A leading source of support for job seekers believes its client service sets it apart – and its ERP system is crucial to that quality of service.
CHALLENGE: At a time when demand for its services was increasing, Epic Employment feared its old system was about to fall over, threatening a crisis in its task of helping thousands of job seekers.
RESULTS: No problems handling lots of small transactions, and no sleepless nights worrying about reimbursing job seekers, or that staff might not get paid.
Job-hunting can be a lonely task, which is why Epic Employment Service goes that extra distance to make its clients feel supported and encouraged – so they’re motivated to make their best effort to get their first job, or get back into the workforce.
“Our organisation has always been based on service to the clients,” says CFO Wayne Herrmann, “and feedback from surveys and forums suggests that our level of service is probably superior to some of our competitors.
“We try to do a bit more, and show a genuine care for our clients. They feel that we’re not just putting them in a job and forgetting about them.”
Epic is one of Australasia’s leading employment agencies, with 27 service centres operating a wide range of programmes for job seekers, along with employment assistance for disabled and disadvantaged people.
Epic has been in existence for around 20 years, but recent surges in demand for its services have seen its staff numbers treble, to over 300. At any given time it’ll have about 10,000 job seekers on its books.
Epic receives funding from Australia’s Federal Government, running the Job Seekers Australia programme, and from ACC in New Zealand. It is regularly involved in highly competitive tenders for government employment contracts, and is proud of its success rate.
The rapid expansion of its services soon revealed the deficiencies of its Quickbooks system, which just couldn’t handle the volume of Payroll and Accounts Payable transactions.
“I knew that one day Quickbooks was just going to fall over and we were going to be stuck,” says Wayne.
Better system, better service
The Accounts Payable requirements are generated by the thousands of job seekers, who are reimbursed directly for expenses related to their search for employment, such as travel costs. They’re mostly small transactions, but there are hundreds of them every week, and they’re especially important for people who are unemployed.
“We wanted to move to that next platform of system because Quickbooks is very much for small businesses, and we’d grown big enough to need something more sophisticated,” Wayne says.
In their search for a replacement system, Wayne and his team assessed three products: SAGE, Microsoft Dynamics, and Greentree. Total integration was a must, which tipped the balance for Greentree. Wayne says it’s delivered the operational efficiencies that Epic really needed.
“The service we provide to our clients is better, because we can now produce a cheque or payment in a timely fashion,” he says. “The quicker we can do that, the better the client feels.”
Paying staff is also no longer a worry.
“Greentree is stable and reliable,” Wayne says. “I don’t lose any sleep over whether the pay will get processed when it needs to be – in the Quickbooks days there were some nervous times.”
Data entry has become more efficient as well, with the ability to upload large numbers of standard payments into Greentree via an Excel template, rather than manually. This has saved time in processing the various costs associated with Epic’s fleet of 140 cars, for example.
A new level of comfort
Epic’s staff adapted easily to Greentree, and Wayne says they’re a lot more comfortable with it than they were with the old system.
“We can certainly absorb the workloads better with Greentree than with Quickbooks,” he says. “There are a lot of people in Accounts Payable who can now jump in and fill the void if there’s someone away or an extra-big week, because it’s so easy to use.”
Wayne knows that Epic will be able to get much more out of its Greentree system in the future, as it explores its capabilities.
“Its reliability is the biggest thing to me, and the reporting capabilities have the potential over time to add value to what we do as a finance and administration group. That’s exciting and something to look forward to.”
ABOUT EPIC EMPLOYMENT SERVICE:
Epic Employment Service is a community-based organisation with headquarters based in Brisbane. Epic provides a free service which is funded primarily by the Commonwealth Government of Australia and by ACC in New Zealand. Epic prides itself on its highly skilled workforce, combining tertiary-qualified and industry-experienced professionals. As a full employment service agency, Epic runs a wide range of programmes for job seekers including a disability employment programme.