"It was vital to see it working before we committed. It worked, and Sarah came to me and said: "This is the system for us". And to be honest, from the various systems we saw, Workday Adaptive Planning was the only one that could work."
Milestone Trust is a major organisation, supporting 550 people with mental health, learning disabilities, dementia and complex behavioural needs. More than ever, people in society need the services they offer to bring about positive change in their lives.
The charity offers a wide range of services, with over 80 residential care homes and sites for supported living. They also work with assistive technology, create community projects and explore expressions arts.
Yet, despite Milestone Trust’s impressive work around Bristol, South Gloucestershire and North Somerset, their budgeting process was incredibly time-consuming and complicated.
When Hilary Pearce joined the Milestones Trust as Director of Finance, she recognised they needed an intuitive, adaptable tool that encouraged their team to collaborate quicker on their budgets. That’swhere Formulate comes in.
Sarah Barker, the Management Accountant responsible for leading on the budgets, was desperate for some software to help with the budgeting. Sarah had been managing budgets on hundreds of spreadsheets. Budgeting was time-consuming, complicated and labour intensive.
With many strings to the organisation’s bow, getting this in order was no easy challenge. Early mornings and long nights were no rarity. Spreadsheets alone were simply not the practical solution.
After all, Excel is just a generic desktop tool. It isn’t designed to gather information in a fast-moving environment and link through to the wider business.
Mistakes and errors were rife. To make matters worse, they often when unnoticed for months, therefore, compromising lots of complex calculations.
Such broken reporting causes mistakes to multiply and mutate, especially within evolving businesses. Not only is this labour intensive to fix, but complicated and time-draining.
According to Hillary Pearce, Director of Finance at the charity, they ran out of time to plan properly in her first year at the company. She realised that the systems needed to change.
It was time to put the power back in the hands of the finance team with the support of Formulate, the UK’s leading Workday Adaptive Planning partners.
“You always get mistakes and errors with spreadsheets, and things don’t link through properly. It was just very labour intensive. It is easy to make a mistake on Excel, and then not finding the error and having it cause an issue a few months down the line because you didn’t find it.”
The first port of call was to identify an intuitive tool that was adaptive to the distinct needs of those in the social care world. Workday Adaptive Planning was the solution. Pair the software’s vast array of features with the right expertise, and Workday Adaptive Planning software can be moulded into the ideal solution.
“The excellent thing about the team at Formulate is that they came along and demonstrated how it would work for us. We worked with Susanne; she was excellent; she knows her stuff. Susanne was great at understanding our needs and made an effort to understand what we wanted to achieve”, said Hilary Pearce.
Susanne demonstrated how their proposed solution could simplify Milestone Trust’s older forecasting and budgeting models while taking the time to prove new concepts to the finance team. This level of care was something Milestone Trust had never experienced with other software suppliers.
Building this confidence early is crucial, so everyone is on board and singing from the same hymn sheet.
Next, Formulate built up a prototype, enabling Sarah and Hilary to test it out for themselves. In demonstrating the capabilities in granular detail, Sarah and Hilary were able to convince the charity’s financial accountant and the wider team to get behind this new forecasting and budgeting solution.
Due to Formulate’s hard work and due diligence, data was automatically being pulled from many systems and every area within the business. This was then sieved through custom-built models, unlocking lots more value from financial data,
This advanced functionality saved Milestone Trust a considerable amount of time. With Workday Adaptive Planning being a cloud-based solution, the financial team were also able to continue working cohesively during the height of the pandemic.
Looking ahead, Milestone Trust will be drawing on Formulate’s positive approach to help them develop more complex forecasting and what-if scenarios.