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.