SB Digital Case Study

Suffolk Family Carers

The client is an independent charity and a network partner of Carers Trust.

Its primary purpose is to bring information, options and choices to family carers in Suffolk as well as raising awareness, advocating for and advancing the cause of family carers. One of their key aims is to ensure that there continues to be provision of valuable and accessible services for family carers, utilising new technological solutions as well as more traditional routes of support.

“The expert advice provided by Scrutton Bland has been excellent, the advisers knowledge of the products and how to tailor them for our charity needs has been clear and helpful.”

Caroline Dickinson,
Head of Finance, Suffolk Family Carers

Key challenges

The charity’s finance system was on old software and heavily Excel-based, requiring them to do a substantial amount of manual keying. They were keen to automate more of their financial management systems where possible.

They also needed to use software that enabled them to work flexibly and from home with minimal supervision and support.

The charity was also keen to streamline their systems for expenditure approval and management, whilst retaining control and structure, and for payroll to be automated in order to reduce the more mundane and time-consuming aspects of these tasks.

Although there were already financial reporting systems in place, these were laborious, and the charity wanted to explore more advanced reporting options and to see what the latest software could do for them.

Finally, they were interested in charity-specific management software which could, for example, automate the process of recouping gift aid from donations.

What we did to help

The SBDigital team researched and then presented an integrated solution based around the needs and wishes of Suffolk Family Carers’ directors and managers.

Firstly, the finance management system was transferred to Xero, which is a more sophisticated and flexible cloud-based system than the one they were previously using.

The apps ApprovalMax and Xero Receipt Bank were then installed, enabling all staff to access a fully digital expenditure management system and allowing for automation of most of the end of quarter reporting.

It was recommended that the payroll process was moved to Xero payroll which would enable an automated posting of departmental and project figures into the finance software, rather than manually keying the data in every month.

Scrutton Bland then sourced an advanced reporting software package (Fathom) together with a charity-specific management tool (Infoodle), which streamlines the donation process to automatically recoup GiftAid.

The client initially took up the finance and expenditure management solutions, with advanced reporting, charity management and payroll to be explored once the new system was embedded.

Our support services

Fact Find
We carried out an in-depth factfinding mission into the requirements and wishes of the client.

We analysed and provided perspective on the root causes of issues that were identified in our audit findings to help corrective action to be taken.

Roll out
We assisted Suffolk Family Carers in staggering the roll out of the new systems so that everyone had a chance to become comfortable with them and weren’t faced with an abrupt cliff edge transition.

We worked with Suffolk Family Carers to train and support staff on new systems, and in particular to ensure that staff could be trained and operate the new software as they worked from home during 2020 as the Covid-19 situation prevented them from operating in their normal office environments.

We helped to provide an enhanced reporting facility, with several former manual processes being automated and simplified – such as expenses approval through ApprovalMax, thus freeing up staff resource to work on other operational areas.

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