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Data warehouse cuts financial reporting time in half

We reduced the time it takes to process essential financial planning templates by 50% and established a data warehouse for financial reporting.

Background
Previously, the financial planning process at Midlands and Lancashire Commissioning Support Unit (MLCSU) involved individual working files for different services. To submit the planning template to NHS England and Improvement (NHSEI), the finance team was required to collate information from 40 different places and then cut this data multiple ways to complete the template. It took two full working weeks of staff time to collate and manipulate the data.

Once the detailed plan was agreed, it had to be uploaded to the ledger for reporting for the full financial year. This required going back to the individual working files and assigning codes based on top-down assumptions. The process used to take approximately 50 hours.

Action
We produced a standard template that automated the coding and categorisation of the costs to support the completion of the NHSEI template and the internal reporting requirements.

We implemented a database and invested resource in developing the reporting. The information was uploaded into a data warehouse, and this allowed it to be easily manipulated and collated to complete NHSEI reporting on time.

As all the data was in one place, it was also easier to create the journals for uploading to the ledger.

Impact

We have streamlined the process for completing the NHSEI planning templates by 50% and invested the time saved in adding value to the data rather than data collection and collation.

The process for uploading the plan to the ledger has also seen efficiencies by reducing the time needed by 75%.  This was driven by having all the data in one place which made it easier to collate, complete the template and identify and resolve discrepancies.

An added benefit of the collated data is support for other decision making processes, which has made the finance team more responsive and allowed them to invest more time in added value activities.

“Investing in the data warehouse and this approach has delivered benefits in the planning process itself and further benefits on how we use this data on an ongoing basis.” 

Lyn Tallentire, Deputy Finance Director, MLCSU