In the wake of Covid-19, many retailers are encouraging consumers to use contactless payments rather than physical cash.
Even prior to Covid-19, cash was on the way out in aged care and the health industry, due to the:
- direct costs of managing cash, in bank costs and administration
- indirect costs of staff time in managing the resulting paperwork
- limits on finance controls, ability to audit expenditure and other governance requirements, increasingly becoming non-negotiable, even for small expenditures.
Aged care providers have enough pressure staffing all their formal governance requirements, and simply cannot afford to be distracted and take on a discretionary role administering cash.
A case study with Allity Templestowe Manor demonstrates the immediate financial and resident benefits of eliminating cash from sites. The organisation historically used a complex company system to manage petty cash. Staff struggled with adhering to process, and cash cheque replenishment took many weeks. The management of the entire petty cash process was a near impossible task, taking hours of administration time on a weekly basis.
A debit card solution was implemented for facility and resident expenses, with a card float approximating what was held previously in cash.
The debit card named to Allity Templestowe, not an individual, avoiding 100pt check and enabling card sharing between lifestyle staff and reception. Transactions are imported daily to facility staff logins, that require allocation to coded facility expenses (ie activity consumables) or resident private accounts (ie lunch outing). Allocated monies are paid back to the debit card weekly.
If money is spent on the debit card, and not allocated, the debit card will cease working, prompting facility staff to allocate.
Head office staff download reports from a transaction dashboard on a monthly basis. There is no requirement for monitoring, as resident expense allocations are reviewed by families and facility expenses are imported directly, including coding into the finance system.
The process for one facility previously took 3-4 hours weekly for facility and support office staff; now it’s just minutes and has opened up opportunities for lifestyle adventures for residents without any burden of administration.
Expect more aged care facilities to retire the petty cash box as the move towards cards/cashless payments quickly takes precedence. Those that do will quickly realise the many benefits.
For more reading: See 'Going Cashless' article in July-Aug 2020 edition of Australian Ageing Agenda.