Purchase Order System provides another level of control to Care Homes Finance Operation
Lilian Faithfull Homes has been meeting the needs of elderly people who require care for over 65 years. And with that wealth and breadth of experience, currently operate 4 separate homes, based in elegant heritage buildings, within 1.5 miles of the centre of Cheltenham. The Company’s philosophy is all based around people-centred care, extended to supporting the families of residents.
Faithfull House Residential Home
As you might expect, running 4 separate homes has it’s challenges, and back in the Autumn of 2013, Martin Hughes (Head of Finance and IT) - who’s department was awarded Finance Team of the Year 2013 (public sector and voluntary) - felt that a full electronic Purchase Order system would add an additional layer of control and speed to the successful running of the operation in each of the homes.
Martin and his colleagues approached Cloud B2B Solutions via Google search, and following a number of remote demonstrations were pleased to place an order for a customised version of the Purchase Order software.
Martin says ‘We liked the look and feel of the Cloud B2B Solutions software, which is intuitive to use -key when you have a wide range of IT skills amongst users. We also asked for a number of customisations to ensure a close fit to our requirements and I was pleased with the speed and flexibility of the POP team in dealing with these – even though we have never met face to face! Another plus was that they were able to upload our Cost Centres, Nominal Codes and Supplier lists as part of the system set up, saving us time and effort. We also ordered the Budget module, that added another layer of financial control that we didn’t previously have.’
The system was made live in January 2014, with a 5 concurrent licence model, and in this case the system was installed to a new Lillian Faithful server, as oppose to Cloud B2B Solutions Cloud Hosting.
Martin commented ‘ Whilst the POPIA Cloud model was attractive, we felt that we wanted all systems ‘in house’ so I asked the POPIA team to work with our IT team to provide the same level of support and resilience’.
After the first few months of use, Lillian Faithful asked for a number of changes to the Budget Module and workflow, including the introduction of a special Group Role where users could automatically raise and approve Purchase Orders, whilst still being restricted by the Budget Control settings. This and the other changes (such as a Close PO function) were deemed sensible after practical use, and were configured into the system and deployed in April 2014.
Martin summarises the benefits of the Purchase Order software ‘ The system has replaced a somewhat fragile and laborious process, and we now have full visibility as to the status of PO’s being raised and their value, and as importantly how budgets are being spent. The reporting suite is invaluable for my team, allowing us to forecast cash flow with a much greater level of accuracy. As with all new systems there was some ‘bedding in’, but all staff now can see the benefits in terms of the speed and accountability’.