Codestone Case Study: Integrated Financial Management for Suffolk’s Libraries

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Suffolk Libraries is a not-for-profit, independent and charitable organisation that runs 44 libraries for the benefit of the people of Suffolk. Although it had become a separate legal entity in 2012, Suffolk County Council continued to run the HR and Finance functions. With all the accounting information for each library still held centrally, Suffolk Libraries had to apply to the council to change the financial records each month.  Without day-to-day access to its financial data, Suffolk Libraries was not able to run its management accounts as efficiently as it wanted to.

Procurement for library staff also needed streamlining. Staff currently had to email requests for purchase orders to be raised. Suffolk Libraries did not have an automated procurement process and it was not straightforward to find out when goods were received and then manually match the purchase invoice with the purchase order.  “We needed to take control of our own data and accounting systems and empower our library staff with self-service procurement to increase efficiency and save time and costs,” says Mandy Wilkinson, Head of Finances and Resources, Suffolk Libraries.

Achieving a centralised view of financial data

Codestone implemented SAP Business ByDesign for its capability to manage financial data and in-depth analytics across multiple operating library units, streamlining Suffolk Libraries’ core accounting processes and providing a centralised view of its financial condition.

Data duplication is managed automatically on a batch basis, easily interfacing across different systems including cash tills. The shopping cart also enables each local library to use a very simple screen to create their own shopping list and raise a purchase order directly. The back-office team can then easily see when goods have been received and match invoices with purchase orders.

The interface is modern and simple to use and library staff who are not accountancy trained can easily access data and achieve what they need to do. Because it’s built for growth, SAP Business ByDesign will scale to support future activities for income generation including fund raising and more customer-focused projects, as well as enabling Suffolk Libraries to adapt to new digital-based opportunities and markets.

Mandy explains, “We looked at a number of other systems including Sage and Oracle but SAP Business ByDesign met our needs for financial management accounting and procurement. It’s also modular and quick to implement, and Codestone got us up and running rapidly and efficiently”.

Self-service drives efficiency gains

Suffolk Libraries has made considerable efficiency gains as each library increases its self-service processes and as a result, only a small back office is now required. Self-service procurement via the system provides full visibility of what has been ordered and delivered, which also saves time because there is less manual chasing of goods.

Library staff have greatly benefited from the intuitive, adaptive and menus-based system and staff without accountancy skills can easily do what they need to do such as analytics and reporting. In addition, the Finance team can pull data directly into monthly reports for instant updates which is reducing errors, compared to a push system of downloading CSV sheets.

Suffolk Libraries are achieving enhanced value from this cost effective and modular solution which is agile enough to adapt to new opportunities.  “Codestone provided us with lots of technical advice on best practice and has facilitated our third parties to ensure purchase orders and invoices are uploaded efficiently. SAP Business ByDesign can grow with us and support our future projects,” notes Mandy.

About Codestone

Codestone is a multi-award-winning business applications and cloud services company, focused on SAP’s Business One and Busines ByDesign products, complementary applications and managed hosting services. The business recently won SAP’s award for best B1 and BYD partner in Northern EMEA for the third year running. The company is focused on helping customers gain the maximum from these business applications, taking the time to understand specific needs and to deliver their desired outcomes.