Wednesday, 12 June 2024
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Wednesday, 12 June 2024

Black Country Living Museum enjoyed a ‘massive efficiency boost’ from iplicit

BLACK Country Living Museum needed a finance system that would release staff from resource-heavy manual work and allow them to add more value to the business.

More than a year on, iplicit has delivered a ‘massive’ efficiency boost and is enabling the organisation to grow without increasing the size of the finance team.

About the museum

Black Country Living Museum in Dudley is not only a popular attraction but has been used as a location for television and film productions such as Peaky Blinders and Stan & Ollie.

Sam Davies, Assistant Accountant, who presided over the implementation of iplicit said:

“We’re a 26-acre open-air living museum, which is a mix of reconstructed or translocated shops, houses and industrial areas that represent the Black Country.

“Visitors are encouraged to engage with our historical characters, who tell stories of what it was really like to live and work during the periods depicted.”

Running the finance system for the museum means contending with a fair amount of complexity.

There are two legal entities – a registered charity and a wholly-owned limited company that runs the food and drink outlets and shops. That brings with it the complications of partial VAT.

Sam said:

“We’ve got a small finance team processing sales and purchase ledger invoices and then we’ve got bank reconciliation, journals, month-end management accounts – but we’re also trying to get the wider staff used to doing more of their own admin, so it becomes a bit more self-serve.”

Diane Harvey, Head of Finance, added:

“We had Pegasus Opera, which was an old system that relied on us processing everything manually.

“We had to have manual copies of invoices and it was a very time-consuming system to use. It had been updated over the years but it was still far behind what current systems were able to do.”

Sam added:

“We wanted a system that would automate some of the more manual processes and free up some of our team’s time to add more value.”

Choosing iplicit

Black Country Living Museum enjoyed a ‘massive efficiency boost’ from iplicitSam on the hunt for a new finance system said:

“We needed more than Xero but we didn’t need something like SAP.

“We needed something that could handle the charity accounting – and there weren’t many that could meet those criteria within our budget.”

Diane explained:

“We judged it on the facts. What it could do, how much it was going to cost us and how it felt to use. We got the finance team involved because they would be the main users of the system. It was a very structured process that came out with the right result.”

iplicit’s customer care and support

Sam said:

“The iplicit support team are great.

“They’re very responsive and quick to come back. I’m loving the monthly webinars with Guy Burton (Technical Solutions Consultant) and Andy Clarke (Customer Success Executive). They’re very well thought out and presented and they let you know what’s coming in the next release.”

Diane added:

“All the users from the wider museum, who go in and raise orders or put in expenses, they all seem to feel it’s much more user-friendly and intuitive than the old system.”

Sam added:

“I’ve worked in places that use the big ERP systems. Those organisations were vast and needed a system like that. This one is a really good fit for us – it’s just what we need.”

Return on investment

The museum has seen a ‘massive efficiency boost’ from the move to iplicit.

Diane said:

“We’re growing as a museum but we haven’t changed our team structure.

“If we’d kept with our old system, we might have had to expand the team, because we’re a bigger organisation now, there are more transactions and there is more business going on in our trading units. But we’re able to keep going with the same team and when one of our team retires, we might not have to replace them.

“I think the biggest functionality change is the approval and workflow process at the point of order. In the old system, it was the invoices that were approved. Now it’s the order that’s approved and then it’s over to the finance team to process and make sure we pay the invoices.

“The process can run seamlessly from the initial order to the payment of the invoice.

“The importing of journals is a massive efficiency boost, particularly when the task is so repetitive each month. Previously, I had to manually type in journals, some of which were quite long and complex.”

Sam added:

“Bank reconciliation has been a big win for our finance team. There’s so much more we can automate. We haven’t even scratched the surface yet and there are so many functions still to look at.”

Find out more about how iplicit helps non-profit organisations.


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