The Centre for Disability Studies mission is to create and disseminate knowledge that improves the lives of people with disability. They focus on designing and developing research, teaching and other initiatives that inform disability policy and practice.
Their work is guided by the experiences of people with disability, and they strive to meaningfully engage people with disability in the creation, development and execution of their programs. Operating for over 20 years, CDS is a not for profit organisation, affiliated with the Sydney Medical School, University of Sydney.
When Professor O’Brien became the director at CDS in 2009, CDS was well established and located at the Rehab Hospital in Ryde.
But in 2011 a hospital re-build forced CDS to look for other premises. With the help of a foundation partner who contributed financial support, they moved into a space at the University of Sydney.
Ryde Hospital had also provided bookkeeping and financial services so the move offered CDS the opportunity to look for a new accounting partner.
“I had heard of Matrix on Board at the time, and Morri Young’s reputation in the sector preceded him. And that’s how we were referred to Accounting For Good. We met with Kirsten Forrester to discuss our requirements and the package we decided on was wonderful.”
Initially CDS sought consultancy on a research project.
And that led them to adopt the industry-leading accounting software, Xero.
“We had done research on how to introduce a better timesheet system,” explains Patricia.
“AFG introduced us to Xero. Their Xero experts came out to train us to use the system – they were also readily available to assist. The technology available through AFG is really good.”
Professor O’Brien speaks highly of the skilled team at AFG who make reporting and payroll tasks simple and seamless.
“We really enjoy working with Glenn. We have an ongoing relationship and we have set up systems where three or four leaders receive reports from directly from Glenn. Rose does our payroll and works with AFG to fill any gaps. This team approach works really well.
Glenn is responsive, Rose is highly skilled and the staff have had further training with Kirsten – the support from AFG has ticked many boxes for us.”
AFG thrive on helping their clients to solve frustrating problems.
Preparing the budget, writing grants and monitoring performance are ongoing tasks for CDS, but with AFG’s help, they are no longer arduous.
“Glenn has always made himself available and his wisdom has been invaluable for us.
Throughout each year we look at whether we are under budget or over budget and make adjustments as we go,” says Patricia.
Recent challenges have come from reviewing CDS’s goals to align with NDIS reform. But with their accounting in hand, the team feels confident look to the future.
“We will continue to look for meaningful ways to contribute to the concept of supporting people who are keen on individualised funding as well as families,” adds Patricia.
The team will be developing pillars of their strategic plan, as well as focusing on education, planning, research and framing.
They will be translating research into practice and building upon their inclusive research with people with disabilities.
Maintaining the good work that CDS does is vital. We are excited to partner with them as they implement new outreach opportunities around Australia for years to come.