28th September 2012
Spectrum Housing Group Implements Integra
With 18,000 homes to manage and the centralisation of its different accounting systems, Spectrum Housing Group needed to produce a more consistent and efficient financing operation throughout the Group. Repairs invoices, a new purchase ordering process and electronic scanning and filing were further areas that needed to be streamlined. Spectrum found that the Integra finance system from Capita IB Solutions provided the best solution for these comprehensive requirements. As a result, tenants and management are now assured of a more efficient and professional service, and the Group is better able to help finance new homes for a growing population.
Established in 2007, Spectrum Housing Group works in partnership with local authorities, health trusts, statutory bodies, a range of voluntary organisations and higher education establishments. The Group owns and manages approximately 18,000 homes across the South of England.
Sandie Williams, Business Implementation Manager, for Spectrum Housing Group, said: “Our objective is to run the Group as a business but we do not trade for profit. We plan to make surplus income each year and this is all reinvested in the work of the subsidiaries, to maintain existing homes and help finance the building of new ones.”
The Group Board is responsible for the overall strategy and direction of the business, and is made up of independent members and representatives of each subsidiary. These subsidiaries work to their own operational plans, agreed with the Group Board, and have direct responsibility for all service delivery to tenants and residents in the areas they cover.
Prior to the Group’s merger in 2007, Spectrum Housing Group had always been made up of several separate entities, and as a result, operated three different accounting systems. This meant that one of the first tasks was to centralise the Group’s finance operations. After this was achieved, a common finance system was required to provide consistency, opportunity for further efficiencies, and a more effective financial operation.
Detailed Requirements Created
Sandie Williams explains: “We needed a common chart of accounts for all companies, which would provide consistent processes applied to transactions and reporting across the Group. Enhanced management information, and support for our customers in understanding and reporting on the financial aspects of the operation, were also important.”
She continues “We required our volume-driven processes (such as accounts payable) to be centralised so we could achieve benefits from economies of scale and from the functionality of the new finance system. We also needed the new system to support scanning, optical character recognition (OCR) and electronic filing of invoices in order to improve efficiency and transparency and to allow managers to drill from reports all the way down to copies of the invoice.”
In addition, Spectrum Housing Group needed to start a programme for the roll out of purchase order processing (POP) across the Group, where appropriate.
Enabled by the new technology, and after moving from production of accounts, it was felt that management accounting staff would be able to add value by helping managers to understand and act upon the information, enabling greater visibility across the Group.
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