The cloud is often cited with two major benefits – flexibility (and scalability therein) and cost savings – and Islington Council is certainly getting the latter when it comes to the system employed for its budgeting needs.
The council has used a cloud-based budget forecast solution to help tune the fiscal side of its operations, and Islington reckons it has cut costs by some 40 per cent over the last four years. That’s a saving of £3 million, no less.
The system in question is the Collaborative Planning tool from Advanced Business Solutions, a budget management program that’s designed specifically with accountants in mind, and does away with spreadsheets in favour of a much more streamlined and automated system.
As Advanced Business Solutions puts it, the tool “fosters best practice empowering budget managers in the process enabling finance to add value, rather than wasting time on data input and spreadsheet consolidation.”
Alan Layton, Director of Financial Management at Islington Council, commented: “Previously it was almost impossible to gather accurate forecasting information within a reasonable timescale, plus there was a high risk of error due to our protracted consolidation process involving numerous complicated spreadsheets.”
“Collaborative Planning offered the added functionality and flexibility we needed and could crucially integrate with our existing Advanced financial management system. We can now quickly produce reliable monthly forecasting information, with minimal effort, and better understand our data.”
Islington Council has apparently just upgraded to the latest version of the cloud-based forecasting tool in order to manage further cuts next year to the tune of £34 million.