Friendly Society Private Australia

The Friendly Society Private Hospital is a leading, not-for-profit, private, acute care surgical and medical facility. It offers a robust range of specialties that play an important regional and statewide role. Recently, the facility has undergone significant growth-increasing in physical size by 70% and moving from an 85 bed facility to 143 beds. The Friendly Society Private Hospital offers the friendliest, highest quality healthcare in Australia, and it is the only cardiac catheterization laboratory in the region. In addition to this they provide intensive care, coronary care, oncology, plastics, orthopaedic, general and vascular surgery to name just a few. Continued growth is forecast as the healthcare needs of an aging population continue to accelerate.

“The more I use the product, the more I get those 'light bulb' moments where I think-Oh, that's actually going to be really handy.”

Terri McCracken
Finance Manager | Friendly Society Private Hospital

The challenge

Terri McCracken is the finance manager for The Friendly Society Private Hospital. Terri oversees the finance department of the company and describes their challenge as this: “We have just finished our second year using Epicor ERP and with that we had a budget which was being built out of spreadsheets upon spreadsheets upon spreadsheets that started to grow too big. We knew that we needed to improve and find something that was going to be more robust and that would not hide the formula errors that are inherent when dealing with a lot of Microsoft Excel spreadsheets.”

The solution

Terri explains: “We looked at different products-it was really hard to choose. I argued that our strategy should be to stay with the product that we already have especially since we've already invested with Epicor. This system has everything that we need. It is robust and it does not lack anything so we went with the Epicor Financial Planner (EFP) and with hindsight I´m very glad we did.”

She says about the experience: “One of the great things was that on day one the administrator found errors because the data was looking at the wrong information. That error would have been so hard to find without the EFP.”

The old vs the new

She continues: “Before Epicor, we had an old dinosaur, black screen and key entry. So Epicor is our first major upgrade for ERP for our hospital and Epicor Financial Planner of course. I haven't really worked with anything like this before but I have worked with Excel every day of my working life. I have not worked with the database behind it but with EFP, it wasn't too hard to pick up as we were going through examples and built it from scratch.

The more I use the product, the more I get those “light bulb” moments where I think-Oh, that's actually going to be really handy.

For example, every time the data changes I used to have to open up my spreadsheet, go through each department, refresh the formula and then send it in.

I had this light bulb moment when I said hang on-this is only my first step, my next step is saying okay all those formulas are perfect and they're working and that's what I want. So my next step is to actually go into the backend into the modeller and rebuild and hard code those formulas so that going forward I only need to change the driver, I shouldn't have to go in to every single department and refresh the data.

It is these sorts of things that have dawned on me that made me say this is going to be a lot faster than what we have had previously. I think there is more to come and much more I want to do with it.”

The future

Terri explains what they have done: “So far, we've done the Profit and Loss. I've created the cash flow for the actual data. We´ve tested it and I know how to do that so I only have to spend the time to create the formulas, which aren't difficult.

Then I would like to put all of our management reporting into it and look at patient level costing. That means that we would like to start trying to cost from a diagnosis level, and whatever else is required for that type of patient, rather than generalising where everybody is just a person-that's the healthcare that we're trying to move towards.”

She concludes: “There's more we can do with it. It´s not just a budgeting tool, it is a modeller. It helps you to model your business, you can model products-and that's what we'd like to do.”

Company Facts

Location: Australia
Industry: Hospital
Web site:


Needed to improve the budgeting process

The finance team was using too many spreadsheets leading to an increased risk of inaccuracies


Reduced time for reporting

Improved ease-of-use

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