Integrated solution will streamline processes and increase efficiency
The Children’s Society, a charity supporting disadvantaged and vulnerable young people, is to increase efficiency and maximise the resources devoted to frontline services by implementing an integrated suite of software from Advanced Business Solutions (Advanced). The technology, including a mobile expenses app, will be hosted in Advanced’s data centre and will go live in July 2016.
The Children’s Society works with thousands of children and young people every year through its social work practices across England. It also campaigns for change in government policy. The charity, which was set up in 1882 by Sunday school teacher Edward Rudolf after he saw pupils begging in the street, now has 1,000 staff and a team of 11,000 volunteers.
The charity will implement finance system OpenAccounts, budgeting and forecasting solution Collaborative Planning, electronic workflow eBIS and document management technology (powered by V1).
Russell Craigie, Finance Project Manager at The Children’s Society says, “We want to ensure that our resources are focused on children and young people and this means being as efficient as we can be in managing support services such as Finance. We also want to ensure that we have efficient business processes and that our managers have access to good financial information so that they can manage money carefully.
“Using a single supplier like Advanced for all our solutions and hosting was a key decision. We don’t want our time to be focused on integrating systems from a variety of suppliers - our priority is directly supporting children and campaigning on their behalf.”
OpenAccounts will enable the central Finance team to store more information about each transaction, such as what project it is related to, how it was funded, and what contract it comes under.
This will provide more detailed, transparent and accurate reporting, supporting managers to make better informed decisions. Collaborative Planning will also integrate with OpenAccounts, ensuring annual budgeting cycles and quarterly forecasts are created efficiently.
The charity will use document management technology to electronically process and archive more than 16,000 purchase invoices every year. Currently all invoices are submitted in paper format.
Craigie adds, “Advanced’s product suite will play a key part in driving efficiencies, by enabling us to move towards wholly electronic processing of financial transactions and becoming a paperless organisation.”
Staff will upload their expenses and receipts into the finance system using a phone or tablet, via Advanced’s mobile expenses app. This will save staff having to travel back to the office to submit a paper form and will further help to eliminate paper, which is a key part of ensuring that frontline staff can spend more time working with young people.
“Social workers need to be in the field to be effective and travelling to the office solely for administration, such as expenses, is inefficient and time-consuming. By empowering staff to complete these tasks from wherever they are we are enabling them to spend more time supporting children, young people and their families,” continues Craigie.
eBIS will streamline purchase-to-pay processes by enabling budget holders and administrators to complete tasks such as raising purchase orders, registering suppliers and raising supplier invoices online. Currently these are paper-based processes that are completed using forms and spreadsheets.
Craigie concludes, “Advanced’s solutions will give us greater insight and control of finances, to ensure we are working as efficiently as possible and allowing more resources to be allocated to frontline services.”