo Business allowed the company to concentrate on some development of its own.
Outward Bound courses teach students about themselves through adventure and challenge in the outdoors. The organisation has an outdoor centre based in Anakiwa in the Marlborough Sounds, and a management and financial base in Wellington.
MYOB Exo Business has allowed Outward Bound to focus on its own development – including the completion of financial reporting on the first day of each new calendar month, and more efficient budget management.
The company’s legacy accounting system was Winaccs software, which was ineffective for reporting purposes. Reports had to be exported into Microsoft Excel and then formatted to suit Outward Bound’s Board of Directors. This was time consuming and unwieldy.
Outward Bound now uses Exo’s Financial and Subscriptions modules.
“I am a convert for Exo, it has more than met our needs,” says Outward Bound Trust of New Zealand Manager of Finance and Funding, Diane Leyten.
“We used Enprise’s Wellington General Manager Peter Chung as our consultant for the implementation, but we are a ‘not for profit’ organisation so we had a clear need to keep consultancy costs to a minimum. We worked in conjunction with Peter but did most of the data cleansing and other setup in-house. It went smoothly with minimal fuss,” she says.
Diane Leyten says the introduction of Exo has empowered Outward Bound to make many operational improvements.
“We use international reporting standard NZIFRS. Exo has enabled us to implement a ‘Day Zero’ financial reporting strategy, where we close off our accounts and report all on the first day of the new calendar month,” she says.
“We also now run a revolving budget process where each budget is reviewed and updated on a quarterly rolling basis.”
Outward Bound can easily customise its reporting as needs change, and can drill down into reports. Information from multiple databases – both Exo and non Exo – merges into a single set of reports.
“I used to spend three or four days at the end of each month just formatting reports,” says Diane Leyten.
“I can now spend that time doing analysis, which is so much more valuable for the business. Exo has had several positive flow-on effects, including giving us the ability to implement great straightforward systems, improve our report writing, and extract information into one-off reports. It’s also increased transparency for staff, easing coordination between our two centres.”
Exo integrates seamlessly with Outward Bound’s bespoke CRM system, which was written by Enprise partner Very Impressive Software. The CRM system is used operationally throughout the entire business. It holds details not just of clients, but any individual or company that has a relationship with Outward Bound.
“Everyone uses it daily, so the linkages have to be smooth,” says Diane Leyten.
Most CRM work is done outside of Exo, and is fully integrated with Exo. This means that whether staff are working inside Outward Bound’s database issuing receipts for course fees, or enrolling clients into courses, they don’t even have to open Exo.
Outward Bound is audited each year. Diane Leyten says its auditors like Exo.
“They like that there is no manual intervention in our reporting at all – information comes straight from the financial software. I stand behind our reports, so I like that protection from human error too.”
Diane Leyton says in her experience, choosing a high quality support partner is very important.
“Our sister organisation in Australia has visited us here to understand why our implementation is so successful, so that they can change theirs. Very simply, their support partner was not as good as ours. I would recommend Enprise as a support organisation. Of the two people I deal with there, one has a very strong programming background and the other has an accounting background. We speak the same language.”
Outward Bound has found their system ‘unbreakable’, Diane Leyton says.
"We throw a lot of transactions at Exo, and many of the staff who use our system have no financial training and are not technical people. It’s so simple that you can’t break it. I have tried, but you can’t."
Better known for helping clients achieve personal development, the Outward Bound Trust of New Zealand has used Exo to help forge its own development as a company. The organisation successfully managed its own implementation, with its Manager of Systems and Finance taking a training course to become a certified Exo consultant. The customer has adapted Exo and linked it into other systems development, including integration with Outward Bound’s bespoke CRM system.
- Simple, seamless integration with other software applications, including bespoke CRM system
- Reports pull information from Exo and non-Exo databases
- System ‘unbreakable’ even by non-technical staff with no financial training
- Automated processes replace manual ones
- Fast, local, onsite support
- ‘Day Zero’ financial reporting strategy closes off accounts and completes reporting on the first day of each new calendar month
- Each budget is reviewed and updated on a quarterly rolling basis
- More transparency for staff has improved coordination between Outward Bound’s two centres
- Management no longer bogged down in day-to-day financial matters.