29 November 2023

Consortium Trust Intacct Case Study

Our Conversation with Lisa Jones, the CFO of the Consortium Trust

Lisa, could you please give us an overview of Consortium Trust? What are its foundational goals and main obstacles?

Consortium Trust is a trust of 11 mainstream primary schools and two special schools. We also have a private nursery within our trust as well. Our goals are really to show that the rural primary schools, particularly small rural primary schools, can be sustainable if the structure is correct and efficient. That's one of our main reasons for moving over to Sage Intacct, to try and continue that efficiency drive within our systems and with our processes.

Was there anything else that prompted the need for a new financial management system? Was there a pivotal moment or a sequence of events that acted as a turning point?

The two special schools joined us with effect from the 1st of September, although it was meant to have been earlier than that. They're quite large special schools. One is 125 children and the other 210 children. It became very apparent that we needed to review all of our processes because the volume of everything was about to get that much greater. And so that was the key driver behind doing this review of our financial systems and how effective they would be under a much more challenging set of circumstances with the new schools.

How did Sage Intacct come onto your radar as a possible solution for your financial management needs?

We already used Dayta, so we already had Sage For Education, which we get support for from Dayta, and it was through communication from Dayta that alerted us to the new product.

Could you guide us through your decision-making journey?

We looked at what we had already. We had looked at some other systems external from Sage. We looked at PS Financials, we looked at Access. We've worked with Dayta for nearly three years now and we've always found the support that they've given us to be of a really high standard. The Sage Intacct system, that was demonstrated to us, was familiar in that it was still Sage which we were already using. But then it also had just so much greater functionality than what we already had and we just felt the pricing was fairly comparative. But we also felt we trust Dayta, we've worked with them for three years now and it's quite a big thing to go through changing your finance system. So it's important to do that with the level of support that you trust and that you're used to.

Was there anything about Sage Intacct specifically that resonated with your Trust’s needs, tipping the scales in its favour compared to other solutions you've considered?

Particularly over the previous version of Sage that we have, the functionality for our office managers out in the school was so much more improved there. Previously, they just had access to the web portal within Sage and that was really quite a clunky application. So they don't use the finance systems to a great deal because we have a very centralised finance system. But it at least made their part of the process that much easier and that much simpler. And then, I think, the higher level of reporting, monitoring, just the information that you could extract from Sage Intacct is just really enhanced compared to the old version. It means that reporting to the board and the year end processes are just that much simpler and easier to to get the information that we need.

Can you describe the process of transitioning from Sage For Education to Sage Intacct? What was the experience like?

Fairly straightforward, to be fair. Dayta did a lot of the work for us and, I think, having been supported by Dayta beforehand, being supported by Dayta now, meant that a lot of the transition was really smooth. Dyata could extract the information from our old version of Sage and just put it into the new version of Sage. So it's been fairly smooth. There were some bits that we had to do manually. But, when I consider the transition when we went and moved to Sage For Education three years ago, this time has been much more straightforward than that process.

Did you utilise any particular functionalities of Sage Intacct to facilitate a smoother transition?

To be honest, as I say, Dayta did most of the work for us. So I literally let them do it. I got involved when I was asked to do something or when we took part in the training. You provided all the information that was needed. We did all the setup sheets and documents and what have you. But, I have to admit, Danny and his team did most of the work.

What immediate advantages did you observe post-transition?

I think the immediate advantage was the bigger impact to our office manager team and their role in the process. It just became a lot easier and a lot more straightforward. It has also given us a greater level of oversight because it's easier for us to see what's going on. We can see what financial transactions are being processed a lot easier, which means it's easier for us to manage and monitor and it means the budgeting is a lot easier to manage and monitor.

Are there any tangible metrics or examples you could share that demonstrate the benefits brought by Sage Intacct, particularly in terms of efficiency gains, savings or compliance enhancement?

I think it's probably a bit early in the process for us. We've only been out since the 1st of September and, I have to admit, we've been quite head down in doing our Year-End which has been very heavy. We had to do Year-End on our old version of Sage. We met with all of our office manager teams and our finance teams last week and we did talk about this and time savings are already being seen. At the moment it's difficult to say what's tangible just because we're just starting to use it in its entirety because we've got through that Year-End audit, that's all done now and we can actually really start focusing on the new system. Hopefully, over the next sort of three to six months we will really see those key improvements in our systems and processes.

From your perspective, what are the standout features of Sage Intacct that deliver the most value to your Multi-Academy Trust and why?

I think the electronic authorisation process, whether it be purchase orders, is really key. We're really trying hard to be as paperless as we can be. So we don't want bits of paper going around just waiting for people to sign them. Having that ability of just doing an electronic authorisation is actually a really significant benefit to us because it's quicker and it's more seamless. As I say, it's just less wasted paper being printed out for no obvious reasons. I think that's a key benefit to us and it means that even my CEO only has to approve things when it's of a particularly high value. He's logging in and actually approving it. He's quite often not on site, so being able to get him to do that from wherever he is, has been a real benefit.

