Forward planning with Wales & West Housing Association paves way for smooth transition
With the passing of the SORP 2010 deadline in April, Housing Associations should have finally bitten the bullet and invested in specialist providers who can offer a smooth and well advised transition into component accounting. Gill Sanger, Financial Accounting Manager at social housing provider Wales & West Housing Association (WWHA) deployed component accounting software from Real Asset Management (RAM) in 2010 and has reaped the rewards of being SORP compliant ahead of deadline. The Asset4000 software now provides the WWHA with a fully compliant, centralised and robust register for its £376 million asset base.
Out with the old, in with the new
Prior to the installation of Asset4000, WWHA used an Excel based asset register to record asset values and calculate depreciation in summary. Under the new SORP guidelines, Housing Associations are required to break their extensive asset registers down into individual components. For example, under the old guidelines a housing unit could be classed as one single asset, but under the new guidelines they are required to contain more detailed information relating to replaceable components. Meaning that what was previously a single asset is now split into eight or more individual components, a lengthy and arduous process.
For WWHA, this meant transferring what were once 8,500 assets into 95,000 individual components - a task that would have been almost impossible without the implementation of a robust component accounting solution.
Gill Sanger comments, “Taking on the task of component accounting is bound to put a strain on any finance department, regardless of the figures involved. Therefore we wanted to invest in a company that fully understood the housing sector and the associated legislation and which, as a result of this understanding, could aid us with the complex transition into component accounting.”
Witnessing the live performance
As the SORP deadline approached, Sanger explains the advantages of being compliant ahead of April. “We were the first Non Stock Transfer association in Wales to enlist a specialist provider and have certainly benefitted from RAM’s expertise. Throughout the transition we benefited from the expert guidance of the consultants at RAM. During the installation period, we set ourselves internal deadlines to meet. The consultants were always willing to go the extra mile in order for us to meet them and it is safe to say that to this day, this level of service hasn’t faltered.”
In safe hands
Since making the decision to invest in a component accounting software product, streamlined processes have been introduced. Sanger adds, “The software not only provided us with compliant accounts ahead of the deadline but also afforded us further business insight that wouldn’t have necessarily been possible. We are now able to easily update, manipulate and extract data at the touch of a button.”
Sanger concludes, “Knowing that our property asset register is in the hands of this highly experienced provider is a reassuring thought. The RAM consultants have been helpful, flexible and, most importantly, dependable. They are always available to offer guidance, regardless of the situation. For us, having the ability to correctly categorise and record our assets within the SORP 2010 guidelines ahead of the deadline was crucial. The future-proof software is coping very well in meeting both our demands and the demands of the regulators, standing us in good stead for the transition to IFRS.”
For further information on SORP/IFRS component accounting software for Housing Associations, click here.