Accurately track assets and income in Indigenous communities

Communities thrive when they are able to assist residents, and provide services such as safe housing, education and healthcare, all while planning for the future. Tangible and intangible assets make this possible, as they are resources that can be utilized by governing bodies, to promote overall growth and development.

Asset tracking, widely known as Asset Management, is the process of tracking these assets such as income, expenses, shipments, resources, and so forth. With so many moving parts, all with their own value and each offering a critical component to the overall well-being and financial success of a community, accurately tracking assets is crucial in establishing and preparing for years to come.

COVID-19 continues to impact communities across Canada

Financial management is foundational to a community’s success. For areas that rely on local events and tourism which produce fluctuating income, tracking these assets in real-time is required. In May of 2020, amid an Ontario-wide lockdown, two high-profile powwows set to occur in August and hosted by the Indigenous communities of the Saugeen First Nation and Neyaashiinigmiing on the Bruce Peninsula were cancelled due to the uncertainty of COVID-19. First Nation’s Cape Croker Park, a destination for visitors featuring incredible hiking, camping, swimming and additional activities, was also closed to the public. With several of the community’s most high-profile events no longer taking place and a popular tourism spot closed to maintain residents’ safety, a lack of revenue.

Managing budgets and financial assets is only one of many challenges that Indigenous communities are facing. Tabatha Bull, CEO of the Canadian Council for Aboriginal Business, shared in a recent interview the impact COVID-19 is having on Indigenous businesses across Canada. A survey conducted of Aboriginal companies found that almost four of five (79 percent) respondents said their business revenue has decreased by 30 percent or more. Over half (53 percent) said their business revenue decreased by 75 percent or more. Over a third (34 percent) are no longer generating sales. Furthermore, falling oil and gas prices also threaten those working or participating in the fossil fuel sector.

Therefore, the challenges faced by Indigenous communities must be addressed by self-governing bodies, and new strategies for community growth and development explored as a way to counteract the decrease of assets and income opportunities.

The assistance provided by Canada’s Asset Management Program

Canada’s Asset Management Program, first introduced in 2018, is a federal program under the Indigenous Services Canada’s Capital Facilities and Maintenance Program, which assists Indigenous communities in managing infrastructure, community services, operations and maintenance.

The program provides funding to individuals, organizations or institutions. It focuses on supporting Indigenous communities in understanding the importance of managing and tracking assets, creating an asset management plan, and implementing a program that meets specific needs as outlined. With funding in place until 2023, the Asset Management Program is dedicated to helping communities proactively manage and track assets to not only meet present needs but prepare for the future.

Canada’s Asset Management Program assists in providing the tools and resources needed to accurately and efficiently track assets and their overall impact, but it also highlights the need for Indigenous communities to integrate such programs as an addition to their current asset tracking processes.

How can an ERP assist in tracking and managing assets?

Financial Management platforms, such as an Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) system, provides the ability to track assets, whether at a high-level or for specific services and infrastructure such as housing and education within Indigenous communities. By integrating and relying on an ERP solution, paired with a detailed framework for tracking assets in their various forms, self-governing bodies are able to provide direction and assistance in managing the community’s overall management and success. With detailed analytics and reports available when needed, financial information, shipping, and resource allocation can be reviewed, refined, and utilized in strategies crafted for the benefit of the community.

By utilizing an ERP solution designed to integrate with existing systems already in place, Indigenous communities are able to;

  1. Build and monitor budgets, and discern how delays in income will affect growth strategies moving forward.
  2. Import additional assets, eliminating the need for manual data entry, and ensuring information is correct and current.
  3. Generate detailed reports and share this information with team members, no matter their location.
  4. Remain up to date on assets, and plan accordingly if the data is forecasting potential risks in the future.
  5. Provide information to the community in every area of operations, and further overall success and well-being.

At MNP Digital, we work with Indigenous communities to help solve financial and operational inefficiencies, such as the integration of financial systems to better serve the community goals in developing self-determination, expanding on true government to government discussions on service needs opportunities.

We believe that tracking and managing assets should be a streamlined process that offers vital information when needed most – the right ERP technology can help.

Allow us to help determine the best solution for your community while helping you make the most of current technologies and systems. Connect with us today.

Request a free consultation to explore the ROI of an ERP solution for your organization.

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Our team of dedicated professionals can help you understand what options are best for you and how adopting these kinds of technology could help transform the way your processes function. For more information, and for extra support along the way, contact our team.

Author: Dan Caringi

Dan Caringi is a Partner with MNP Digital and a leader within the firm’s national Digital Solutions practice.