Could you share your evaluation of the customer service provided by Dayta?

It's been really, really excellent. As I say, we had a really smooth transition from one version to another. We didn't actually have a particularly long time frame. So they actually turned it around really quickly. We're still getting the support because we're working with the team at the moment to get the integration to our budget software so that we've got that automatic link. The support has been really excellent, right from the start.

Would you recommend Dayta in Sage Intacct to other Multi-Academy Trusts? If so, what insights or tips would you offer for a seamless transition?

I definitely would. I definitely would recommend it. Both Dayta and Intacct. I think the key to a seamless transition is really actually just to work with the team at Dyata. As I say, we did the setup document and we responded in a reasonable time frame when information was requested from us. Just actually make sure you're working with the team, doing what's needed, providing the information so that they can get the setup done as quickly and as seamlessly as possible.

As the CFO, how has this transition influenced your role specifically and your responsibilities?

I can already see that the enhanced reporting, the ability to get the information from the system. Obviously, I have to do a lot of presenting financials to the trust board and the level of information that I can get is so much more enhanced than what we had previously. It just means that I'm not having to do lots of manual calculations, manual production of reports because they're already there. The information is there. I can literally just get it from the system, review it, annotate it if I need to, but it's ready to go. And that's a massive time saving for me.

What our customers say

  • Dayta are always available to support you with efficiency and a smile. The Academy Reports are excellent and recognised by our accountants who can easily create our year end accounts from the system. Having used Sage and the Academy Reporting I haven’t found any limitations in its use and would be happy to recommend the Dayta system to other Academies.

    Eva Evans

    School Business Manager | Bentley Heath School
  • We started as a single secondary school academy and have grown over a period of 4 years to a Multi Academy Trust. Dayta have been with us from the outset giving excellent support and guidance on the Sage Finance and Academy Reports packages. As our Trust continues to grow and our requirements change it is refreshing to work with professionals who want to solve our development needs.

    Mrs S Thomas

    Accounting Manager | Community Academies Trust
  • The moment we met the team at Dayta, we knew that we were going to receive the services of a competent, knowledgeable and responsive organisation. They clearly demonstrated the capability and desire to continually develop their product and provide ongoing support and improvement – a feature we found traditionally absent in the educational finance software package market.

    Adam Miles

    The Woodlands Academy
  • I know that there is support at the end of the telephone if required. From day one, Dayta have provided a friendly and customer-focused service. I am happy to recommend them.

    Fiona Mason

    Business Manager | Hockley Heath Academy
  • Dayta have provided us with an excellent service that has met all our software needs. I would definitely recommend them to other businesses.

    David Silvester

    Financial Controller | Waddesdon The Rothschild Collection
  • We have been particularly impressed with the wealth of knowledge this company possesses and the extremely positive and practical manner in which our questions are answered. With this in mind we would have no hesitation in passing on our recommendations.

    Mike Cussell

    Managing Director | B-Loony
  • We’ve now been with Dayta for a few years and during this time they have always impressed me. Not only do they have a great knowledge of the Sage packages, they offer a great service, always helpful, efficient and always deal promptly with my enquiries. In summary we are very pleased with the service they offer.

    Chris Thomas

    Director | R&JP Internation
  • We have been using Sage 200 since 2011 and are very pleased with it. We chose to move from Sage 50 to Sage 200 because the latter has a lot of much better features and was perfect for our needs. The migration was completed quickly and efficiently. They are quick to respond and very efficient at what they do – we have had no problems with our choice!

    Karen Allen

    Finance Manager | Halma
  • We implemented Sage 200 and the associated Project Accounting module to enable us to accommodate the growing size and complexity of our business and, at every stage in the process, Dayta impressed us with their obvious expertise and knowledge. Over time they have become one of our most trusted and important business partners.

    Chris Calnan

    Finance Lead | PharmiWeb Solutions
  • I have been very impressed with the service received from Dayta.  They were most helpful at the setting up of the project, suggesting various solutions to our requirements and, in particular, have been extremely accommodating when dealing with our bespoke reporting requirements.

    Gill Gimes

    Myton Hospices
  • We wanted to upgrade from Sage 50 to Sage 200 and approached Dayta, who calmly reassured us that our plans could work and offered workable solutions to our more demanding requirements. Dayta delivered the project on time, provided appropriate support to our staff throughout and continue to deliver a professional and knowledgeable service to us. I thoroughly recommend them.

    Ross Baker

    Financial Director | Orange Genie
  • An enlightening day, giving us the confidence and courage to tackle those reports and layouts that we always wanted.

    Joanna Roberts

    Financial Controller | Thameswey
Dayta is a specialised Sage Business Partner, offering a range of services from tailored Sage add-on development and comprehensive support to streamlined implementation and training of Sage products for both education and commercial sectors.
Dayta logo mainSage Partner Badge
linkedin facebook pinterest youtube rss twitter instagram facebook-blank rss-blank linkedin-blank pinterest youtube twitter instagram