Andy Dean is the CFO of Eden Futures, a social care provider that supports 675 service users with autism, learning disabilities, and mental health challenges to live independently. He recently sat down with Soldo on our podcast ‘The CFO Playbook’.
We talked to Andy about the cost pressures that come with being publicly funded, the political aspect of being a CFO in Social Care, how to help carers do their best work, and more.
In this blog, we’ve summarised three key takeaways from our discussion with Andy that Social Care finance leaders won’t want to miss out on:
Eden Futures is 100% publicly funded by a combination of local authorities and the NHS. This means that they feel the pinch when there are changes to government policy.
“The years of austerity definitely increased the pressure on costs and pricing,” Andy explains. There’s pressure being applied on NHS trusts and local authorities to strictly monitor costs and secure “bang for their buck”.
For Andy, this pressure can be managed through effective storytelling. A local authority might initially baulk at a figure on a spreadsheet, but providing the context behind these numbers makes a big difference.
“It’s vital that we can quantify and demonstrate how we help local authorities and the NHS cut costs,” he says. “We always explain that our success story is that a service user needs less support from us.” For example, someone who once needed 24-hour care now only needs support for 4 hours a day.
Using data to demonstrate this reduction in the hours of support required is what keeps cash-strapped local authorities and NHS Trusts coming back to Eden Futures. In addition to improving their quality of life, service users being able to live independently also lowers costs.
Social Care, as a publicly funded good, is impacted by politics and policy changes. This means that keeping abreast of what’s going in Westminster is part of Andy’s remit.
Eden Futures, he explains, wants to hit the ground running in the event of a change of government. It’s easy, given Social Care’s many intricate challenges, to focus on what’s in front of you. But Andy cautions that finance leaders should already be thinking about the likely outcome of next year’s General Election.
“At the moment we are looking at what the Labour Party’s policies are in this area since we’re realistically looking at a change in government next year. It’s vital that we’re aware of what’s happening and that likely events are factored into our plans and our risk models.”
What are the main parties saying about Social Care, and what impact can it have on you and your service users? “CFOs in Social Care should cultivate a keen interest in society and politics,” Andy says. Not as a hobby per se, but as an essential component of the job.
When Andy made the jump from KPMG to the Social Care sector, it was a decision guided by ambition. “I wanted to make CFO,” he says candidly. But a decade later, he found the work of a Social Care CFO to be far more mission driven.
“Care is such a powerful topic. Everyone you speak to can relate to it and relate to having someone in Social Care. That’s what I love about it, my work as an accountant touches so many peoples’ lives.”
Andy isn’t only driven by making a difference for service-users, he’s passionate about supporting care workers too.
“From a finance team perspective, our aim is always: let’s get paid workers paid correctly and on time. We want to make their lives as easy as we can, so they can focus on the most important part of their jobs: delivering care.”
One way to do this is the intelligent use of technology. Many routine tasks – like expense management – can be automated. The impact is two-fold: less admin for Social Care finance teams and faster reimbursements for care workers. With a solution like Soldo that combines easy expense management with prepaid cards, social care providers can even do away with out-of-pocket spending altogether.
Make sure to listen to our full discussion with Andy Dean, <on Spotify> or wherever you get your podcasts. Until then, remember Andy’s key lessons from 10 years as a Social Care CFO:
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