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Identifying and providing efficiencies for a mental health trust

Our finance experts helped North Staffordshire Combined Healthcare NHS Trust to find significant savings.

Background
North Staffordshire Combined Healthcare NHS Trust provides a range of mental health services within the Staffordshire area. MLCSU has provided the full range of financial services support for the trust for many years. Our finance experts worked closely with the trust to identify areas where efficiencies and savings could be found and month end closedown achieved sooner.

Action

We looked closely at the areas where we provide the trust with operational support, working within the Integra2 web-based ledger. These are:

  • Treasury Management
  • Accounts Payable
  • Accounts Receivable
  • Financial Management
  • Fixed Assets and Capital Reporting
  • Systems Support

We identified areas where improvements could be made by using automation in the ledger setups, reporting side and management accounting aspects of the service.

A saving was also identified due to duplication of areas of audit.

Impact

We developed numerous system aspects to provide efficiencies (templates for uploads, workflows, invoice authorisation setup, crystal report writing and more). In addition to this the CSU took on a full ledger upgrade in 2018 on behalf of the trust. This improved the functionality and reporting aspect of the ledger.

Management and Financial Accounts aspects were looked at and in many areas automation was used to help the process (automated coding and splitting of VAT on items, journal checker and input, Excel Macros written to produce reconciliations/reports). The trust also enquired whether the time to produce draft accounts for month end closedown could be reduced from 5 to 3.5 days. The efficiency work we had undertaken has enabled us to achieve this each month.

Following our identification of a large area of duplication in the provision of internal audit services, a new contract was awarded that enabled a saving to be passed onto the trust.

MLCSU carries out much of the day-day processing, not just on the ledger but also, for example, with the online banking system. This gives the trust a degree of autonomy as they can instruct same day payments to be made within a tight deadline where necessary. Also additional payment runs can be requested if needs be (for example, year end/Christmas period).

“The service received from the CSU is excellent. The team work well to adapt to any of our changing needs and deadlines and have played a major part in the implementation of new ledgers and other new systems.  Any issues that arise are quickly resolved, with good communication and easily accessible points of contact in the CSU team. We feel we receive a more adaptable and easily accessible service than those provided by some other Shared service providers.”

Kimberli McKinlay, Deputy Director of Finance, North Staffordshire Combined Healthcare NHS Trust

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