The overall focus for the project is the elimination of unnecessary data transfers, file uploads, re-keying of data and tedious reconciliations. Taking responsive repairs as an example of one of the key “asset events” which needs to trigger accounting processes, this works in practice as follows:
- Data simplification: we have eliminated data duplication and ambiguity by formalising responsibility for maintaining supplier accounts, SORs, prices, property reference numbers (UPRNs), project and location codes, etc. The majority of these are now wholly managed in the housing system, with finance-only elements (e.g. supplier bank accounts and payment terms) controlled by finance. By implementing the principle that data is held once, stored once and managed once, we have been able to support and streamline repairs processes as they move through the relevant business functions.
- Finance process automation: building on this data rationalisation, operational activity is no longer passed across to the finance team to be manually recorded in an accounting system. Instead, repairs case data is now fluidly exchanged between operational and accounting teams. Instead of re-keying the data, we have built the financial profile of the transaction into the operational process so that repairs accounting is fully automated.
- Accounting: when a job is first issued to a contractor, a financial purchase order is automatically created and the financial commitment established. When the job is completed, the purchase order is available for matching, a liability is crystallised and control passes fully over to Finance, the operational side having been completed. Changes and updates to the repair order are automatically reflected in the purchase order. Thanks to the powerful data and process integration, accounting is smooth and accurate, period end accruals and provisions are straightforward, and the cost allocation makes for simplified service charge analysis and recharges.
By capturing ‘asset events’ – periodic rents and service charges, acquisitions, disposals, planned maintenance, repairs, voids, etc. – to trigger the relevant accounting processes, such as revenue recognition, purchase order processing, contractor management, payables, VAT and asset depreciation processes, we are ensuring that the financial profile of assets always reflects the physical, automatically and in real time.
Our customer’s Finance team is also discovering a raft of other benefits of operating on a single Microsoft platform, including the advanced capabilities of Business Central and Power BI which are helping them to deliver the transformation and become true business partners.