Why Sequence Care Group made the move from Sage 50 to Sage 200

How Sage 200 will help a provider of specialist residential care manage its growing group of care homes

“There’s a lot of time-consuming processes with our current system,” says Sequence Care Group’s Financial Controller, Sue Davis. “We process over 500 invoices per month, meaning we have to do a lot to get it working well within our growing structure and scale.”

This meant that Sequence Care Group - a specialist provider of residential care for adults with learning and physical disabilities throughout London and the South coast - spent large volumes of time ensuring that Sage 50, a financial accounting system designed for smaller businesses, met the group’s growing needs.

To ensure that those needs are met going forward, Sequence Care Group have opted for Sage 200. “The system will allow us to tighten our month-end processes and allow our data to be interrogated in a timely manner allowing for quicker decision making,” Sue says.

“Adopting the software sends a signal to our team that we’re investing in finance. It will allow our finance team to work the way they want to work and will remove duplication of effort and save time and, ultimately, money.”

Scaling up with Sage 200

Since being established in 2013, Sequence Care Group has expanded to include fifteen separate care homes, across two separate legal trading entities. Other companies exist within the Group, meaning that producing a monthly consolidation involved the heavy use of exporting data into Excel spreadsheets and manipulating the data to become meaningful.

“We found that Sage 200 was going to be the best solution for the business,” Sue says. “When you’re talking about a company that’s turning over £12 million per year, we needed the ability to interrogate our data intelligently.”

These interrogation capabilities will allow the group to drive efficiency and more effectively guide growth, as Sage 200 will provide enhanced insight into each entity - intercompany management becomes faster, smarter and simpler.

“Sage 200 ultimately gives us improved data integrity, enhanced information and a better means by which to interrogate that data and information, which is exactly what we needed,” Sue says.

“It’s more suited to multiple companies than Sage 50, so we can easily switch between those companies in Sage 200. Simple things like colour-coded entities will make processes so much easier for intercompany transactions.”

Selecting a system for today - and tomorrow

Before deciding on their new system came the process of system selection. In the case of Sequence Care Group, the functionality of Sage 200 drove that decision - but it wasn’t the only factor.

“Our finance department know Sage. It’s been quite intuitive to use. It’s trusted and familiar,” says Sue. “We did a lot of research around a number of other solutions as a benchmarking exercise and Sage 200 came out on top.”

Within that benchmarking exercise typically comes an assessment of what a business requires both now and in the future, as the group intends to use Sage 200 to guide its growth over time. “We plan to expand, make some acquisitions and continue to build on what we’re doing. Sage 200 is part of that plan. It will make our day-to-day finance lives a lot easier.

“It’s very scalable in terms of what we need it to do. If we have another acquisition or open another home, that should just be a bolt-on. It should be very simple to do in Sage 200.”

To expand the functionality of Sage 200, Sequence Care Group also selected Datel’s Fusion Excel Connect, a complementary product that is also available for Sage 1000 and Sage X3 that instantly transfers spreadsheet data to their Sage system.

“We had to download information into an Excel spreadsheet and manipulate it,” Sue says of the group’s existing processes. “There’s always the risk data isn’t copied correctly.”

Fusion Excel Connect was designed to bring companies’ existing processes into Sage to minimise disruption and improve accuracy. That time can then be invested into managing and improving other processes and procedures more effectively.

Connecting with Datel

Events can also provide a wealth of information, as Sue discovered at Datel’s Connect 2017. Held at Chesford Grange Hotel, Warwick, the event gathered businesses from around the UK to celebrate the achievements of businesses using Sage.

“Connect 2017 was really interesting – there was a lot of information there,” Sue says. “It gave me a really good idea of what could be achieved, and showed me what Datel and Sage could do.”

As part of their system selection process, Sequence Care spent time talking with John Hesketh and Jeremy Cook, Datel’s Pre-Sales and New Business Sales Consultants, “They were prompt and answered every question we had.”

The company also selected Datel due its London-based office, which allows the company to respond to Sequence Care Group’s technical issues, “Datel’s London office was a big comfort to us.”

A Business Partners’ perspective

Datel’s Marketing Director, Emma Pownall, says of Connect: “We host our Connect events to bring together businesses using Sage solutions, as well as businesses on their ERP selection journey. It gives them the opportunity to learn directly from existing users of Sage, and develop an understanding of what a new system can do.”

Jeremy Cook says on Datel’s partnership with Sequence Care Group: “It’s a pleasure to be able to provide a solution to Sequence Care Group to help them manage their intercompany trading and growth. It’s clear that Sage 200 will allow them to effectively manage multiple companies more efficiently."