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 Challenge

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 economise.

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 Solution

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 activity
  • 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.

Implementation

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 Results

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 expectations.

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 supplies.

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.

Highlights

  • 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.

SUCCESS STORY

Opening Quotes

The commercial operations have become more real to everyone since Microsoft Dynamics GP was installed.

Closing Quotes

Bronwyn Guy

Business Manager