Wheelchair Rugby League is an inclusive sport that is a variation of the running game. People with and without disability play the sport from social to elite level.
Brendan Lucas has worked closely with Wheelchair Rugby League Australia (WRLA) for six years and Next Dimension Accounting has become a valued partner of the WRLA organisation. Helping to build WRLA’s success and resilience as an international sport means Next Dimension provides support such as organisational budgeting, reporting, grant budgeting and acquittals, international sports funding applications and developing scenarios and projections to assist the WRLA board with strategic decision-making and planning.
WRLA Director Joseph Chidiac says, “Next Dimension Accounting is an indispensable part of our team. Their team’s expert guidance and invaluable insights have powered our organisation’s continuous growth and success in the fiercely competitive world of sports funding, grants and donations.
“Their support has transformed our organisation and made a profound difference in the broader community. We consider ourselves privileged to have them as an integral part of our team.”
MANAGING FUNDING THAT IS CRITICAL TO THE ORGANISATION’S SUCCESS
Like many organisations, WRLA is mainly run by volunteers. Nevertheless, the organisation has been successful in securing some significant grants, and it receives affiliate funding through the NRL. It also receives funding when the Australian Wheelaroos team participates in major tournaments like the Rugby League World Cup. This funding needs to be managed well to ensure that the funder’s objectives are achieved, and that funding ultimately catalyses the growth and development of WRLA. Reporting requirements in the form of grant acquittals need to be managed well to ensure WRLA meets all compliance requirements, and can apply for future grants with confidence and a good track record.
WORKING WITH OUTSOURCED ACCOUNTANTS
WRLA director Joseph Chidiac says, “We considered ourselves incredibly fortunate when Brendan Lucas, a professional accountant, joined WRLA in a voluntary capacity in 2017.” As a huge Rugby League fan and referee, Brendan often provided accounting advice to WRLA pro bono, so he helped out WRLA when asked.
“We found out that Brendan was very familiar with community sports organisations where the committee volunteers struggled to manage shoestring budgets – and then occasional grant windfalls – while performing a host of other tasks.
“WRLA grew and thrived in the next few years, so we needed to outsource our bookkeeping and accounts to a professional. It was too much for volunteers to keep pace with budgeting for the new events we were holding, plus the incoming funds from donations and grants. Brendan was the obvious choice. He was highly qualified in corporate accounting plus an ‘on-demand CFO’ for a range of NFPs, and we knew him to be spot on with his advice and generous with his time.”
ENGAGING NEXT DIMENSION ACCOUNTING AS THEIR OUTSOURCED TEAM
In many ways, the Next Dimension Accounting team grew in tandem with WRLA. The Next Dimension accounts team now provides advice, budgets for planning, budgets or presentations to the government, special advice and budgets for big events like the Rugby League World Cup, and assistance with grant acquittals.
The Next Dimension team has also transitioned WRLA through the use of technology, ensuring real-time oversight that has assisted the WRLA board by providing closer analysis of the accounts.
Joseph Chidiac says, “Next Dimension’s profound expertise in the NFP sector played a pivotal role in facilitating our sustainable growth and ensuring compliance at every crucial stage.” Next Dimension worked closely with the board of WRLA. They were also able to refer WRLA to trusted providers who assisted with grant writing, public relations and marketing the organisation.
Brendan Lucas explains Next Dimension’s role: “We’ve taken care of the day-to-day accounting tasks so that the volunteer board members use their scarce time for growing the game.”
For many community sports organisations, staying on top of grant opportunities, preparing realistic budgets for new programs and grant applications, and then tracking expenditure for the acquittals phase of grants awarded, is extremely time consuming. These tasks certainly benefit from accounting expertise.
An outsourced accounting team has the resources to step in and help NFPs manage when there is a big grant win, from the submissions phase through to acquittals.
“A really valuable contribution was Next Dimension’s support of our World Cup campaign,” says Joseph. “For WRLA to send Australia’s national team to the UK in 2022, we had to fundraise in advance and apply for major grants.” With the welcome fiscal backing in place, more financial management was required to keep managing the budget for the Wheelaroo’s tour of the UK. “As the figures changed, we had to stay focused and spend responsibly,” adds Joseph.
Next Dimension stepped up its accounts support. Brendan says, “From helping develop the budgets, we were soon managing funds received through sponsorships, coordinating team allowances and recording funding expenditure for acquittals. In the lead up to the team’s international tour, we had regular meetings with WRLA Directors to ensure the organisation’s requirements were met.”
Thanks to Next Dimension’s support, WRLA’s national team secured a remarkable top-three position at the prestigious Wheelchair Rugby League World Cup. “Next Dimension’s outsourced accounting team played a pivotal role, providing the essential staffing and financial advice that transformed our World Cup dream into a triumphant reality.” says Joseph.
NFP’S FUTURE PLANS AND SPECIAL PROJECTS
WRLA is looking forward to more success and expansion in the near future. The Next Dimension team will be there providing the financial acumen to back the game’s rollout in other states, its yearly clash between the Blues and the Maroons, and the next exciting World Cup showcase for Australia’s gifted Wheelchair Rugby League athletes.