Transitioning to a cloud accounting platform can seem daunting, but the benefits can be transformative for a business. Lauren Hayden, Associate Manager in Hazlewoods Business Solutions team, explains how she guided one of her clients through the process.
Active Gloucestershire are a local charity who support the county initiative 'We Can Move', which encourages more physical activity for those impacted by inequalities, with a focus on young children, older adults, disabled people and those with health conditions, as well as those living in areas of high deprivation.
As an existing Hazlewoods audit client, they approached the Business Solutions team once they recognised that their existing accounting software did not meet their specific fund reporting requirements.
What was the process like before Xero?
Tom Beasley, CEO of Active Gloucestershire, explains more.
'’We needed to update our old-fashioned accounting system, whereby only one person had access to our accounts, and reports had to be manually produced and printed off monthly. This led to delays in being able to make quick decisions on allocating budgets to other areas of the charity - this is especially crucial to us as we need to quickly reallocate funds where they can be most effective.''
What specific processes were put in place and why?
''We transitioned Active Gloucestershire over to Xero in 2022'' Lauren explains. ''I ran a thorough training session with the wider team using the 'demo company' function on Xero which all Xero clients have access to – this effectively allows you to manipulate and practice using the platform without using your own data - so that the Senior Management team became confident with the system before going live and were able to internally train the individual fund managers.’'
Hazlewoods Business Solutions team became Active Gloucestershire's own financial outsourcing function, processing bank payments, managing purchase invoices and bank reconciliation, running monthly fund reports and being there for any ongoing day-to-day queries. The reduced financial outlay of having an outsourced finance function is also a significant benefit to the charity at this time whilst they recruit a permanent in-house FD role.
How has moving to Xero helped the team at Active Gloucestershire?
Lauren spent time with Tom and his team to truly understand what was important to them and how they would like to report their data, and built bespoke reports within Xero to reflect what they needed as a charity.
Tom says ''Our eight staff who all run their own budgets now have immediate access to the data, and they can now interrogate and view live reports as and when they need to. Their engagement with the finance aspect of their role is much stronger now that they have been trained on Xero. Using the Journal function they can now see any potential pinch points and can address them immediately rather than waiting for a monthly report.''
''Using an automated, web-based programme also means that our cyber security and resilience is improved. We can now view our 'committed' versus 'actual' spend whereas before we had a three month delay in seeing actual spend from the time of invoicing to the date when funds were leaving our account – this was ineffective and it was then often too late to take any action if needed, either on underspend or overspend.’’
''Hazlewoods are continuing to support us in the interim period whilst we recruit for a full time Financial Director, and will be there to do a thorough hand over of the Xero platform when that occurs. We decided to move our Payroll outsourcing permanently to Hazlewoods as they have the expertise to keep on top of relevant legislation going forward.''
''I can't speak highly enough of Lauren and the wider team at Hazlewoods, they are very responsive with their ongoing support as we continue to understand the benefit of transitioning to Xero.''
For more information on how the Business Solutions team can help, please contact Lauren Hayden at email@example.com or 01242 237 661.