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v was launched in May 2006 as the result of the Russell Commission Report, A National Framework for Youth Action and Engagement.
An independent charity that aims to inspire a new generation of volunteers, v endeavours to create a culture where volunteering comes naturally - and where the benefits of volunteering are understood and celebrated. This is achieved through funding and supporting voluntary organisations all over England to create inspiring and diverse opportunities.
Why Infor SunSystems was the right solution for v
As a start up organisation, the team at v set about getting operating systems in place. Ian Threadgold, Interim Finance Manager at the Russell Commission selected SunSystems from a shortlist of three financial accounting solutions.
A multi-dimensional ledger was absolutely vital for Ian’s initial requirements, as was the ability to easily import and export data to Microsoft Excel. v has a stand alone grant management database that generates information as to which grant instalments are to be paid each week. This information can be moved via Microsoft Excel from the electronic banking system and into SunSystems as appropriate.
Neil Goulder was subsequently appointed Director of Finance at v. There was certain functionality that he required of a financial accounting system: SunSystems was suitable for his requirements and the enhancements he wanted to implement to the finance function.
For example, Neil needed a third dimension to the Nominal Ledger, a Project Ledger, so allocated one of the dimensions to the grant that is paying for the cost. Some grants fund more than one cost centre, so there was a requirement for functionality to complement cost centre structure and enable him to report to funders how each grant had been spent.
With the enhancements created through Vision, SunSystems is performing better than ever. The tight integration between SunSystems and Microsoft Excel enables the finance team at v to benefit from having all the accounting information they need at their fingertips quickly and easily.
The ability to review actual costs against budget in detail, within each grant and within each cost centre is a benefit to the entire organisation.
For the first three years of operation v, a £50m a year charity, was being run with just two members in the finance team using SunSystems. A third member of the team then joined and it was around this time that an upgrade of SunSystems was considered. Neil also started looking into integrating a document image library and the Kontrolla solution.
v recently upgraded from version 5.2 to 5.4 as the team were keen on some of the new functions available in the upgrade, such as favourites and the tabbed interface. Their feedback is that the new version is even more user friendly and the enhanced functionality is proving useful.
Neil said he would recommend SunSystems “for its extremely powerful analysis capabilities. It is also easy enough to use – I haven’t had any formal training.
He also suggests making extensive use of the import functionality from Excel, “it can cut down effort to enter purchase invoices by about 75%.”
Working with Sapphire
As an implementation partner with considerable experience of working with charities, Sapphire was chosen by Ian for the team’s expertise and understanding of the not for profit sector.
Neil has not been disappointed with this, saying “Dealing with Sapphire is very easy, in particular the Technical Team and our Account Manager are all very friendly. The Support Team is very good: it responds quickly and knows the answers to the questions I have posed.”
He went on to conclude “The service we receive from Sapphire is very good and is to be recommended. The Support webinars and the seminars briefing customers on new developments are particularly useful.”
Media contact: Rachel Unicomb +44 (0)20 7648 2008 Rachel.Unicomb@sapphiresystems.com