Shoreline Housing Partnership (SHP), a registered charity, initially went live with its financial management system OpenAccounts in 2005 following a stock transfer. With a planned merger with Boston Mayflower in the offing, a need existed to review how OpenAccounts may be fit for purpose in the new merged structure and what additional solutions could help in the short term.

Until such time, Orchard has been tasked with identifying areas for improvement that will help SHP in the use of their OpenAccounts software deployment and to build a solution that will become a cornerstone for the new organisation formed from the merger. Boston Mayflower also currently use OpenAccounts as their finance system.

One such area for improvement identified by Orchard has been the immediate initiation of a project to implement a new Chart of Accounts (CoA) and the formation of a new company. This includes modular reviews for all operation modules in use and a review of those available but not currently being used. The projected timescale for go live of the new company is the new FY, 1st April 2018.

As Chart of Accounts is the cornerstone of any back office system, it should underpin effective reporting and financial analysis. However, in its current condition, Orchard identified that it will not be effective at SHP or for the new merged organisation, going forward. Indeed, with the current CoA now 12 years old, reporting and processing is being hampered by the way in which it was initially set up; it is running out of codes, the use of analysis codes is unknown, as is the use of hierarchies, plus the Project Ledger is under utilised and not being used for its intended purpose.

The new Chart of Accounts implementation will ensure efficiencies moving forward.

Shoreline Housing Partnership are the largest provider of affordable housing across North East Lincolnshire, owning and managing nearly 9000 homes. The merger with Boston Mayflower will increase the stock to around 12,000 properties.