The Wales Audit Office (WAO), which is responsible for auditing the public services in Wales, including the Welsh Assembly Government, is implementing a financial management system (FMS) with integrated cash flow forecasting, budgeting, planning and electronic procurement functionality from COA Solutions (www.coasolutions.com). This integrated system, which will also comprise electronic document imaging and data capture software (using Version One’s technology), will enable the WAO to closely monitor cash flow and more easily comply with the Government’s ten day supplier payment target. It will also eliminate any risk of unauthorised spending and improve financial reporting. The planned go-live is April 2010.
John Baker, Head of Finance at Wales Audit Office, explains, “Our current system is cumbersome and very restrictive, particularly when we need to interrogate financial information in greater detail for reporting purposes. Following the recommendations of an independent consultant and a robust competitive tender process, we selected COA Solutions’ finance system due to its advanced reporting capabilities, superior cash flow functionality and ability to integrate into our existing project management system.”
The WAO’s existing cash flow forecasting and budgeting processes are very manually intensive and involve the time-consuming production and consolidation of spreadsheets. Using the FMS’ integrated cash flow forecasting, the WAO will be instantly alerted to potential cash excesses or shortfalls so that remedial action can be taken. In addition, the WAO will be able to easily create and update budgets and forecasts and report on these in real-time using the integrated budgeting and forecasting functionality, Collaborative Planning.
Baker comments, “COA Solutions’ integrated cash flow forecasting solution, which is significantly above similar solutions on the market, will greatly improve our cash flow monitoring, including allowing us to more closely analyse the payment performance of individual clients. Using integrated Collaborative Planning, we will also be able to budget more effectively and compare the budgetary impact of various ‘what-if’ scenarios so that we are well-prepared for a wide range of eventualities.”
In addition, by linking the WAO’s project management system with COA Solutions’ FMS, the Wales Audit Office will be able to easily and in real-time identify expected income based upon number of billable hours worked on each project.
Using the integrated data capture, document imaging and electronic procurement functionality, inbound invoices will be scanned, verified and then uploaded to the finance system. Invoices requiring authorisation will be automatically routed to the appropriate staff for approval, eliminating the time-consuming and costly circulation of 6,000 paper invoices every year. With the electronic storage of all purchase invoices, WAO will also be able to reduce costs in relation to its expensive off-site document storage facility.
Baker says, “With the new COA Solutions system, we will eliminate manually-intensive purchase-to-pay processes, significantly improving efficiency whilst helping us to meet the Government’s ten day supplier payment criteria. We will also free-up onsite document storage space, cut the costs of printing, posting and off-site archiving whilst supporting our green agenda."
By automating the procurement process, the finance department will have more time to spend on value-adding tasks and will have increased visibility of spend, enabling tighter financial control whilst preventing any risk of unauthorised spending.
Furthermore, the advanced reporting capabilities of the COA Solutions system will allow greater interrogation of financial information and the quick and easy production of real-time reports. Baker explains, “We’ll have comprehensive and easy-to-understand financial information at our fingertips. As well as giving us a more complete and transparent set of management accounts this will also improve decision making.”
About Wales Audit Office www.wao.gov.uk/
The Wales Audit Office covers all sectors of government, except those reserved to the UK government. The Auditor General for Wales, as head of the Wales Audit Office either directly audits bodies, such as the Welsh Assembly Government and the NHS or, as in the case of local government, appoints auditors to do so. The Wales Audit Office strives to promote improvement, so that people in Wales benefit from accountable, well-managed public services that offer the best possible value for money.
About COA Solutions www.coasolutions.com
COA Solutions is the UK's leading supplier of integrated business management and information systems to public, private and not-for-profit organisations in the service sector. COA Solutions prides itself on getting close to its customers by understanding their businesses and responding to their business needs.
COA Solutions' award-winning Smart Business Suite combines core financial management, procurement, human resource and payroll systems, integrated with a range of collaborative, document management and business intelligence solutions. COA Solutions also provides managed service, hosted service and bureau service options. Its systems and services extend the value and effectiveness of the finance, HR and payroll departments across the organisation and enable managers in the business to monitor, analyse and continually improve corporate performance.
COA Solutions has more than 500 experienced and professional staff supporting and servicing over 4,000 clients across the UK service sector including Companies House, Newcastle City Council, WHSmith, Royal Bank of Scotland, Aer Lingus, National Express Group, DFS, RSPB and Great Ormond Street Hospital for Children NHS Trust.
Liz Ebbrell, COA Solutions
+44(0)1625 856505 or 07917 634 705
Ben Carey, COA Solutions
+44 (0)1625 856505
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