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Helping North Staffordshire trust pay suppliers

We quickly mobilised financial services helping an NHS trust to process and pay supplier invoices.

Background

In April 2021, a cohort of learning disabilities and mental health patient cases managed by Staffordshire Clinical Commissioning Groups were transferred to North Staffordshire Combined Healthcare Trust (NSCHT). The NHS Midlands and Lancashire Commissioning Support Unit’s At Scale Customer Finance team, were approached by NSCHT to take on accounts payable tasks to ensure their supplier invoices were processed and paid.

Action

In preparation, we met with the clients to fully understand their service requirements and learnt more about:

  • Volumes of invoices
  • Verification process
  • Approval hierarchy
  • Escalation process.

Using both this information and our previous experience of in-housing finance procedures for our other customers, we were able to quickly train our experienced Accounts Payable team to start supporting NSCHT.

Impact

As a team of more than 50 experienced transactional finance professionals, we were swiftly able to meet our customers’ requirements to ensure supplier invoices were registered onto their accounting system.

We mobilised the service efficiently within four weeks of learning about the work.

When NSCHT were experiencing resource issues, we stepped in to ensure due diligence was followed in finance processes.

The MLCSU team have since continued to provide ongoing support and are helping make a positive impact towards the Better Payment Practice Code by making sure the Trust’s invoices are registered, suppliers notified of any issues preventing payment and generally building a solid rapport with suppliers by providing a quality service.

The Accounts Payable team have been very supportive since the two services integrated to the trust. They have been helpful and flexible as we continue to look for new ways to make both the invoicing and forecasting processes smoother for the finance and operational teams. When we have raised matters that require urgent attention, the MLCSU team have been quick to act upon these in order to resolve as quickly as possible.

Rachel Heath | Project Accountant, North Staffordshire Combined Healthcare NHS Trust