Building services company Bilby Plc has chosen Strategic Sage Business Partner Datel to implement Sage 200 to support its business growth. The company serves local authorities, housing associations and domestic customers in London and South East England, providing general building, gas maintenance and electrical services to over 200,000 properties.
From Bilby’s head office in Sidcup, Group Finance Director Katie O’Reilly explains why the company sought a single, unified, business-wide system, “Our strategy is to grow organically and by acquisition. We’re a forward-looking business and are keen to be proactive in creating a solid, scalable and futureproof platform for accounting and reporting that will grow with us and stand the test of time.”
The company is a long-standing user of Sage accounting software, including Sage 50, and this familiarity will ease adoption of the new system: “We have been using a mix of Sage software and other solutions but, as we grow, it makes sound business sense to have a single central system that all finance and operations teams in existing and acquired companies can use. We were comfortable staying within the Sage fold and were impressed by Datel’s demonstration of what a larger system than we’ve been accustomed to has to offer our growing business.”
Katie joined Bilby at the start of the year: “One of my key responsibilities was to review and enhance our existing systems, processes and controls ready for further growth. We need to deliver accurate, timely reporting to the market and to our internal management teams. With the number of inter-company transactions growing, as entities fulfil elements of one another’s larger contracts, it was timely to take stock, look at how the different entities work together and identify a solution that would support all parts of the group now and in the future.”
Looking ahead, Katie says, “I’m expecting to gain greater transparency and visibility across our whole business by consolidating onto Sage 200. With clean lines of reporting and all entities reporting consistently to a shared chart of accounts, we will be able to continue to uncover opportunities for economies of scale, where we can make savings by flexing our purchasing power. It makes sense to have everyone working in unison to a unified chart of accounts, with no mixing of apples and pears."
There was another compelling reason for moving up through the Sage range: the operational software used and being rolled out across the group for essential activities such as scheduling engineers, capturing costs and preparing sales invoices can be integrated with Sage 200. Data entered into the housing repairs software will flow into Sage 200.
Katie says, “Dovetailing the two systems together and bringing everything within the same framework and structure will generate great efficiencies, removing ata stroke any need to manually retype or reorder data. As well as eliminating time-consuming duplication of effort, we’ll improve accuracy. What’s more, the finance team and the operations team will be able to look at exactly the same information. So, for example, when an invoice is prepared, it will be based on accurate, up-to-date information entered on the operations side of the business.”
It is against this backdrop of unifying operational and accounting systems that Katie feels that Sage 200 was the obvious choice for Bilby: “Sage 200 was so clearly right for us that we did not hesitate to deciding in its favour.”
She also has every confidence in the choice of partner to implement and support the technology: “Datel quickly grasped what we needed and made it easy to explore and understand fully what the software can do for us. With Datel being the main UK Sage partner for larger organisations such as ourselves, we know we will receive every support to achieve a smooth, successful implementation. They have already worked hard to move the project forward.”
Bilby and Datel have already started work on the implementation. Bilby has opted for a staged implementation: phase 1 will be a fast-track implementation for Purdy Contracts, a subsidiary, based in north London. Rollout across the rest of the business will then follow.
For Datel, Sales & Marketing Director Jo Fulton comments: “We are delighted that Bilby Plc has chosen Datel to support its ambitions and help create a completely joined-up business. We have already conducted workshops with the Bilby project team to scope out the project and understand in depth exactly what the business and its users need. We are looking forward to helping the company to create a tried and tested framework for integration and growth.”