GAME CHANGING BUSINESS SYSTEM FOR LUTON TOWN FOOTBALL CLUB

Slide Match Day
Costs
and analysis
instantly available.
Slide Elimination
of Paper
from financial processes.
Slide of the Finance
Function across
the business.
Integration
Slide Easy & Intuitive user-adoption and
role-based
dashboards.

Founded in 1895, Luton Town Football Club is an English professional football club with a proud history, currently competing in the EFL. As well as the First Team, the Club has an Under 18s Team and operates Luton Town Football Club Academy.

 

An important focal point for the local community, the growing club is a multi-faceted business that incorporates supporter and matchday activity, hospitality, sponsorship and more, and has further development ahead with a move to a new stadium planned in the near future.

WHAT WERE LUTON TOWN FOOTBALL CLUB'S CHALLENGES?

The momentum of back-to-back promotions for the Club along with the growth path the business was on, caused the finance team to take stock of systems and processes in 2017. Club financials were managed using an on-premise Sage 50 system alongside a number of separate systems, for example, for payroll and purchase order processing.

Processing of data was a very manual and paper ‘heavy’ exercise – essentially taking information out of one system, printing it out, then entering it into another – meaning that data analysis and decision making was cumbersome.

In addition, perception of the finance team was that it was separate from the rest of core elements of the business, and staff not within the finance function had very limited understanding or visibility of financial data.

In terms of records analysis and data availability, reporting and integration, our old systems were holding us back. We wanted to get rid of paper processes and increase efficiencies as much as possible. We were looking for something with good integrations with other systems, and lots of flexibility around reporting, access control and customisation.

Thomas Schofield, Finance Director, Luton Town Football Club

THE SOLUTION

On assessing several systems options, Finance Director, Thomas Schofield, and his colleagues decided that a transformational change of systems would be best for the Club, rather than just a ‘step up’. NetSuite and Eureka Solutions were recommended by peers at Derby County Football Club, and the system stood out from the first demonstration as being instinctive and flexible. As Thomas explains, it wasn’t just the core functionality that was important,

“A lot of it was down to the look and feel of the product. One of our key objectives was integrating the finance function better into the wider business. The NetSuite dashboards are a far cry from dry, financial reports, and we were confident that this would encourage buy-in across the organisation.”

 

At the time of implementing NetSuite, the Luton Town Football Club finance team were undergoing a restructure, so this represented an opportunity to fully address historical pain points. Eliminating paper from key processes has been an important early win for the new system. With the new stadium plans and a location move in the offing, this makes things simpler from a practical point of view as well as the efficiency gains that come with it.

While 2020 was challenging for all football clubs for many reasons, having a quieter time on the transactional front gave Thomas and his team increased opportunity to properly clean out their data and ensure the new NetSuite system is producing accurate insights on demand. Core processes were put in place as the priority and allowed the finance team to navigate pandemic related challenges much more easily that they would have been able to do with their old system.

 

“I don’t know how we would have coped through the pandemic with our old Sage 50 system, as we weren’t set up for home working in any way. From a remote access point of view NetSuite has absolutely been seamless, particularly with all the elements of integration that Eureka Solutions have worked on – accounts payable, raising invoices and all those kinds of tasks would have been much more difficult. In addition, having the paper-based elements removed from our processes has made a huge difference in that respect.”

Thomas Schofield, Finance Director, Luton Town Football Club

GAME CHANGING FINANCIALS

A really important ‘win’ for the Club is having accurate matchday information at their fingertips. One question they, and all Clubs, want to know the answer to is how much they make out of any particular match.  Thomas explains that this was “extremely time consuming” to answer accurately with their old set up, but that they now have the appropriate classes set up in NetSuite, integrated seamlessly with their payroll (via Infinet Cloud – the award-winning NetSuite payroll application), making it simple to assign revenue and costs to classes. As Thomas comments,

 

“Once football starts up again in earnest, and once we get fans back, having that sort of information at our fingertips is going to be very, very helpful, and not something we’ve had easy access to before.”

SUPPORTING AMBITIONS

The focus now for Thomas and his team, with input from Eureka Solutions, is building out from the core processes that are now bedded down. Department heads across the complex business – including the Operations, Catering, Retail and Commercial departments – will work from customised dashboards giving them at-a-glance, real-time visibility of their own priorities and financial KPIs, removing the requirement for them to request finance to run spreadsheets for their particular queries.

 

“For an organisation of our type and size NetSuite is the best fit, we are able to build in the level of complexity we need without it being too clunky. It is still flexible and responsive and does everything we need it to do. We are able to divide our business down to the level that we want to and get useful, actionable information around that.”

Thomas Schofield, Finance Director, Luton Town Football Club

BENEFITS REALISED

  • Match day costs and analysis instantly visible.
  • Elimination of paper from finance processes.
  • Integration of finance function across the business.
  • Easy user-adoption with intuitive, role-based dashboards.

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FUTURE PLANS

Additional future plans for the system are to automate yet more processes by expanding the number of integrations with systems outside of NetSuite. This is one of the areas in which working with Eureka Solutions as a NetSuite partner – with their systems integration expertise – has great advantages. As for working with Eureka Solutions in general to date, Thomas comments,

 

“Technically Eureka Solutions have been fantastic and have been able to tell us how best to achieve what we want. The training was excellent as well. Moving forward we’ll be working with them to get even more out of the system, ensuring we release its full potential.”

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