Evangelisches Diakoniewerk GallneukirchenActing for the economic and social good – corporate performance management at Evangelisches Diakoniewerk Gallneukirchen
“Compassion in our time” is the guiding principle of Evangelisches Diakoniewerk Gallneukirchen. Running a social services provider these days also means running a business. At the charitable organization, corporate performance management meets the requirements of both these objectives.
Evangelisches Diakoniewerk Gallneukirchen is active in many different fields. Alongside facilities for disabled people and the elderly, it operates deaconess hospitals as well as schools and vocational training colleges. In order to preserve as much financial independence as possible, it also runs commercial enterprises including a hotel, student halls of residence, a bookshop and a garden centre, the income from which goes towards maintaining its financial stability. All financial resources are used responsibly while upholding the principles of public benefit and serving the Diakoniewerk’s original purpose, which is to be there for people who require assistance at various stages in their lives. Against this backdrop in terms of content and organization, the corporate performance management staff at Evangelisches Diakoniewerk Gallneukirchen decided to introduce software for business management.
Andreas Aichhorn, Head of Corporate Performance Management in Gallneukirchen, led a small team to implement the project. Mr Aichhorn, what motivated you to introduce new software in corporate performance management, thereby altering your colleagues’ familiar working practices and IT environment?
Our constantly growing business – we’re already doing the books for over fifteen individual clients – meant that it was high time we invested in some suitable software. For us, it was particularly important to be able to consolidate the individual clients effectively and to combine them into a group report. At the same time, the reporting needed to be brought into line.
Now, almost four years after having decided to use the program, we see ourselves clearly vindicated in that, in times of economic turbulence, it is also becoming increasingly important for non-profit organizations to be on a financially stable footing and to turn what one might indeed call a “profit” in order to safeguard the going concern over the long term. This is only feasible with a quick and reliable planning and management tool.
Did everything run smoothly during the rollout, or were there any particular obstacles to be overcome?
At the start of the rollout, depicting our complex accounting arrangements and our structure was a major challenge. Since we manage commercial enterprises alongside our core operations, which are facilities for the disabled, retirement and nursing homes, and hospitals, our chart of accounts and the allocation procedures are rather sizeable and complex. The accounting arrangements and record-keeping obligations vary between the individual divisions too. A further peculiarity of our sector is that the subsidizers require the net income to be presented in terms of the operational areas, often requesting reports that vary significantly from the internal P&L analysis. We have solved these issues by using a number of different reports and classifications.
For some of our divisions, we even had to create new charts of accounts and their own cost type master trees so that we could display the net income of an operational area in the required format. It had previously been impossible for us to display one client in several P&L formats, so this has been a milestone in our reporting.
Where do you see the most important tasks in corporate performance management at Evangelisches Diakoniewerk Gallneukirchen?
The focus of our work in corporate performance management is definitely on reporting, from cost centre level to the group report. All staff with management tasks – from the head chef to the CEO – receive their reports on time every month. In Corporate Planner we depict our standard P&L statement as well as profit analyses designed especially for our subsidizers, whereby we apply these analysis schemata across all the organizational units. Another important feature in reporting is incorporating statistics and key ratios. Our focus is, of course, just as much on the budgeting, which we carry out in Corporate Planner. Here, the direct impact of every change on the grand total is a very useful means of keeping a constant eye on the state of the budget. The actual figures are transferred to the Corporate Planner structures automatically from our K.I.S. (hospital information system) accounting system and from our payroll accounting program P&I LOGA.
What concrete, measurable advantages do you and your business have from using the CP software?
The greatest advantage is definitely the flexible display in Corporate Planner. In our old reporting program, generating cumulative reports was often rather tricky.
Another major convenience is being able to aggregate the individual clients into one group client for evaluation. This is where we’ve achieved considerable time savings.
About Evangelisches Diakoniewerk Gallneukirchen
The core competencies of Evangelisches Diakoniewerk (a charitable institution associated with the Protestant church) are in its work with disabled people and the elderly, in the health sector and in vocational training. As an officially approved relief organization, Evangelisches Diakoniewerk is a holder of the Austrian Seal of Quality for Charitable Donations. Evangelisches Diakoniewerk is a member of Diakonie Österreich, one of the five major welfare organizations in Austria. At present, there are around 3,300 staff working at Evangelisches Diakoniewerk in over 100 facilities in Upper Austria, Salzburg, Styria, Vienna and Tyrol, as well as in Sibiu, Romania and in Mostar, Bosnia-Herzegovina.
"The greatest advantage is the flexible display in Corporate Planner. In our old reporting program, generating cumulative reports was often rather tricky."
Head of Controlling