Being an NDIS Registered Provider with full NDIS Accreditation is a very rewarding career and as more and more funds are allocated to the NDIS there are an increasing number of people looking to start NDIS Services Businesses in Australia. While it is an appealing business proposition becoming an NDIS Registered Provider can be a long and winding road.

The application process can be drawn out and confusing, not to mention that there are often changes mid way through an NDIS Provider Registration process that can lead to disruptions to your application. There are also a lot of steps to take and processes to establish in your business in order to pass the NDIS Audit to become registered, and then every year to retain your registration.

So before you take the plunge to become an NDIS Registered Provider here are some things that will help ensure a smooth start to your new venture.

 Types of NDIS Providers  

There is a misconception that you must go through a registration process or NDIS Audit before you can start offering services and support to NDIS participants, this is not correct. In fact any legal Australian business with an ABN and suitable qualifications can start providing disability related services and be paid by either a client or through a plan manager for the services from the clients NDIS Funding.

There are two types of NDIS Providers, they are either Registered NDIS Providers or Unregistered Providers:

  • Registered NDIS Providers – These companies have completed the NDIS Registration process, been Audited by an NDIS Commission Auditor, and Obtained their NDIS Accreditation. These providers have the right to manage funds and claim directly through the NDIS for the services they provide, and there is a level of assurance to participants that the provider is regulated to offer services to a certain NDIS Standards.
  • Unregistered NDIS Providers – These are companies that have not completed the NDIS registration process, they have not had an NDIS Audit nor have they obtained their NDIS Accreditation, however they deliver services to participants and can be paid either by a self managed funding participant or a plan managed funding participant. There are a lot of companies that start out as an unregistered provider of NDIS Services while they obtain their NDIS Registered Provider status. In fact their are reports that it can help with completing the process as you are implementing such items.

The first question you may want to ask yourself is if you need to become a registered NDIS provider or if you can start operating as an unregistered NDIS provider.

 Plan your NDIS Organisation Corporate Structure and Get Appropriate Advice 

There are several options for the corporate structure of an NDIS Provider, the simplest is to obtain an Australian Business Number, but you may also want to obtain an ASIC Company Registration as a Pty Ltd Company, or maybe even register as a Not for Profit if you plan to operate as a charity or NFP NDIS provider.

Your organisation and corporate structure is the essential first step to obtain a bank account, and also secure relevant insurances required to get started. The approach you choose will need to be appropriate to your long term objectives of the business venture, and it most definitely requires obtaining appropriate advice from a suitable qualified accountant and / or lawyer.

 Establish a clear Mission, Vision and Values for your NDIS Company  

It might feel like there isn’t much point in this just yet, you are not operating yet. However a clear Mission, Vision and Values will help ensure your business has a clear purpose which will resonate in all the documentation and business planning that needs to be done in order to obtain NDIS Registered Provider status. You are about to embark on a lot of documentation and planning, it will help you avoid rework and prevent mixed messaging if you can clearly articulate these from the start. Additionally with more and more NDIS Provider entrants to the market you will want to ensure a clear unique value proposition and market positioning to differentiate from the market.

  • NDIS Provider Mission Statement – This is an action based statement that describes the business and declares the objectives of an organisation and how it is to serve its customers. It is often easier and more tangible as it is more descriptive of the business.
  • NDIS Provider Vision Statement – This is a statement that outlines where an organisation aspires to go or what it desires to achieve. It is a vision for a future which has not yet been achieved but which motivates the organisation to achieve this ideal future state.
  • NDIS Provider Values Statement – This highlights an organisations core principles and philosophical ideals, it is often a guide to the decisions and behaviours and actions of people within the business and signals what is important to the company. Values statements can form part of your organisations competitive advantage if they are truly interwoven into the business.
  • NDIS Provider Unique Value Proposition – Some think this is just a ‘marketing thing’ but it is actually a lot more. In simple form it is a clear statement that explains your product, its benefits and what distinguishes you from the competition. i.e. You may have particular expertise working with people that have spinal injury and more specifically quadriplegics so you may specialise your service for this particular market segment.

After you have clearly articulated your business Mission, Vision, Values and Unique Value Proposition, you can then ensure that they are interwoven in all the planning, documentation and capability building required to obtain an NDIS Registered Provider Status. For example,  if your Vision includes offering unique and digitally enabled care experiences then this will influence your NDIS Software Selection as you wont want to go for a run-of-the-mill software. Similarly if your NDIS Values include Innovation you may want to consider how unique digital services can be incorporated into your service model and which NDIS Software solution would fit with those Values.

 Organise Your NDIS Provider Registration Process  

The NDIS Provider Registration Process as stated above, is a ‘long and winding road’ at times, especially if you do not sit down at the beginning and map out the plan. There are some great resources available online for this including service providers that will  either manage or guide you through the process of becoming an NDIS Registered Provider.

CareVision created a draft a NDIS accreditation project plan to help you get started, Download it Here.

 Get your NDIS Policies and Procedures Right 

The largest body of work that exists in the establishment of your NDIS Accreditation is the clear and relevant documentation of policies and procedures, alongside establishing the practices that will ensure they are followed in the day to day running of the business.

While there are templates available online, you will need to go through these in detail and amend or adjust for your business, while also establishing systems and supplier relationships to ensure they can be fulfilled in practice. It is also important for long term success that your Mission, Vision, and Values are interwoven into the NDIS Policies and Procedures. A good NDIS Software provider will ensure these policies can be loaded and form part of your NDIS staff onboarding requirements through the NDIS Software or Mobile App, and also ensure that the relevant NDIS Policies and Procedures can be accessed at the point of care.

Download our NDIS Policy and Procedure Checklist here

 Don’t Rush your NDIS Software Selection 

We unfortunately see so many new providers rush into their selection of an NDIS software, picking the cheapest, easiest one they come across, however too many times this ends up in tears. The software you choose should support your NDIS Policies and Procedures and make it easy to manage all of your business, not just parts of it.

There are a few new entrants on the software for NDIS space and many have not yet matured, resulting in systems that just don’t cut it when it comes to accreditation time, or when you do get going they quickly kill your growth as they do not scale well. Make sure your software provider, while modern, is also mature and robust.

Ensure your NDIS Software for Providers Offers;

  • Clear and robust onboarding practices to ensure you get the most our of the platform
  • Real time chat and phone support from a team that are well versed on the product
  • Video training and extensive written content about the platform in an easy to search knowledgebase
  • Workflows you can manage and customise within the platform, most systems have a few notifications but as you scale you need proper workflow capabilities
  • A suite of compliant and standardised Forms to get started with but which you can control and modify or build your own over time. Some systems have basic forms and some are just too complicated for the average business user to manage, while CareVision will offer you the best of both worlds, easy to get started and manage but has depth of capability
  • Capabilities to ensure smooth onboarding of staff as this is crucial to their long term success with your team
  • Ability to track and manage NDIS Worker Screening, and various NDIS Certification Compliances
  • Integrated budgeting, quoting, and contracting that seamlessly drives care planning and scheduling capability
  • The ability to manage your compliance while scheduling, ensuring staff are not booked to services where their compliances have expired or been revoked
  • A scheduling solution that helps you reduce payroll costs and control your margins
  • Capabilities to control financial implications of clients services, making service bookings, client plan status changes and balances to prevent claiming issues and streamline the claims process

CareVision offers all of these plus more, making your establishment and ongoing success as you scale up your operations easy. Additionally our partnerships with providers mentioned in this article also streamlines the implementation of such standards, practices and makes being audit ready all the time a possibility.