Business, Finance

The secret to improved productivity, lower costs, and happier staff in Social Care

16 June 2023  |   10 minutes read

Improved productivity, lower costs, and happier staff. As far as business ambitions go, it’s fair to say that these are pretty good ones. So how can social care providers go about achieving them?

The answer lies in digital transformation. Digital transformation in Social Care is a wide and varied topic. We know you’re busy, so we’ll limit our discussion here to why digital transformation is the answer to these important questions:

Before you read on, we’ve teamed up with Care Talk on a free webinar series that explores digital transformation in Social Care and other key issues. Find out more here.

How can Social Care providers improve productivity?

With demand for care rising every year and 165,000 sector-wide job vacancies proving hard to fill, it’s no wonder social care staff are pressed for time.

Consider, for example, the hours your finance team spend on reviewing budgets and monthly reporting. It’s not ‘hard work’ per se – but it is time-consuming, especially when these processes are largely manual. Reconciling paper receipts with monthly bank statements or expense claim forms, for example. And painstakingly scanning reports for manual input errors.

Put simply, there are some things that computers can do faster than people, and more accurately. Which is great, because that frees those people up to do the higher impact, more strategic work that’s far better left in human hands.

Soldo is a digital tool that finance teams use make the processes involved in managing company spend and employee expenses quicker and easier. To test the theory, we recently commissioned Forrester Consulting to conduct a Total Economic Impact™ (TEI) study.

The study found that an organisation using Soldo reviewed budgets aligned with company spend in half the time. And the time spent on reviewing and approving reports was reduced by 80%.

How can Social Care providers lower costs?

Spending in social care is complicated. Take general patient costs such as hairdressing or podiatry as an example.

It’s likely that you pay for this upfront and then invoice it back to service users or next of kin. Other costs are covered by petty cash – stationary perhaps or a last-minute trip to the supermarket. How about recruitment ad spend? You might put that on the business credit card.

That’s a lot of money flowing out of the organisation every day through several different channels. Only some of it needs to flow back in, but all of it needs to be accounted for.

So, how can social care providers keep track of all that spending? How can you get a bird’s eye view to see where money is flowing out too fast, the channels it shouldn’t be flowing through at all, and situations where money should have flowed back in but hasn’t?

The answer is digital transformation

By now, you probably won’t be surprised that the answer is digital transformation.

Don’t let the stigma surrounding digital transformation trick you into thinking that analogue solutions like petty cash is the only solution that everyone is capable of using. Even the least tech-savvy staff member has almost certainly used a debit card in their everyday life. So why not switch to company cards?

Here’s how they help:

  • They’re prepaid, meaning you control how much money is available
  • You can set limits so that overspending is all but impossible
  • You decide where they’re used: allow purchases at some shops but not others
  • Use them for online purchases when the same item is more expensive in-store
  • See every transaction as it happens with a dashboard similar to online banking

Company cards help social care providers lower costs by putting them in control of who can spend, where, how much, and on what. Soldo’s company cards are linked to an online platform that gives you that bird’s eye view of every transaction as it happens.

So you can see where you’re spending too much, or spending twice on the same thing. You can identify patterns, see when you’re about to go over budget and spot opportunities to cut costs.

How can Social Care providers boost staff morale?

Let’s flip our discussion of productivity on its head for a minute. The business benefits of productivity are obvious – who wouldn’t want their staff to do more in a day? But there are very real personal benefits too.

An employee freed from tedious, repetitive tasks has the time and headspace to focus on more fulfilling and engaging work. Work they can apply their uniquely human skills, experience and worldview to – while a computer takes care of the rest.

Let’s also circle back to digitising the way staff spend money in the context of their daily work. Carers, for example, will often pay out of pocket and then claim back their expenses. Our research found that 60% of employees feel anxious about doing this – and 72% say it hurts their personal finances.

By that logic, switching to company cards for employee expenses would make 60% of employees feel less anxious, and give 72% one less financial burden to worry about.

And there’s a third element: the improved collaboration and relationship between social care finance teams and other social care staff. There’s no friction over missing receipts or delayed expense reimbursements. Finance teams aren’t buried under paperwork and staff aren’t held back by a lack of access to money.

Digital transformation in Social Care doesn’t have to be scary

Maybe you’re not tech savvy in the same way that a computer scientist or website developer is tech savvy. But you have enough know-how to use your smartphone, send an email and login to your online banking.

Demand is up, costs are rising and the sector is in the midst of a recruitment crisis. Digital transformation could be just the change you need to meet demand, lower costs and put your staff in the right headspace to face a crisis head on. Embrace change. The results might just surprise you.

Expense management for social care

Get a clear view of spending in real-time and control all costs in one platform. From purchasing PPE to paying for staff training and building maintenance, Soldo lets you do it all, effortlessly.

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