Complete Communication Speech Pathology is a thriving pediatric practice founded by Kim and Ben Archer, providing speech therapy services for children from 18 months to 18 years. Kimberley uses her knowledge and experience to help young people achieve a variety of speech, language, literacy and social goals. With expertise working with children diagnosed with an Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD), Dyspraxia, and other complex communication needs and two kids of her own at home, Kim is both very busy, and experienced at working with young people.
They started Complete Communication Speech Pathology in 2012, shortly after the birth of their daughter, deciding to take the leap into business post maternity leave. “We thought, well, no better time to dip a toe in the water and see if we can make a go of it,” Ben remembers. Doing the accounting and technical support for the business, Ben also juggles a career as a science laboratory manager.
Back at the beginning, accounting for the business looked similar to many small businesses — the well worn Excel database. “The business kind of outgrew that within about a year and having Excel files as invoices was a bit painful. Then I got onto another system and that was pretty good, but it was only to generate invoices and not manage bookings, appointments, and all the other things that obviously Cliniko does.”
It was clear that they needed something more holistic to manage their rapidly expanding client base, so Ben acted on a recommendation by our very own Cliniko support team member, Matt (nice one, Matt!).
“I’ve known Matt for a very long time — he was using Cliniko at his business at the time and I just happened to ask him about it, so that's how I got into it.”
Ben recalls moving into Cliniko in the beginning to be a simple process: “I reckon it took me five or six hours just to sit down and, apart from understanding it all, actually do the setup. And I did a lot of reading — there's a lot of useful help files.”
Ben put in a considerable amount of initial work in setting up payment types, appointment types, billable items and particularly for catering to Kim’s NDIS clientele. “I do a lot of colour-coding, because it's a little bit complex for Kim's work — we have some clients that are part of the National Disability Insurance Scheme and some that aren’t.”
Complete Communication Speech Pathology runs out of a shared multi-discipline site (Bodyline Health) and shares a reception staff member with the other businesses. Being able to give the reception staff access for booking and managing payments allowed Ben to step back and focus on his own busy day job. “I didn't initially allow them to do that, it took a little bit for me to let go of that part of the business.”
The real take-away for Ben in making Cliniko work for Kim’s practice was the ease of set up and the ability to customise where needed to suit the business: “pretty much how I'd set it up all those years ago is still just how it works. It works very, very effectively.”
One area Ben would like to see developed more in Cliniko is contract management as he currently uses Adobe to help manage NDIS service contracts. “We dabbled using Cliniko’s forms in early 2020, but found it didn’t fit our purpose. I write a contract, then Kim signs it, and then I send it off to the client. Our system then sends them a copy through Adobe, it sends them a copy and tells them exactly how to fill it in”.
The stability of Cliniko’s platform and its clean, consistent approach to making simple and efficient software have been the real bonus for the team at Complete Communication, though. "I don't really want too much more of the software. I think it's very powerful. It might have tweaks, but things don't change dramatically and you go ‘oh God, I gotta get used to this now.’”
Advice for those making the move
Ben advises that for businesses with a growing client base, a good practice management system is going to be key. “If you've got seven clients and that's all you're seeing, you probably don’t need Cliniko right now. But once you start getting a few days and multiple clients, you do need the capacity for the software to be working for you.”
For Ben and Kim, that software solution is Cliniko. “You can easily justify the subscription on what it brings end to end for running your business. Ultimately, apart from the website, it runs Kim's business. It's just absolutely fit for purpose.”