Posted on: Monday October 15th, 2018

Author: Kilimanjaro Consulting

For organisations such as unions, sports clubs or affiliations, revenues will accrue on a membership base paying regular subscriptions for products and services in order to provide a predictable income stream. However, this income can be controlled by a fixed element, such as max capacity at a gym or stadium for example. This can put a halt on growth.

Maximising Primary Revenue

So, what can you do to ensure your business is still maximising growth potential? Most membership-based organisations feel they must break the cycle of being dependant on membership renewals. This is where they lose sight of the importance of maximising that primary revenue source.  To do this, an organisation should be using one system to track memberships and to manage finance and accounting. When you are using separate systems to manage the two, you begin harbouring inefficiencies and losing profit.

The Problem with relying on Standalone Systems

Many organisations are heavily dependent on standalone systems that require a great deal of manual labour.  Programs such as Microsoft Excel are used to keep track of membership data which obstructs efficiency and comes with many other issues that all result in a poor data flow, resulting in obscured visibility for management.  Data breach legislation is now a major cause for concern with these types of records.

Problems consist of unavoidable inaccuracy due to relying on manual data entry. Because of this, labour can include not only manual entry but additional proofreading which ends up taking up valuable resources as employees are spending longer than necessary for additional tasks. Following the issue of manual data entry, you are not able to have real-time visibility. You also do not have a reliable audit trail. Finally, data may not be secure when you are working with an open database connection. These issues usually accumulate and result in a negative impact on membership-based organisations including increased expenses and missed renewals. To find out more about how you can simplify data, read our article on harmonizing data.

How do the above issues impact my membership-based organisation?

When an organisation is growing and continues to use standalone systems such as MS Excel, important information can go unnoticed. Simply, if staff are consumed by entering data manually, they are not able to see data in real-time and it is not accessible across all platforms. This means that although you may be able to see who a member is currently, you may not be able to tell who has missed a payment or which subscriptions have been renewed or not. Without this information, an organisation can’t focus on building the brand and encouraging renewals – their main source of profit.

Build a Better View of Your Organisation

To avoid the above issues and continue to build growth in membership services, is it key that a manager has an overall view of the health of the organisation. If staff are entering data manually, data could be days old, meaning managers could be making business-critical decisions based on out-of-date information.  With restricted visibility and, in many cases, duplication of data entry, organisations are lowering the organisation’s profits by increasing the cost of membership administration. These costs are primarily from increased staff hours, due to cross-checking between systems. Remember, as your organisation grows, so does the burden of your data.

Membership-Based Organisations maximising revenues from subscriptions

Improving the flow of your data is the best way to maximise revenue from subscriptions for membership-based organisations. This can be done by improving your existing systems or replacing them all together. Staying with an existing system has numerous advantages, such as avoiding disruption to business-as-usual, and allowing staff to work with an interface they’re familiar with. However, if the existing system is not able to accommodate growth,  starting again becomes a better value option.

Under One Roof

A system that can manage every one of your business functions (accounting, finance, the point of sale, subscriptions and employee services) is the key to improving efficiencies.  The benefits of using a single interface within an organisation mean that over time, each staff member can access information in the same place and a clear history of membership can be built. This not only saves a huge amount of time in manual labour and therefore cutting costs on staff working hours but creates much more accurate data.

Not only is an integrated software system a great saving of time and money for the organisation, it is an appealing self-service function for the members. By allowing members to enter and amend their details online through a secure login and even renew their membership encourages goodwill and reduces a tremendous amount of labour that is associated with maintaining active memberships. All in all, a system that can manage an entire organisation lowers staff costs and allows focus on more critical aspects of the business with the relief of having a complete overview of the organisation, in one space.

What to look for?

Replacing any system with an integrated one can take months to be set up to your specific requirements. This is why a flexible, customisable database should be in place from the start. That way the rest will follow quite smoothly. For example, the platform should allow organisations to integrate with third-party systems or add-on modules like CRM tools which provide a wider view of all operations.

Questions to consider when deciding on a new ERP system

It is important to ask yourself a few questions to ensure you are making the right decision when it comes to a membership-based organisation.

  1. Is the ERP system going to last you long-term through growth over the next five or ten years?
  2. Does that price match the value of the system? Note: rock-bottom prices are not going to give you a system that will grow alongside an organisation
  3. Hosted, SaaS or on-premise. Consider your requirement and compare the benefits and weaknesses. Check out an article here on how to make the best choice for your business.
  4. Will you have support? Adjustments, reports and customisations will continue even after the installation. Having local support will ensure your organisation can make the most out of the new system.
  5. Training Availability? To maximise the benefits of the system to your organisation, staff should know how to use the system. Having access to training opportunities can make all the difference to understand your system.

Choosing the right ERP system is not an easy task. Advice from a trusted source is integral to making sure you make an informed decision. To find out more about making your way through the ERP selection process, visit our page here.

The whole is greater than the sum of its parts

Implementing a new system is an entire process. You must consider numerous parts along this journey. Starting with the resources you have available, organisation requirements and how you plan on encouraging growth. All the way through to a trusted and supportive company that implements it and of course teaching it to the staff who will be using it.

Once you have completed the process, you will begin to see the benefits of an integrated ERP system. Whether this is the convenience of accessing your data anywhere, anytime or enjoying the flexibility that an ERP system such as MYOB Advanced can provide. Designed to meet current business requirements, it is scalable to meet future demands. In the long term, a membership-based organisation will notice a tidy administration. This is through reduced costs and savings in time expended on unnecessary manual labour. Ultimately, an organisation can gain enough clarity to begin focusing on alternative revenue sources with a system like MYOB Advanced that grows with you.

Want to know more?

If you would like to know more about how MYOB Advanced can transform your business, please contact us on 1300 857 464 or email our specialists on [email protected] to organise a free consultation today. Find out how working with MYOB’s Number One partner will benefit your business.