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Advanced's software supports Companies House and IPO to save £1.5m

05/01/2016 minute read Gordon Wilson

Shared finance and budgeting system used to process over 10 million transactions per annum

Companies House, the Government agency for incorporating and dissolving limited companies, and the Intellectual Property Office (IPO), the body responsible for intellectual property rights, will save £1.5 million supported by a shared finance system from Advanced Business Solutions (Advanced).

Both organisations are benefiting from the efficiencies of using the same finance solution, e5, integrated with budget and forecasting solution Collaborative Planning. Sharing the applications across both agencies facilitated a shared Financial Director role which also contributed to the cost saving, alongside the move from third-party hosting to in-house.

Due to the similarity in nature of the two organisations and the success Companies House, based in Cardiff, had seen from Advanced’s technology, it was decided to reproduce the system at the IPO. The IPO, based in Newport, implemented the solutions when its previous finance software reached the end of its support.

e5 is used by around 200 staff at Companies House to process 10 million transactions every year. The solution is also used to produce management reports, process invoices and automatically alerts users when a fee is due. The IPO has been using the software since June 2015, and it is currently used by more than 50 staff to manage 100,000 transactions.

Financial information from e5 feeds directly into Collaborative Planning, enabling budgets, forecasts, and monthly cost-centre reports to be produced quickly using real-time data. Reports can be emailed to cost centre managers from the solution without manual intervention by finance staff. Companies House has reduced its month-end reporting from seven days to three days by using the software.

Neil Hartley, Financial Director at IPO and Companies House, says, "There is a clear focus within Government on working collaboratively to drive efficiencies. Due to the unique nature of the IPO and Companies House in having a large accounts receivable function, moving to the existing shared service framework used by other agencies within our department was not an option.

"By replicating a system that we had tried and tested and knew to be user-friendly, responsive and successful, we could fulfil the joint working strategy and be confident that the benefits would also be mirrored across both agencies."

Due to the existing infrastructure for running the system and the existing pool of knowledge and experience of Companies House users, the software was rolled out at the IPO in under six months.

Hartley adds, "The shared system approach using Advanced’s software was by far the best value for money option that met all our requirements while enabling us to fulfil the wider Government collaboration strategy.

"It has delivered significant cost savings and is now identified as an example of best practice within the department. It is a future-proof system that will support us to work as effectively as possible to protect frontline services."