Housing specialists Places for People are pushing ahead in 2020As one of the largest property management, leisure, development, and regeneration companies in the UK, we are pleased to form part of their impressive finance function. AccessPay has worked with the team to support their ever-changing requirements as the business, which has assets in excess of £3bn, continues to expand. Their latest 2020 project is to streamline the approval of various subsidiaries in a single payment run, by using their Bacs Approved Bureau status. Sarah Lynch is the AR & AP Implementation and Strategy Lead for Places for People. Her role covers accounts payable and accounts receivable.
But let’s look back at the journey so far…
“We are currently on a new journey with AccessPay, and we are looking forward to working together again.” Sarah Lynch, Implementation & Strategy Lead, Places for People
A finance system no longer ‘fit for purpose’Places for People started their automation journey back in 2014, getting ahead of the curve. With legacy finance processes creaking, it was time to invest in a new Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) system.
“The reason we implemented a new ERP system was that our old finance system was no longer fit for purpose, Places for People had grown so much as an organisation, that the current system we were operating didn’t fit for us anymore.
We wanted to move to a more streamlined, digital way of working and bringing in a top ERP system was the way to go.” Sarah Lynch, Implementation & Strategy Lead, Places for People
Streamlining 60,000+ monthly Bacs paymentsPlaces for People have always used Bacs to make supplier and payroll payment runs and to process direct debit rent collections from tenants. But in 2018, Places for People moved to AccessPay as they wanted a cloud-based solution with scope for improvements by way of a Bacs Bureau. With more than 60,000 transactions to process each month, they went in search of a new way of working. AccessPay offered system-based approval steps which allowed Places for People to remove the need for paper sign–off across the group. Our fully integrated, cloud-based solution enables Places for People to distribute wages, allowing the staff to continue their fantastic work in the UK housing sector. Thanks to our platform’s capability, the parent group will soon be able to make and schedule payments across multiple subsidiaries in one swift payment run.
“We had used a couple of different systems in the past but we’re currently using AccessPay and that’s been a big step forward for us.” Sarah Lynch, Implementation & Strategy Lead, Places for People
Growing as a Bacs Approved BureauThe great functionality of AccessPay soon led the property firm to re-invest in our services. Supporting Places for People’s growth plans we were able to help two of their additional subsidiaries in 2020, Touchstone and Derwent Living. This makes it incredibly easy to support ever–changing business requirements.
Now the group, who turnover in excess of £827m (2019), have upgraded the platform to utilise their Bacs Approved Bureau status and find increased efficiency, thanks again to AccessPay. Our team have added extra functionality to their platform to allow for a single payment run across all subsidiaries. This will reduce a 300-step process down to 10, quite the time-saver. So instead of running 30 payments each week (which involves a 10-step process) it will simply run once with the same result.
“Places for People are leading the change within their sector. They are a great example of how a housing association may be a not-for-profit organisation but can work as advanced and automated as any other large corporate property developer and manager.” Craig Watson, Account Manager, AccessPay
“It was very time consuming and labour intensive. Part of our ongoing goal is to make efficiencies, to get better and to use technology better. That’s what we’re looking at right now with AccessPay. Hopefully we’re in the final stages of testing and it will make a massive difference to the accounts payable team.” Sarah Lynch, Implementation & Strategy Lead, Places for PeopleThe finance leader also spoke of how useful the platform is for remote access, which is paramount in the current working from home client.