Two new companies, one Sage solution
Sage Intacct is choice for new Bedfordshire Council venture
7th March 2022
We spoke to Liam McNabola, Company Accountant at Central Bedfordshire Council about their new private venture and how he came to choose Sage Intacct.
To be able to compete on the open market while offering quality and value to their residents, Central Bedfordshire Council has created two limited companies, headed up by the newly created Central Bedfordshire Group. The first, Care is Central, will provide affordable residential care in new carbon neutral buildings. The second, New Vista Homes, is a development company building a mix of quality private and council homes designed to meet local housing needs.
A council creating private companies is not typical, but as Liam explains, the outcome is of huge benefit to the local community. ‘The whole purpose of these companies is to meet local housing needs. We plan to build bungalows, retirement homes, starter homes and return 30 to 35% of that housing stock into local authority council housing, affordable rents, Rent To Buy or shared ownership. So it's actually trying to get local people into homes and onto the property ladder.’
Liam is a Chartered Accountant, previously working in external audit prior to joining CBC. He was tasked with reviewing the business plans for the two new entities, refine them, and put new systems in place. The new entities are ‘wholly owned companies’, yet run by the Central Bedfordshire Council, which introduces various challenges for Liam. ‘The CBC uses SAP, but for these new companies, SAP would not be economically viable. I approached the wider local authority network for advice and conducted my own research resulting in two clear contenders, Sage Intacct and Access Financials.’
Liam then set out to compare the two systems and Sage Intacct became a clearer choice for the companies due to the financial capabilities, speed of delivery and subscription pricing. ‘For the financial package, Sage Intacct and Access Financials were very similar, but Sage’s solution was a clear market leader with integration capability to offer what we needed.’
Partnering with Datel
After speaking to Sage directly, Liam was recommended to work with Datel, who was described as ‘the best partner to work with’, adding; ‘Sage Intacct was emerging as the right product, and Datel put together a good demo of its capabilities. In the end, it was a no-brainer to choose Sage Intacct and partner with Datel.’
Sage Intacct will offer the new business entities a wealth of benefits including remote access, and real-time reporting, which Liam is excited by. ‘Intacct has got a nice flow to it, and you can tailor the flow to the way you want transactions to work. The new companies are two separate entities with different KPI’s in different commercial environments. To be able to tailor reporting dashboards and get detailed and relevant information for each is great. Two different stories can be told in real time, and any problems can be identified and mitigated as soon as they are spotted, rather than waiting for a monthly report.’
There is a typically tight timeline set for this project as their first care contract started on 1st February 2022. Although Liam is largely working on the integration alone, he's confident to be up and running with Intacct within suitable timescales. ‘Resources here are tight. If we had less strict timelines it might be more relaxed and scoping could be longer, but the people I'm dealing with at Datel are flexible and have been signposting me on the way.’