Southern Housing Group, one of Southern England’s largest housing associations, owns and manages 28,000 homes for over 67,000 residents.

As a large housing group, the use of a Procurement System provides Southern Housing Group with a considerable amount of information. However, the issue has always been obtaining buy-in from all the people across the organisation in order to ensure that the information collated is complete and accurate. The difficulties in achieving buy-in were mainly:
• Not understanding the financial information that it gives the company
• Varying degrees of IT skills
• Perception that ‘it’s not my job
• It’s a time consuming process
• Lack of knowledge regarding the information required.

Orchard worked with the Group to resolve the situation and together they rolled out the OpenAccounts eFinance web and workflow solution. It enabled the organisation to completely define the screens, ensuring the end user was only asked to input the information they needed to which was then sent around clearly defined workflows for approval and automatically posted into OpenAccounts Ledgers. This method ensured that end users immediately saw a big difference and found it simple and easy to use, with automatic notifications to inform people that they had work to authorise.

"We now have all but two departments using the system and one of those has recently approached us asking to take it on. Within Finance we feel like there is much greater control over the process now. We know exactly where an invoice is in the payment process and job satisfaction has increased within the department."

Corinne Yates, Assistant Systems Accountant, Southern Housing Group