If I was do to an internal audit on your business today, what would I find?
Would you pass that audit?
Do you know the penalties, the cost to you and your business if you are not compliant in accordance with Australian Consumer law and the legisltation releveant to the industry your business is registered under?
When it comes to owning a business, many people are not aware of the legal responsibilities of their business setup, and do not take the time to learn about the legislation, Quality Safeguards for their business before they start.
Are you being sold a dream by business consultants?
You know the one I am referring to, sign up with us and we wil do everything for you including finding clients, but the reality turns out to be different.
As a business consultant and coach, I work with many sole traders or independent business owners in the disability sector, as well as small companies and many of them are unaware of their business requirements and legal responsibilities that are separate from what NDIS requires. They do not have a business plan in place or anything else, including understanding how to invoice for their services. When it comes to staff wages and those requirements such as workplace health and safety, work cover, superannuation they seem to not understand many of these components properly either. This is a concern.
What is important to know and understand is that there are multiple layers to business compliance which form your business set up. There is also the day to day running of your business.
Understand Australian consumer law
Know and understand the industry you are providing services in- legislation, quality and safeguards
Then for those employing staff - fairwork and the award you are employing staff under.
There is also some overlap between what NDIS requires businesses to have and what is required to meet Australian consumer law as a business owner. There are also different requirements for not-for-profit businesses. However, the one thing that many business owners will tell me and then even share on social media is this statement: " You do not need policies and procedures or documents, only a service agreement!"
This information is incorrect, as EVERY business, no matter what size it is, requires documents, policies and procedures in alignment with the industry and sector they are providing a service in; even a person who sells books still requires policies and procedures for their business; this comes under consumer law. Under Australian Consumer Law, there are many different acts and legislations. You can view more here on their page: Australian Consumer Law.
There are also resources you can access as a business owner; remember, some things are different from state to state. Australian Consumer Law Resources
Disability Sector - NDIS
As we are aware, there have been 26 recommendations provided in a report recently that are being taken into consideration with a mini task force established to identify and address any and all barriers to all business who work with people with an NDIS plan being registered. It is anticipated to have the solutions and a way forward with business' become registered in 6 months time, with a directive with regards to implementation provided to all stakeholders ( business' ), we have to wait and see what comes from the task force and what the next step is with the NDIS.
Many people have been concerned about the possibility that they will have to become an NDIS registered service provider and worried about the potential cost involved.
I have written a document about that process, a brief overview is: having your business set up to meet business compliance, legislation/acts for disability sector and the requirements of the NDIS Quality and Safeguards you are already well on your way, should they choose to implement that every service provider is to be NDIS registered to provide services. The cost of this set up is part of planning your business and should be in place prior to providing services, therefore should NDIS registration become a mandatory requirement it is not a new expense, which means you MAY only have to pay for an audit IF that is what is required.
What are your Business Responsibilities?
As a business owner it is YOUR responsibility to be aware of all the responsibilities these include the following, remember that every business is different so this is a broad overview, there could be other things that need to be implemented.
Business plan - what your services are and how you implement them
Financial plan - all responsibilities of the business finances including invoicing correctly
Duty of care - for business, your clients and where appropriate your staff.
Legal responsibility - working to the requirements of legislation/act relevant to your business, in this case disability - these do get update on a regular basis.
Documents, policies and procedures form your business compliance and this includes a risk and incident management systems, which supports your duty of care. Your risk management system is for every aspect of your business.
Terms of services - service agreements, how you charge for your services
Workplace Health and Safety requirements - even as a sole trader these are important. What do you need to have in place to be safe in the workplace. Often your workplace is different each day, so you may have multiple risk assessments completed. Please not that OHS is different in every state of Australia so its important to check what is relevant for your state.
Reportable incident - do you know what a reportable incident is and where to report it? If you don't you can visit the NDIS website for more information on this and you should have a policy and procedure on it.
NDIS code of conduct - understand it and if you employ staff they should have a copy of it.
Day to day running of your business - who is responsible for what and what is the cost, for example do you use a software program for rostering and invoicing? What is process if there is an emergency situtation for a staff member, participant, yourself?
Invoicing and debt collection. - What is your process to invoice for services and what do you do if that invoice is not paid.
Cancelation of services - what is acceptable time frame to cancel a service and is that in your service agreement
Staffing - if you are employing staff have you consulted with an accountant and HR person? These are imporant. Do you understand the award and how to implement it.
Each week there are even more changes to NDIS, another one this week is the Code of Conduct is about to have changes in it regarding pricing of services and product to those with an NDIS plan. Every person who works with people with an NDIS plan is to abide by the NDIS code of conduct, sadly many people that I have spoken to have not even read it.
You can learn more about the changes coming to the code of conduct here: NDIS code of conduct workforce. Also on that page is links to other resources you may find useful for your business.
Some Useful links
National Standards for disability Services as set out by the Australian Goverment
Why are our services not as expensive as other business consultants?
At Break Free Consultancy we are focus on empowering people to have success in their life, their business what ever that may look like for them. One of the many things I learnt whilst studying Dual diploma in Business Compliance and Quality Auditing is that there are guidelines, legislations to follow as part of owning a business whatever it is and whatever size it may be. Not adhering to these can be more expensive than having them place at the beginning. In some cases the penalities for not implementing them can be imprisonment.
We have our documents, policies and procedures available on our website visit here: Disability sector store, ready for you to download and adapt as you need to, to suit YOUR business, we do it this way so you know what is in them and what is right for your business, you are the one that knows your business best.
We do have one to one consultations and coaching services which are paid and we have Courses that are self paced and available at any time you are ready. We created the courses to help keep the costs down and so that you can learn in YOUR time.
We keep our price as reasonable as we can so that you can afford to set up your business properly, which protects you and your clients, whilst having quality documents and where you choose it support in coaching.
To book a: 1 hour coaching session - paid
At the end of the day whether you work with us or go with another business, it's important to remember that this is your business which you are responsible for and the level of success you have is determined by the way you run your business' and the foundations and framework you have in place.
(c) 2023 Break Free Consultancy
Disclaimer: All information is correct at the time of publication and is subject to change. It is general in nature, it is the responsibility of the reader to seek professional advice and guidance from the relevant qualified person for their specifice needs and requirements.