Microsoft Dynamics GP teaches a School financial and business literacy
Opened in January 2004, Alfriston College is an innovative new
State secondary school based in Manurewa, Manukau City.
While students have a richly resourced learning environment, the
school was short on support for its financial processes: Its
Auckland-based accountant moved to Christchurch in early 2004,
putting badly-needed financial information out of reach. The school
wanted this information on tap.
The school's annual budgeting round triggered the search for an
in-house financial solution. Staff were coming up with budgets that
lacked detail or relevance to the way the school actually operated
and this was translating into a lack of suitably specific
information in the reports they received. For instance, the reports
lacked detail on specific types of transactions such as
photocopying, consumables or textbooks, so managers were unable to
spot unusual expenditure patterns or opportunities to
Business manager Bronwyn Guy began the search for a suitable
accounting package. While there are several specialist financial
packages for schools on the market, Bronwyn took the position that
the school's financial operations were similar to a typical
business. "We may have limited funds, but we still have to budget
and keep within our limits, we still purchase products and services
and receive money in," she says.
Bronwyn selected Microsoft Dynamics GP for its usability and
relevance to the school's needs, and engaged Olympic Software to
manage the implementation.
The Alfriston Microsoft Dynamics GP solution, installed in
February 2005, included:
- General Ledger, for efficient transactions, full audit control
and multi- dimensional analysis
- Accounts Payable Management, enabling better vendor management
and automatic reconciliation
- Accounts Receivable Management, for streamlined receipt
processing, and the ability to track and analyse funding
- Fixed Asset Management enabling greater control of inventory
and depreciation, and,
- Microsoft Dynamics GP Bank Reconciliation to automate critical
banking activities and update general ledger accounts.
Bronwyn's first project using Microsoft Dynamics GP was to
verify the soundness of the existing financial picture, discovering
its ability to intelligently manage data input, alert possible
inaccuracies and identify anomalies.
Bronwyn says she found Olympic Software very responsive,
particularly their ability to escalate her occasional urgent
support requests to meet deadlines.
The most obvious change brought about by Microsoft Dynamics GP
is more money in the bank: Without an outsourced accountant,
Alfriston is saving $1000 per month.
Bronwyn has worked closely with heads of department, using the
system to develop their accountability and financial
sophistication. "It gave them an understanding of what it means
when they put together a budget, providing them with a more
accurate budget blueprint and stronger information behind them.
It's been a good learning curve for all of us."
She has set up a finance committee using Microsoft Dynamics GP
reporting capability to direct commercial strategy. The finance
committee is adding value to the school with quality decisions
based on sound information. This is making the school more
economical and able to achieve more with the same resources, and
supporting the growth of its roll and performance
Microsoft Dynamics GP is saving headaches, enabling the school to
keep ahead of creditors' requests, avoid invoice duplication, and
view what departments are spending on different types of
The quality of organisational financial questions has also
improved with the new system as Microsoft Dynamics GP has deepened
the financial and business literacy of the staff. "The commercial
operations have become more real to everyone since Microsoft
Dynamics GP was installed," she says.
- Saving of up to $1000 per month on accounting fees
- Immediate answers to any financially-related question, and
reporting to support most commercial decisions
- A gradual upskilling of the organisation as staff gain
commercial understanding and sophistication
- A greater ability to plan strategic direction based on an
infrastructure of sound financial information
- Reduced stress and frustration as financial processes have been
brought into the organisation, empowering staff and enabling them
to move forward without impediment.
The commercial operations have become more real to everyone since Microsoft Dynamics GP was installed.