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Yorkshire Wildlife Trust choose iplicit for their complex accounting needs

9th Mar 2023
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iplicit’s mission is to make the complex simple and accessible. Its powerful cloud accounting...
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The Finance Director at Yorkshire Wildlife Trust, needed true cloud software to replace a system that was “creaking at the seams”.

Yorkshire Wildlife Trust is a charity that looks after 111 nature reserves across the county and is involved in hundreds of conservation projects. As a well as being a charity, they own a subsidiary, so they have two legal entities under one parent. By switching to iplicit the YWT were able to bring the 2 entities together and consolidate all of the information.

We were using Exchequer when I joined Yorkshire Wildlife Trust, but we’d grown to a £10m-£12m turnover and it was creaking at the seams." Darren Tiffney, Director of Finance and Central Services

The Yorkshire Wildlife Trust (YWT) has fragmented its operations into individual budgets within geographical regions. And then within those regions, they have 111 nature reserves, which are micro-cost centres inside the other micro-cost centres. It is a phenomenally complex structure which Darren explains below:

"Our purchasing and sales team are putting on about 50-60 invoices a day. We’re processing about 150-200 expense claims a month and we do journals every day. So, we do a lot with our system.

In the past, most staff didn’t really interact with the finance system at all when handling things like purchase orders, invoice authorisation and expenses authorisation. The challenge was to bring around 160 staff into the process so they're comfortable interacting with the finance system at lots of different levels.

Our income comes from a diverse range of sources. We work with government, with local councils, with landowners, we trade, and we offer services and consultancy. So, we’re a multifaceted charity and we wanted to serve all that with one accounting platform. 

The thing that alerted me to iplicit was that the Charity Finance magazine said iplicit was Mid-Market and Enterprise Accounting Software of the Year. In fact, they did a 360-degree survey of all the charitable accounting packages out there.

You can't grow from £4m to £12m in turnover and not address the finance system, or you’re going to fall off a cliff. I would have had to keep adding finance staff to maintain the system, instead of empowering all the other members of the trust to use the system."

Also, we needed to get the data off our servers. I needed to have a cloud-based system – and not a server-based system that had been “lipsticked” and forced into the cloud. In my experience of software, you cannot evolve from one of those things to another. You’ve just got to start again.

Some of the other wildlife trusts in the federation are using a different software provider, and I did trial both platforms quite closely. However, with iplicit, we could have our Exchequer archive in the system, as opposed to continuing to pay for a read-only version of it, as we would have done if I had adopted something else.

Even though other wildlife trusts were using a different software provider, I think you have to serve the needs of your own organisation. 

What clinched it for me was the layout of the iplicit platform. All the finance staff preferred the feel of it. And the second factor was being able to migrate the archive. I know that sounds quite minor, but we go back quite a lot to look at previous transactions. It’s massively important that we have access to that.

The major differences with iplicit compared to their old finance system

Our staff are already feeling the benefits of using a modern finance system. They like the fact that they can access it anywhere – so if we have a problem with our servers, of course, they can continue working in iplicit. The stability of iplicit is a key point as well. I needed to be confident that the system was going to always stay on."

We have a lot of staff in the field – literally in the field – and in the future we see raising purchase orders, approving expenses, approving invoices all being done on the fly, when it used to only be done in an office.  This will help everyone keep on top of daily admin tasks easily.

And post-pandemic, we’ve adopted hybrid working, so if I’m in a meeting in Lincolnshire and I need to approve something, in iplicit, I can do it wherever I am, where I would have struggled before. That was one of the reasons to move to cloud accounting, to give that greater flexibility.

Time-saving benefits

My finance staff like the fact they can access iplicit from anywhere and are already saving time. To reconcile the main bank account would have taken half a day. Now it takes five minutes.

With expenses, these would have been entered manually on to the finance system previously, taking days to review them. Now it just takes an afternoon to sort all the expenses out, so I do this bi-weekly now.

We are seeing the benefits of the purchase order conversion to invoice process and with the mobile app I can approve POs and expenses whilst in meetings at other locations. As iplicit is Cloud-based, it works well for our hybrid working staff. I also really like the reporting – being able to filter and drill down easily within a project centre to transaction level is easy to do. 

Favourite iplicit features

We adopted the project costing functionality within iplicit because it offered better reporting flexibility. 

Our funding is categorised as “restricted” and “unrestricted”, and we need to specify the restriction on certain pots of money to a specific fund. 

This assists us in producing our end-of-year fund recognition sheet that shows the movement of all funds. Some charities are funded by just three or four funders, but we have over 100 active funds at any one time. 

I think iplicit’s Project accounting area is a better environment to cope with this complexity. It also meant we could put in certain restrictions around user accessibility – so, for example, certain users can only see certain projects and the transactions associated with them.

As a charity we are taking in money all the time and we need to operate in the profit and loss and the balance sheet elements of the account constantly. iplicit gives us the flexibility in the accounts we need.

Learn More

iplicit's true cloud accounting software enables finance teams to: 

  • Close month-end fast
  • Get real time consolidation using automation.
  • Solve workflow approval and expense management challenges.
  • Get complete visibility of their finance operations with multi-dimensional analysis.

See our core financials software in action or get in touch for a no-obligation chat about how we can help you and a 1:1 tailored demo.