This blog has been updated for freshness and relevancy…
The Vocational Education and Training industry is on a continuous journey of change. From ASQA’s tightening of controls to advances in technology, demands on RTOs are ever-increasing.
Unfortunately, there are many generic solutions that were not created for the purpose of VET. With ASQA’s focus being on high-quality student experiences more than ever, RTOs are feeling the pressure. On top of that, there is the rise in costs; the expenses of administrating a compliant process and the high level of competition lowering prices means that training providers need to reduce their costs wherever possible.
The following article gives you 5 tips on how to reduce costs in in your RTO.
1. Compare budget with actual expenses
Go through your records and see if there are any significant discrepancies between your budget and actual spendings. Once you identify any differences, make the more considerable overruns your priority. The costs that are higher than what you planned for indicate room for reduction; while costs that are lower than expected might indicate a decrease in quality or other issues. The best way is to list ‘planned’ and ‘actual costs’ in a spreadsheet and compare these regularly to see how you’re going and to keep track of where to make reductions in expenses.
We found a few apps that will help you with budget management:
Mint – free budgeting app for a single individual
Jedox – Performance Management for small to midsize Businesses
Adaptive Insights – Business Budget Planning Software for mid to enterprise sized companies
2. Stay compliant with the Standards of ASQA
Staying compliant is one surefire way to reduce your RTO costs. On 6 July 2018 ASQA revised fees to offer training provider cost reductions if they show high levels of compliance. This means:
- Training providers that need a greater level of regulatory attention and oversight will pay higher costs for regulation.
- Assessment fees are only charged when there is an audit requirement for the renewal of a registration.
- Cost reductions for RTOs that demonstrate high level of compliance.
3. Maximise the use of your physical space before getting a bigger one
Space is another factor that gets overlooked and contributes to budgetary waste. There are more space-wasters than you think: piles of paper, bad placement of furniture, unnecessary overpacked storage, etc.
Go through your office and make a list of spaces that could be used for dual purposes. For example, you could use a meeting room as a break room, hire Co Spaces for those times that you need larger meeting rooms, and encourage staff to work from home. There are different opportunities for saving space, depending on what kind of RTO you have.
Get clever with other space saving scenarios, like going paperless.
4. Quick & simple savings
You can save money by making small changes that won’t affect the quality and performance of your RTO. These quick savings include:
- Check the invoices of suppliers. It is quite common that they overcharge by mistake. For example missing discounts, double billing or incorrect charges are not rare.
- Check if your trainers and assessors professional development is relevant to their role. Even if it is, check for cheaper options with the same accreditation.
- Try to avoid creating unnecessary small orders of supply. If you buy regularly with the same quantities, there is a chance of getting discount deals and less administrative effort.
- Evaluate if your RTO is over-insured. Safety is good, but useless if you have insurance for something that is an impossibility.
- If you need to create documents for compliance, try to use templates and make these accessible for everyone in the organisation. This saves time and money. We have you covered with a Training and Assessment Strategy Template and a Professional Development Template.
5. Save big with technology
Technology is one of the biggest cost savers an RTO can benefit from. If you apply it wisely you will be able to save thousands of dollars per year. Nowadays there are plenty of options to go digital and operating the business virtually is no longer a pipe dream.
- Have meetings online instead of spending money and time on travelling.
- Save physical space with virtual offices and files.
- Get rid of time-consuming processes that include paper. Printing, collating, posting, filing, processing, scanning, uploading, retaining and destroying are massive wastes of money and time.
- Digital files are edited within seconds. A mistake or an edit on a paper file brings a long process with it. This costs time, money and nerves.
- Streamline processes by integrating multiple apps you use, to ensure a fast data-flow that saves time and ensures accuracy.
The most efficient digital solutions are cloud-based. They are extremely advantageous because they connect everyone with everything at any time:
- Cloud computing improves activities like searching for a record or collaborating. Think about how much time gets wasted every day if an employee needs to go from one physical file to another to find something or if they need to share large digital files via email. A file saved within the cloud is found and shared within seconds!
- Imagine all your paper files get destroyed in a fire or are damaged by water. Accidents are out of your control and can happen at any time. This can cause massive recovery costs, which would be saved if you use cloud storage.
- Cloud services are updated automatically. There is no need to spend cost-intensive hours on manually updating your system when you are using a cloud application because it updates and refreshes itself.
- Most pricing models are in a pay-as-you-go form. This means that you only pay as long as you require the service. Check providers cancellation options. Some offer just 30-days.
Choosing a solution that is specifically made for the Vocational Education and Training sector will make the implementation process a lot easier and help to get things going a lot quicker as everything will be created with your organisation in mind.