English Heritage Financial Information Systems - Upgrade Project
Improved invoice approval process
Eradicated 85% of buyers data entry
Improved web-based payments processes
English Heritage is classed as a “Non Departmental Public Body” sponsored by the Department for Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS). English Heritage exists to protect and promote England’s historic environment and ensure that its past is researched and understood. English Heritage has over 400 properties in its care and currently spends approximately £65million annually on a wide range of goods, services and works.
English Heritage has signed a four-year contract with iSOFT Business Solutions for the supply and support of the Integra suite of financial accounting software, bespoke and e-procurement solutions. The contract includes deliverables to enable implementation of streamlined business accounting processes. The application suite will support 125 concurrent users with the English Heritage headquarters and Regional Offices.
The project includes:
This suite of "Self Service" applications promotes devolvement of processes such as ordering, purchase and sales ledger enquiries. The application is provided across the web and is utilised to re-engineer business processes in respect of the purchase to pay cycle in particular.
Integra Attachment Manager
iSOFT Business Solutions implemented an integrated document imaging solution to meet the specific needs of the organisation. One of the main objectives of English Heritage is to replace the traditional paper chase for purchase ledger invoices.
Workflow and Invoice Approval
To support the use of Attachment Manager they have introduced Integra Workflow and Invoice Approval. This will provide for increased efficiencies in business process throughout the finance and buying community.
Quick Address Software
Links to a third party application to enable address and post code validation are also included as part of the overall solution. This speeds up the process of creating new supplier and customer records as well as providing increased accuracy of standing data.
The project to modernise the FIS was sub-divided into a number of phases.
• Phase 1 The first phase in the process was to upgrade to the very latest versions of Integra on an oracle platform. In parallel with this exercise a detailed review of existing working practices and processes was taking place within the organisation. It was important to understand how things were being done and why, before subsequent phases could be progressed.
• Phase 2 The project was to provide a modern Business Accounting & Finance System to improve business processes. The new windows based system presents a modern, friendly interface to users by employing up to date technologies. In turn, this has given the organisation the opportunity to contribute to the modernisation agenda by re-engineering processes and improving the financial information available to managers. The Integra financial system allows us to work towards meeting nationally agreed e-government targets and requirements.
• Phase 3 The third phase of the project was to introduce efficiencies into the finance and buying functions and roll out the system to managers and buyers. The use of the system technologies allows English Heritage to re-engineer processes and drive the business forward. This phase also includes the first usage of Finance web-based software by the organisation and the implementation of English Heritage's first ever Management Information System.
English Heritage are scanning and electronically storing all their purchase ledger invoices. As well as providing an excellent information source, it allows invoices to be sent for approval electronically. This process, known as Invoice Approval has been the subject of a pilot with the Policy and Communication Group. This will be used throughout the organisation. In a change to existing policy buyers can now choose if Purchase Orders under £10,000 need independent Goods Receipting. This is likely to eradicate 85% of data entry in this area and result in significant improvements in process efficiency. During the next year English Heritage plan to be making web based payments and implementing their first electronic trading for orders and remittances. Use of Visa Purchasing Cards has increased to nearly 600 with over 37% of transactions now made through the cards. Inputs of Orders and Payments are being consolidated into centres of excellence to improve efficiency in real terms and as measured against industry benchmarks. These changes are bringing efficiency and ease of use improvements to the Operational Managers and Finance Teams; benefits in reducing administrative time have already been realised and more will follow. Information and processes are becoming modern and free of all but essential bureaucracy.
Expanding the use of the System
The latest version of Integra is in use in all Finance Departments and Regions, Forty-four brand new users have been trained to use the system for information and reconciliation purposes. One Hundred and Twenty five new users in total will be trained, they are non Finance corporate managers. They will be able to get financial information in printed and Excel formats, run supplier enquiries and look at invoices on line. Key buyers are permitted to raise their own orders as a result of a pilot with Swindon IT staff and IT project managers. Once the pilot areas are completed the functionality will be rolled to non-IT project managers and all major buyers. This important reform will eliminate the need to handle all orders twice, once by the buyer and once by an administrative person, it will allow buyers to place orders quickly and efficiently using e-series software.
English Heritage has successfully implemented new operating statements using Crystal Reports. They will implement a modern database system consisting of a multi dimensional database and reporting system. This system will be used for more flexible and timely budgeting and forecasting by Managers and Finance Teams. It will also be used to alert managers to problems in spending or trends in data, such as visitor numbers or staffing. The first phase, will see Finance and HR data combined for the first time along with key performance indicators. Ultimately English Heritage will have available a true, corporate management information system combing multiple databases from multiple applications.