RTOs face uphill struggle, but the resources are there to helpNov 16, 2016
Australia’s 5,000-plus registered training organisations (RTOs) have a lot on their plates at the moment. While tasked with delivering a high quality of training to a huge range of people and industries, they have to regularly prove their compliance or risk substantial penalties.
Fines and even legal proceedings often follow non-compliance, yet the burden of proof lies on the shoulders of the RTO themselves to provide the right evidence. With many organisations seeing their funding cut, there are difficult waters that need to be negotiated, with fewer resources on hand than before.
Fortunately, RTOs have help available. In the face of mounting compliance and funding issues, there are a range of resources out there to stay on top of their most pressing and potentially damaging issues.
Cash Flow Management Tools
Jay Weatherill, the Premier of South Australia, recently caused alarm among training providers after an announcement that the majority of state funding would be given to Technical and Further Education South Australia (TAFE SA). Mr Weatherill then retracted his statement, saying further discussion is needed, though it still highlighted the change that private training organisations can expect to endure in the coming months and years.
In the face of change, cash flow is one of the things an RTO will want to keep as stable as possible. On top of funding issues, if students are dropping in and out, cancelling mid-course, paying late or not paying for their training altogether, cash flow will often be the first to take a hit.
With better payment and cash flow management resources, students are given more automated options. They can pay their course fees online as a one-off payment, or quickly be set up to pay in instalments, giving the training organisation forecastable, recurring revenue. Subsequently, payment software can then be used to monitor the money coming into a company, manage late or non-payments, and export records to predict future income.
Recently, the media has been awash with RTOs that have fallen foul of compliance issues, incurring significant fines in the process. In Victoria last month, at least five training providers had government funding contracts cancelled or suspended in the light of non-compliant diabetes courses, The Australian reported.
Meanwhile, the federal government allocated an extra $68 million to RTO regulators, The Australian Skills Quality Authority, to help with their compliance investigations. In short, the sector has rarely been more under the microscope. Payment software can then be used to monitor the money coming into a company, manage late or non-payments, and export records to predict future income. A further benefit of improved payment record-keeping comes from the added resources to prove compliance.
If an RTO is frequently digging through the documents it needs to prove they are acting within the law, it can be a massive drain on time. When the work is piling up, it will be a task that takes you away from your core business. With student payments visible from a simple-to-use dashboard, that information is easier to find, understand, and pull from the system. It was in June when the ABC reported that 35 per cent of the 323 registered training organisations examined in Western Australia were either “significantly” or “critically” failing in compliance with national standards.
As many RTOs are struggling with their mounting burdens, a smoother reporting method could help them avoid the everyday traps of non-compliance in the future.
Stay price competitive
With so many RTOs competing on price and course quality, an organisation may feel the continuous pressure to keep course fees low, even in the face of inflation. After all, not all students understand why your rising costs should affect them, and that could turn them into customers of your biggest competitor. On top of all their other concerns, RTOs may simply not have the financial wiggle room to compete, though that’s where payment resources can again come in to help.
If your students are paying by direct debit, the processing fee that you pay is significantly less than those coming in with cheque book in hand. The aforementioned recurring revenue boost can also allow you to keep your prices low, even when your costs are rising, without impacting your bottom line. Many RTOs using Ezidebit’s services find that they can drop their course fees if need be to attract more students and gain the competitive edge. Plus, they receive the knowledge and assurance that each payment is being handled with the utmost care, in line with the highest possible Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard.If your RTO is facing increasing pressure, and you’d like to relieve some of it, contact the team at Ezidebit today. We work with training organisations all over Australia to improve their cash flow and compliance, simply and effectively. You can also sign up for a free demo, to see how our solutions can work for your business in particular.