24th July 2020 | 5 min read

Investing for growth

An updated solution set up at scale. 

We spoke to Chris Hatton, Financial Director for Fieldway Group about how moving from Sage 50 to Sage 200 will provide better insight and reporting to stakeholders, and support business growth in future years.


Fieldway Group provides services for social housing, predominantly in three main areas: electrical installs and services; passive fire – preventative services like ensuring doors are fireproof; and active fire, which includes alarm and sprinkler services. Originally a buyer-merchant, the business developed its electrical services offer quite substantially in the years after 1999, when they were first established.

  • Improving business performance

Moving from being an owner-managed business to investor-led (by PE company, Foresight) in October 2018, meant Fieldway Group needed to improve their financial reporting and planning. When Chris Hatton joined as Financial Director at the start of 2020, he was tasked with finding how to get more detailed information in front of stakeholders, so they can improve business performance and monitor contracts.

“ Currently we have limited business information to analyse and evaluate performance, with significant manual intervention throughout our processes. This investment will reduce our manual processing and improve reporting within the business.”

With the experience of using Sage 200 previously, Chris immediately thought that the most efficient way of improving reporting and getting the right information out was to upgrade from Sage 50 to Sage 200. Continuing with Sage 50 would have been a user-heavy solution, with Chris needing to employ additional staff to input and export data in response to director requirements.

  • Easy decisions

The decision to partner with Datel came quickly too – once Fieldway had reached out to Sage about the Sage 200 system, Datel was recommended and with previous experience also of working with Datel, Chris was certain he had the ideal solution.

“Datel is a good, credible business to work with and we know it can provide us with what we need. Also, we know we’ll get aftercare support and ongoing service.”

Fieldway were comfortable with investing so they could get the information they needed to take business growth forward, and Chris is confident that Sage 200 will be able to do this, with scoping underway now.

Key to the implementation of the new system is the involvement of all users from the development team at Fieldway so everyone has an idea of the bigger picture and understands why the data they are inputting is so important. It’s going well so far with the team on board, providing honest feedback and Chris just about to read the debriefs from the DTRs.

  • Onwards and upwards

It’s all on track for implementation to be complete by the end of September so that improved reporting can start from 1 October 2020, the start of the second half of the financial year. And, as with all good change management plans, Fieldway are looking to continue their investment in systems development to underpin growth. With employee numbers up to 57 currently, from 45 this time last year and turnover set to be £6.6million this year, the business is definitely on the up.

 “We’ve invested in systems and technology to be scalable – when we look at our overheads now and the structure of the business with systems, people and management, this is scaled up to £10-15million turnover, so we can manage the growth we are expecting ahead of us.”