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University of Aberdeen Expels Excel Spreadsheets in Favour of COA Solutions’ Collaborative Planning

The University of Aberdeen is implementing a budgeting and forecasting system from COA Solutions ( in place of Excel spreadsheets, improving budgeting efficiency whilst maintaining control over costs. This Collaborative Planning solution, which will be tightly integrated into the University’s existing COA Solutions financial management system, will be implemented alongside COA Solutions’ cash flow forecasting solution with a planned go-live of November 2009.

Sue Richardson, Head of Financial Planning and Budgeting at the University of Aberdeen, says, “We currently maintain our budgeting and forecasting information on Excel spreadsheets which is time-consuming and restrictive, especially when we need to analyse the data; a more integrated approach will help us to forecast more effectively.”

COA Solutions’ Collaborative Planning was chosen following an evaluation of a number of software systems. Richardson says, “We selected COA Solution’ Collaborative Planning software because it is accredited by the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales, tightly integrates into our existing COA Solutions financial management system and could fulfil all our budgeting and forecasting needs.”

Collaborative Planning will provide authorised finance staff at the University of Aberdeen with the ability to easily create and update budgets and forecasts and report on these budgets in real-time. It will also help the University to more effectively manage cashflow, improve its ability to monitor payroll costs (which account for approximately 60% of the University’s total costs) and enhance variance analysis.

Richardson comments, “Collaborative Planning will save us significant amounts of time by eliminating the time-consuming production and consolidation of disjointed Excel spreadsheets, enabling the finance team to concentrate on more value-added activities.”

Richardson continues, “The system will also enable us to more accurately forecast spend, provide us with a clearer link between actuals, forecasts and budgets and allow us to interrogate this information in greater detail whilst helping us to remain on target.”

The addition of COA Solutions’ cash flow forecasting solution which is being implemented at the same time as Collaborative Planning, will support the University with the effective management of cash. With Collaborative Planning and cash flow forecasting used together, the University of Aberdeen is provided with the sophisticated tool set needed to ensure it has relevant information to manage resources effectively.


About The University of Aberdeen

The University of Aberdeen is Scotland's third oldest and the fifth oldest in the UK. Aberdeen is an international university built on serving one of the most dynamic regions of Europe. With over 14,000 students, and over 3000 staff, the University of Aberdeen is at the forefront of teaching and research in medicine, the humanities and sciences.

Picturesque and historic Old Aberdeen - home of Elphinstone's original foundation - is now the main university site, only one mile from the city centre. The 15th century remains very much alive in King's College, offering a sense of history in the daily life of a university now focused on the needs of the new millennium.

About COA Solutions

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. These solutions 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 and 07917 634 705

Ben Carey, COA Solutions
+44 (0)1625 856505