Case studies published on this website have been archived, and some information and links may be out of date. This follows the acquisition of Albany Software by Bottomline Technologies in September 2012.
With the trend towards outsourcing the finance function continuing apace, Eagle Consulting provides a broad range of payroll, Bacs and management accounting services to customers from golf clubs to large hotel groups and a variety of PLCs. To meet escalating customer demands for high volume payments, the company has invested in the ALBACSbureau cs solution from Albany Software.
The flexibility and automation within ALBACSbureau cs has enabled Eagle Consulting to streamline processes and undertake high volume Bacs submissions, significantly broadening both the range of services and potential customer base.
Founded 12 years ago, Inverness-based Eagle Consulting provides practical accounting and consultancy services to small and medium sized businesses (SMBs) across the UK. In this time, Eagle Consulting has seen a steady growth in organisations looking to outsource the accounts function, embracing an increasing range of services, from payroll and Bacs bureaux to Direct Debit (DD) payments, management accounting, VAT and tax management. The company now has over 500 clients, ranging from small clubs to large hotel chains.
In recent years the company has seen a rapid escalation in the volume of Direct Debit and Direct Credit Bacs submissions handled on behalf of clients. Indeed, Eagle Consulting's Bacs customer base has grown from three companies nine years ago to several hundred today, representing five to ten thousand submissions every week.
According to Harry Hornby, Director of Eagle Consulting, the use of outsourced services is becoming more popular. "Increases in red tape and a recognition that businesses need to focus on core operations have prompted many organisations to really consider the benefits of outsourcing the finance function," he says.
Underpinning the success of Eagle Consulting's Bacs processing service has been its long-term relationship with Albany Software, with its ALBACS software. Eagle Consulting was keen to implement Albany Software's full bureau solution to streamline operations and provide a platform to support the rapid growth in Direct Debit business. "ALBACSbureau cs provides clear opportunities to streamline processes and improve efficiency, enabling Eagle Consulting to attain significant commercial advantage over other bureau services," says Hornby.
He continues, "Over the years, Eagle has developed a very strong relationship with Albany. Both the company and its technology are very reliable. However, the critical factor is that Albany was the only company prepared to spend the time to understand our business needs and help us utilise the software in order to meet our specific requirements."
Eagle Consulting opted to be the pilot site for the new ALBACSbureau cs, to enable the company to steal a march on the competition. As a bureau, Eagle Consulting has a far more complex Bacs authorisation process than single company Bacs submitters. The company handles a large number of originator identification numbers and the agency status makes the authorisation process more complex. The implementation process was straightforward, with Albany migrating all Eagle Consulting's customers onto the new software - even those yet to complete the bank's registration process.
The company also has several sources of Bacs submissions. Its own payroll bureau, external submissions from clients sent directly to the Bacs hub and the management accounts team. "The inherent flexibility of ALBACSbureau cs enables Eagle Consulting to handle each data type differently," he says.
One of the primary benefits of the implementation of the ALBACSbureau cs solution has been the ability to streamline processes. The full bureau service enables transmissions to be processed, authorised and submitted in bulk, significantly reducing the time taken to manage the Bacs process. Furthermore, email reports go straight from the system to the client, enabling rapid confirmation of Bacs submissions.
The new solution also provides Eagle Consulting with electronic reports from Bacs. "This is particularly useful in the case of unpaid Direct Debits and Direct Credits. Instead of waiting three days or more for paper reports, we can advise of unpaid submissions within hours, allowing our clients a much earlier opportunity to contact their customers," he says. With reports either emailed by Eagle Consulting, or direct from Bacs, the company's clients have now got far better visibility of the payments process and greater control over cash flow. Looking ahead, the company plans to leverage the scheduling features within ALBACSbureau cs to achieve even higher levels of flexibility. He explains, "The greatest fear is that we will go home at night having forgotten to submit a payroll! The new software allows tasks to be scheduled, raising an alarm if the task is not actioned on time. While we make very few mistakes, as the volume of submissions continues to escalate this level of automation will become increasingly valuable."
Indeed, Hornby maintains that the investment in ALBACSbureau cs has transformed the type of services the company can now deliver, including very high volume Direct Debit submissions for large organisations. "The Albany solution offers a level of automation - such as automatic flagging and representation of unpaid Direct Debits - that can transform the submission process, enabling Eagle Consulting to accept ever larger clients without significantly increasing resources."
Hornby believes Eagle Consulting is well placed for rapid expansion; the company has recruited additional staff to create a large Bacs team to handle new business. In addition to high volume Bacs processing for large Direct Debit submitters, he believes that many more organisations will take the step towards full outsourcing over the next few years. He concludes, "The Bacs world is a secret world that often confuses organisations. Yet these payments are business critical. Combining the knowledge of Eagle Consulting's staff with the robustness and flexibility of ALBACSbureau cs enables us to improve operational efficiency and spend more time delivering the personal service required to support our clients."