Bedford Hospital NHS Trust has gone live with Collaborative Planning, a budgeting and forecasting system from COA Solutions, to improve reporting efficiency and aid service-line reporting. This system, which is currently being rolled-out to 80 budget holders across the Trust, is providing Bedford Hospital with significant cost and time savings as well as increased financial transparency and accountability.
Collaborative Planning enables the creation and real-time monitoring of financial plans and forecasts. This web-based system, which is tightly integrated into Bedford Hospital’s existing COA Solutions eFinancials and eProcurement financial management systems, makes it quick and easy to input and analyse financial information and produce reports, eliminating time-consuming manual processes and the consolidation of spreadsheets.
Richard Mellor, Financial Controller at Bedford Hospital NHS Trust, says, “Having enjoyed significant time and cost savings since implementing COA Solutions’ eFinancials and eProcurement systems, we were confident that Collaborative Planning would deliver us additional operational benefits.”
Mellor continues, “The production of our reports used to be very labour intensive and involved printing out reams of paper and distributing them via the internal post. Collaborative Planning has eliminated these time-consuming manual processes by making financial information available on authorised staff’s PCs as soon as the reports are released.”
The system is also enabling managers to drill down to code level and see the current period’s transaction detail as and when required, rather than having to request a report from management accountants. This is reducing time spent on menial administrative tasks.
Historically, Bedford NHS’s financial forecasting was done by management accountants with the aid of spreadsheets. These figures would take up to a day to consolidate and would then be analysed and approved by a senior management accountant. With Collaborative Planning, financial information is quickly extracted, consolidated and communicated to authorised users, considerably improving efficiency.
Mellor explains, “Time previously spent consolidating forecasts has been eliminated thanks to Collaborative Planning. This is saving each management accountant one day per month, delivering an immediate cost saving whilst freeing-up time which can be used for more value-adding activities.”
Collaborative Planning is providing the Trust’s senior managers with greater control and ownership so that they have a more accurate and real-time view of budgets and forecasted spend. The Trust is also looking to provide service-line reports to managers via Collaborative Planning. Service-line reports are currently produced within the finance system as part of the monthly reporting cycle. Using Collaborative Planning, managers will be able to see more detail than is available on the hospital’s existing reports.
Collaborative Planning is also being used for budget setting, with final authorised budgets being loaded directly into the eFinancials general ledger. Mellor says, “Budget holders and finance can see at any point in time the status of budgets and add comments or amend forecasts in real-time. Collaborative Planning stores this information, tracks the changes and feeds this back into our eFinancials system bringing greater transparency and knowledge to the budget setting process.”
COA Solutions (formerly CedarOpenAccounts) 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.
About Bedford Hospital NHS Trust
Bedford Hospital NHS Trust provides a wide range of acute hospital services to its local community. It is one of several Hospital Trusts under the auspices of the East of England Strategic Health Authority. With a budget of £120m per annum the hospital provides services on an outpatient, day or inpatient basis. A number of specialties are carried out in partnership with other hospitals and we also work closely with hospital tertiary centres.
Bedford Hospital NHS Trust has earned a reputation for the high quality of its clinical and non-clinical services and has been named as one of the ‘top 40’ hospitals for several successive years by an independent data analyst CHKS.
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