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As a non-profit delivering valuable employment services to people in need across Australia, WDEA Works sought the services of an internal auditor who could advise on how to enhance their governance, risk management, and compliance.

Working with RSM’s specialist Health Services team, WDEA Works has since gained valuable oversight of their operations while making practical improvements that ultimately help them deliver better services to the community.  

In search of a community-minded partner for internal audit and advice

WDEA Works is a not-for-profit that supports people to gain skills, find employment, and improve their quality of life. The organisation provides a wide range of programs and assistive services, including workforce employment services, disability employment services, training, wellbeing services, social enterprises, and NDIS programs and activities.

Founded in 1989 in a small coastal town in Victoria, WDEA Works has grown exponentially and now manages hundreds of staff with offices located across Australia. 

As a busy non-profit, internal governance and assurance are vital to ensuring WDEA Works is effective in their operations and compliant with the variety of standards that apply within their sector.Image removed.

Mark Koch is the Director of Strategy and Growth at WDEA Works. He is passionate about making a difference to people living with a disability or disadvantage, and spends his days spearheading and overseeing strategies to support the organisation in reaching its objectives.

“There was a consensus in our management committee that we needed to improve oversight of governance, risk and compliance,” says Mark. “We always want to ensure we’re working in the most effective and efficient ways to provide the highest level of service to people in our communities. For us, this meant seeking an internal auditor who could review our practices and processes and look for opportunities to improve.”

We knew of RSM by reputation and word of mouth so we invited them to tender. We looked at the capability and culture fit of several organisations and RSM came out ahead in price, quality of service, and alignment of values. Partnering with a firm that had similar values and principles was very important to us.”

Leveraging specialist skillsets and best practice insights

WDEA Works engaged RSM in 2019 with the team led by Jaime Lam, Director of Risk Advisory and National Director of Healthcare and Community, based in Melbourne.

The engagement included an internal audit schedule comprising 6 topics:

  • Payroll review
  • Cyber review
  • OHS governance review
  • Financial controls review
  • Fraud control framework review
  • Risk management framework review

“It was very important for us to be able to drill down on the high-level skillsets and best practice insights of Jaime and the team,” says Mark. “The COVID pandemic hit not long after we started working together, so the relationship with RSM provided a layer of comfort to the management committee and executive team at a time of significant disruption and change.”

“RSM’s core team worked with us throughout the journey, and brought in subject matter experts to assist with specific reviews – such as our cyber review where we had additional specialists providing technical insights into our practices and processes.”

“Jaime also joined our risk quality compliance sub-committee as a sounding board and adviser. This meant the committee could engage directly and had ongoing access to her expertise which was really useful.”

“While we had an established internal audit schedule, we were able to engage with RSM’s team for general advice outside of these. They were really good to deal with; very personable and always responsive.”

Jaime Lam from RSM believes it’s important for clients to see RSM as a partner they can count on, and to proactively look for ways to provide the best quality service and value.

“It’s about using our expertise in RSM Health Services with a mindset of collaboration and value add,” says Jaime. “We’re not just auditors – we want to get to know our clients, and being part of their governance committees is a way to do this. We can listen to business challenges and successes, grow our understanding, and deliver more value.”

“WDEA Works is a great partner to work with. The services they provide to the community are very important and we’ve been really proud to be part of their journey.”

Preparing to make a deeper impact in people’s lives

Having successfully navigated the challenges of the pandemic, WDEA Works is maintaining focus on improving people’s lives through employment and connection. Looking forward, Mark says they are excited to forge ahead with plans to deepen the impact of the work they do through more community involvement, innovation, and staff.

Of working with RSM, Mark feels the relationship has created more structure within their organisation and given greater peace of mind to stakeholders. Image removed.

“It’s about knowing that we have everything set up correctly with the right practices, processes, and controls in place. The management committee now has a good level of oversight across the organisation and we are definitely more efficient. Our work with Jaime and the team has been very beneficial.”

For leaders in a non-profit wishing to grow their organisation, Mark’s advice would be to “set clear goals and communicate them effectively. Don’t be scared of change… embrace it! The best advice I was ever given is that the journey is never ending – there will always be growth, improvement, and adversity so just remember to keep growing and live in the moment.”

“We wanted to partner with an organisation that was community-minded and aligned with our values. We’ve formed a strong relationship with RSM and found them to be reliable, reassuring and trustworthy.”

For further information regarding  RSM Health Services, please contact your local RSM office