Agreement of Balances Portal

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Hello, 

I want to have a chat to you about Agreement of Balances. 

It’s not the most interesting subject in the world, I know, but it is a process that one way or another effects every NHS finance department across the country.

It takes up a lot of staff time, it’s a very boring process to administer and, as we’ve seen at some cash strapped trusts lately, there’s also a huge assurance headache for Directors of Finance as well – are they really owed the money they think they’re owed?

So let’s think about the size of the problem...

The NHS raises 3.2 million invoices to itself each year. 

As you know they need checking two or three times a year that they all agree to each other. Now I’ve seen some stats, I think they were from NHSE, saying that it’s basically costing us about £32 to process a transaction, in admin costs, banking costs and so on and so forth.

So if you multiply 32 by 3.2 million you get to quite a hefty number.

Now I believe what I’m about to show you is going to go quite a long way to reducing that number. It’ll obviously never go to zero, but I do think what we’ve developed will have a huge effect.

The way were going to do that is with our Agreement of Balances Service.

This is a piece of software that you access over the internet. We give you a username and a password for our secure website. 

You just upload your accounts payable and accounts receivable balances and we do the rest.

There’s no need to install fancy new servers, firewalls or spend hours writing SQL scripts – you literally take a CSV download from your ledger and upload it. That’s it. In fact in most ledger systems, such as Oracle, E-Financials and Integra, there’s a way of automating the process so that you don’t have to do anything at all.

We process daily so if you set things up to let us have your ledger every night when you come in the next morning you’ll have a completely accurate view of your ledger and more importantly where your ledger sits against your counterparts.

You also won’t have to generate statements any more because everything will be there. In fact even if you’re dealing with another NHS, local government or HE organisation that isn’t a member of our Agreement of Balances Service we’ll give them read only access so they can see their balances with you.

As I’m sure you can see this is going to save your financial controller a huge chunk of time and effort – no more endless emails, no more PDFs, no more spreadsheets, no more phone-calls. It will all just be there.

Shall we have a look at the website itself?

Let’s say I’m logged in as trust A.

Trust A have 2 views in the screenshot below – their sales ledger and their purchase ledger.

Let’s have a look at their sales ledger first. If we go into this screen below we can select trust B from the drop down menu there. So now we’re looking at all the outstanding sales invoices trust A holds for trust B.

What’s interesting about this is, as you can see below, we’ve got certain ones that are coloured yellow and what that means is that trust A have raised the invoice, but trust B don’t recognise it on their ledger.

So looking at that one invoice there, it’s not a huge amount, but there are others as well. I think there’s about four or five of them. Now probably in the full course of time they’re just going to be forgotten about and trust A is eventually going to write them off and lose that cash.

That situation is not going to occur when you use our software.

As you can see below, as we get to the very bottom there are ones that are yellow and they will start to go yellow because there’ll be a timing issue at some point. Trust A will have raised the invoices, but trust B won’t have entered them onto their ledger yet.

The other interesting section that you can see in the screenshot above is called 'invoices'. This is where trust B has done something to trust A’s invoices in their system. For instance they’ve applied a credit that trust A haven’t authorised.

Let's have a look at trust A’s purchase ledger in the screenshot below. We can see all the invoices we’ve received from trust B. 

As we go through the purchase ledger in the screenshot below we can see there are amounts highlighted in red. And what this means is there’s a difference between what trust B have got on their sales ledger and what trust A have got on their purchase ledger.

And I think this really is the biggest benefit of the software here because if I click on the box at the side of that invoice in the screenshot below and click on ‘reconcile’ it takes me to another screen where I can see the invoice and the disputed amount, and also here it gives me the chance to comment, in real time.

So trust A’s financial controller can leave a comment and trust B’s financial controller can comment back, all within the software, as you can see below. And that, in itself, is going to hugely speed up the amount of time and effort expended on the agreement of balances process. It also gives you a full audit trail, all stored in one place.

And that’s it really. 

It’s simply a portal that allows NHS organisations to share their views of each other’s ledgers. And it’s all done in an automated way that’s just happening in the background as your financial accounts team gets on with their day-to-day work.

Now if you’re interested in the technology side it’s basically all done through an STP transfer and we also use something called ETL. It’s quite whizzy. But it’s on a secure server and you can only see your information. By which I mean you can’t go snooping around trying to find out what trust B owes CCG C and so on  : )

Now there’s one more aspect that’s going to allow a lot of Directors of Finance to sleep more soundly at night.

What I’ve shown you so far is the operational view of your ledgers, to be used by your troops in the trenches.

We’ll also give each Director of Finance a QlikView dashboard on their PC or laptop.  That's it in the screenshot below.

And he or she can see, at any time, a very high level view of what is going on with their cash position. They can see immediately who they’re in agreement with and who they’re not.

You can also take a view on how well your financial controller is managing your ledger without having to go into your ledger and ferret around, running reports and drilling down. It’s all there on a dashboard in front of you.

And that’s it in a nutshell.

I believe this service has the potential to have a transformational effect on NHS financial accounts teams across the country.

The cost is £6,500 per year. Quite apart from the time saved, you’ll save far more than that on the invoices you actually get paid for that you might otherwise have written off. 

The software essentially pays for itself.

But I don’t want your money just yet.

I’m so convinced that you’re going to love this that I’d like you to try before you buy.

In fact you’ll be doing me a favour. This is a classic win win situation: you get to see how awesome it is and I get to test the resilience of our server.

So if you’d like a completely free, no obligation trial of the service please just email me. 

I’m at:

[email protected]

When you send me the email just pop the word ‘yes’ in the subject line and I’ll get everything else done for you. 

It literally takes two minutes and forty seconds to get you set up. We just need your ledger balances really... 

Thank you for reading and I do hope you get in touch.

Best wishes,

James Wilson

Head of Customer Happiness, 

Agreement Of Balances Portal

100% Satisfaction Guarantee

I'm convinced that if you give our software a try you and your team are going to love it so please have a good play around with it.  If it's not for you you're free to walk away at any time.  We'll only invoice you once you're completely satisfied with it.

P.S. if you're too lazy to email me, just fill in the form below : )

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