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South Thames College has gone live with a financial management system (FMS), with integrated electronic procurement, document imaging and business intelligence functionality from Advanced Business Solutions (ABS), formerly COA Solutions. The go live was in July 2010 with the second phase of the project, involving the implementation of an automated workflow solution, due for completion by October 2010.

The decision to implement Advanced Business Solutions’ FMS was driven by South Thames College’s merger with Merton College, an existing ABS FMS customer. With the FMS live at South Thames College (now incorporating Merton College), administration has been cut, orders are sent to suppliers more efficiently, commitments are recorded instantly and supplier payments are timelier, enabling the finance team to add considerable value to the organisation. Moving forward, the FMS will also streamline procurement and improve both financial control and the visibility of financial information.

South Thames College merged with Merton College in August 2009 to better serve its local communities and draw on expertise from both colleges to enhance quality and the student experience. The merger prompted the need for a strategic review of the colleges’ existing software systems.

Natalie Ferer, Head of Finance at South Thames College, says, “South Thames and Merton Colleges had been using two different finance systems. When we merged, the decision was taken to use the same finance system across both colleges to streamline processes and enable financial visibility. We also identified that cost savings could be achieved through the use of a single finance system and by cutting stationery, postage and document storage costs.”

Ferer continues, “On reviewing both systems, we recognised the superiority of the Advanced Business Solutions FMS as it demonstrated ease-of-use and the ability to integrate with our other software solutions. We also recognised the quality of the ABS support team.”

ABS’s system has automated procurement across the college and will be providing total spend visibility. As the finance team no longer needs to carry-out time consuming administration such as data entry, more focus can be given to value-adding activities. Departmental managers now have more control over the ordering process. Orders and invoices are also authorised more efficiently and goods received more promptly.

Ferer comments, “Our college-wide procurement solution makes it easy for staff to correctly order goods and services, providing us with total visibility of spend and improved financial control whilst minimising the risk of maverick spending.”

As all purchase invoices are being scanned and electronically stored (using Version One’s technology) and then matched against the order using the electronic procurement functionality, this is further streamlining purchase-to-pay efficiency, eliminating lost invoices whilst freeing-up space that’s being used to store paper documents. The workflow solution will further automate a number of paper-based finance processes, such as cheque payment requests, expense claim submissions, sales invoice requests, internal recharges and new supplier requests.

Ferer says, “Paper invoices are no longer getting lost during the invoice approval process and the time taken to process an invoice will be greatly reduced. Moving forward, we plan to go as paperless as possible in the finance function.”

With the integrated business intelligence solution, there will be a more collaborative approach to budgeting. Budget managers will soon be able to directly view and interrogate budgetary information in real-time rather than have to rely on static month-end budget reports from the finance team. With this collaborative approach, the finance team will be able to spend more time actively supporting budget managers and other staff involved in financial management, further improving the budgeting process.

Once workflow is live in October 2010, South Thames College will consider implementing ABS’s budgeting and forecasting system to further streamline efficiency in the finance department.


Notes to Editors:

About South Thames College (incorporating Merton College)

South Thames College offers a wide variety of full and part-time vocational and higher education courses. Some of its courses are so popular they are regularly oversubscribed. In 2009, over 21,000 students chose to study at South Thames College on more than 2,000 different courses at its centres situated across South West London.

South Thames College is currently in the final phase of a substantial transformation of its Wandsworth campus which is costing more than £100 million.

About Advanced Business Solutions

Advanced Business Solutions (ABS), formerly COA Solutions, provides leading integrated business applications and services that enable public, private and third sector organisations to retain control, improve visibility and gain efficiencies whilst continually improving corporate performance. ABS prides itself on getting close to its customers by understanding their businesses and responding to their evolving needs.

ABS's software systems comprise core financial management, procurement, human resource and payroll systems, integrated with a range of collaborative, document management and business intelligence solutions to extend the value and effectiveness of the finance, human resource and payroll departments, which can also be delivered as a managed or bureau service option.

Customers come from both public and private sectors and include Companies House, Newcastle City Council, WH Smith, Royal Bank of Scotland, Aer Lingus, National Express Group, DFS, RSPB and Great Ormond Street Hospital for Children NHS Trust.

Advanced Business Solutions is a division of Advanced Computer Software Group plc, a leading supplier of software and IT services to the health, care and commercial sectors.

About Advanced Computer Software Group plc
Advanced Computer Software Group plc (Advanced) is the leading supplier of high quality products and services to enable first-class delivery of care in the community. Advanced's portfolio comprises:

- IT management and analytics systems for out-of-hospital care covering urgent and unplanned care, district nursing, hospices, residential care homes, telehealth, end-of-life and long-term condition management; and
-Mobile information systems for community carers.

Advanced also delivers back-office systems for NHS trusts, local authorities and care providers and is further strengthening its position in the health checks and pharmacy services markets. Working with partners in the NHS, local government and the private sector, Advanced delivers IT in support of safe and efficient care delivery and greater information for both the commissioner and care provider. The company's unique proposition is the breadth of integrated health and care solutions from patient-facing IT systems through to back-end operational systems and services.

Advanced is also a leading supplier of software and IT services to the commercial sector. This part of the business underpins growth whilst providing opportunities for cross-marketing of products and IT services.


Liz Ebbrell, Advanced Business Solutions
+44(0)1625 856505 or 07917 634 705

Ben Carey, Advanced Business Solutions
+44 (0)1625 856505

This press release was distributed by ResponseSource Press Release Wire on behalf of Advanced in the following categories: Business & Finance, Education & Human Resources, for more information visit