The management of funds and resources grows ever more complex with each passing day, and nowhere are the difficulties more acutely felt than within an education institution.
For these organisations, access to the best possible strategic management systems is vitally important to guarantee the long term quality and quantity of their education delivery. And for the London ““ based St. Charles Catholic Sixth Form College, who manage a turnover of between £5 million and £6 million each year, this has meant the signature of a contract with leading software solution providers Symmetry.
Symmetry are one of the cutting edge providers of software solutions and financial management systems. The company’s core product is known as “Symmetry Financials”, and is a fully integrated financial and management accounting solution. The system is already in use at more than one hundred different companies in the UK, ranging in size from a moderate turnover of £3 million per year to a much larger £250 million per year.
The size of the workforce also varies, ranging from small businesses with only two participants to large organisations with more than 800 employees. The product includes the ability to handle General Ledger, Accounts Payable, Accounts Receivable, Commitment Accounting with purchasing and funds control, Assets, Information Manager, real-time reporting, secure e-procurement and comprehensive systems integration with Symmetry’s EasyLink.
Following Symmetry’s demonstration of the systems” suitability for use by the college, the Director of Finance at St. Charles College, Helen Kalamuiak, explained the quest for a new management system. “We needed to replace our existing system because it was not sufficiently flexible or user-friendly,” she said. “We wanted a system that would enable us to devolve many of the day-to-day finance tasks away from the finance department to individual budget holders and/or department heads. We were also looking to introduce more automation, reduce the volume of paperwork and produce higher quality and clearer, more user-friendly reports for Governors, the Senior Management Team and budget holders.”
She also commented on the benefits for the college in terms of supporting simplified payments, saying: “The system also integrates with the College’s LloydsLink facility allowing us to continue to make payments directly to suppliers using BACs.” She then added: “The solution gave us everything we wanted, with no hidden costs – all the training and initial support was included. Symmetry’s Financials solution will also support the College’s adoption of electronic invoicing and e-procurement. Non-finance staff will be able to order goods and services by accessing the core finance system themselves and they will also be able to take advantage of ordering on-line.”
Funding in Further Education, as in all areas of education and indeed in any public sector, is always going to be drawn from a limited budget. Colleges who fail to implement successful systems for the management of funds risk plunging themselves into the red, and with the ensuing loss of provision and the intention of the Government to offer failing colleges up for private management tender, this is a risk that cannot be afforded.
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