FINANCIAL VISIBILITY AND EFFICIENCY GAINS AT THE FORE FOR ST ANDREWS LINKS TRUST WITH NETSUITE

Established in 1974, St Andrews Links Trust is the charitable organisation responsible for the stewardship of the Links at St Andrews, including the world-famous Old Course recognised worldwide as the “Home of Golf”.

 

St Andrews Links Trust operates seven golf courses – the Old, New, Jubilee, Eden, Strathtyrum, Castle and Balgove Courses – and three clubhouses offering comprehensive facilities to visitors. In addition to this, the Trust operates seven catering outlets, four retail shops and has a successful ecommerce website.

 

Accessibility to golf for all is a core value for the Trust – the St Andrews Links Golf Academy leads the way in offering golf instruction from beginner to elite levels and the Trust manages several community support projects, preserving the historic Links and nurturing a long-standing relationship with the wider community of St Andrews.

THE CHALLENGES FACED BY ST ANDREWS LINKS TRUST

As the organisational structure of the Trust became increasingly complex – the Trust operates four wholly owned subsidiaries delivering the above diverse range of services and facilities, incorporating multiple cost centres and revenue streams – the finance team were encumbered with the lengthy, manual processes involved in managing this complexity with their outdated financial software.

To support the Trust’s strategic objectives, it was clear that an ERP system review was required; not just to replace existing functionality like for like, but to instil awareness and responsibility across the cost centres of the Trust by enabling access and ease of use for budget holders and decision makers beyond the finance team. A system that enabled both drilling-down into data for individual cost-centres and consolidating data across the group was deemed essential.

Paul Cree, Head of Finance at St Andrew’s Links Trust, explains, “We needed to step up to a more modern platform. We knew we wanted a cloud-based option and that transforming our purchase-to-pay cycle was a priority. Simply upgrading our existing system was neither the simplest nor the most financially viable option, so we kept our options open and carried out due diligence.”

As well as improved integration and understanding of the finance function within the wider organisation, reduction in paper-based processes, reduction in manual interventions and elimination of integration tools with Excel were also key project objectives; ultimately, streamlining reporting, procurement and document management.

THE SOLUTION

Having decided on Oracle NetSuite as the preferred cloud solution following research and due diligence, St Andrews Links Trust then considered who they would select for the project. Paul comments,

We met the Eureka Solutions team at a networking event and were impressed. The fact they were based in Scotland was a big plus point for us and after speaking to them it was clear to us that we wanted to work with them rather than any alternative option. Eureka Solutions was such a good fit, and we wanted the level of personalised support that they could offer us throughout the project and beyond.”

The power of NetSuite to deliver the visibility required was quickly apparent, satisfying the transparency and reporting requirements of the Trust’s many stakeholders has been made quick and simple with NetSuite’s built-in flexibility.

 

Having the chart of account structure set up with our departments and sites means we are able to dissect our data in ways that is meaningful to us, building the reports we need centrally, but also allowing departments and sites to access their information and only their information. Eureka Solutions have built us some pretty complicated workflows to meet our exact requirements for our purchase to pay authorisations, and they are all working smoothly, achieving a key objective of the project by eliminating manual interventions in this process.” Paul Cree, Head of Finance

A LOCKDOWN ‘GO-LIVE’ AND QUICK WINS

St Andrews Links Trust’s NetSuite ‘go-live’ coincided almost exactly with the country going into lockdown in March 2020. While this presented unexpected challenges in some ways, in other ways the timing couldn’t have been better.

 

The way it worked out, and with Eureka Solutions able to deliver our project and training remotely, we had a cloud finance solution exactly when we needed it most. We have been able to do everything remotely and it just would not have been possible with our old system. There have been lots of positives for us and we have taken massive steps forward already.” says Paul.

 

As staff from other departments have started to return to work following lockdown, their training has been reaffirmed to support them using the system for the first time. This step will achieve the other key objective of department heads throughout the business taking ownership of their areas. Having the relevant information available to people, whether it is on their handheld device or on their laptop, them being able to log in and quickly see what POs they have got outstanding and what their monthly reports are looking like frees the finance team up to drive the business forward.

 

Producing monthly departmental reports was something that we as the finance department had to do manually before we had NetSuite; at month end we previously had to send on monthly reports with various narratives to support them. Now department heads will access and tailor their own reports via NetSuite. The time and effort this will save at our month end is a big win.

 

We recently finished our first audit since implementing NetSuite and the ease with which the auditor was able to access a clear audit trail for every transaction just by having access to NetSuite was great, anything can be checked with a click of a mouse.” Paul Cree, Head of Finance

NEXT STEPS

As well as bedding down the wider use of NetSuite throughout the Trust as different sites and departments open up post-lockdown, the next phase will be to explore areas of development and training with Eureka Solutions to ensure optimum use of the system’s far-reaching functionality.

 

I think the possibilities look pretty endless at this stage and that’s quite an exciting thing to see and appreciate, having come from having a finance system that was previously pretty static and inflexible.” comments Paul.

 

St Andrews Links Trust is also leveraging NetSuite’s Planning and Budgeting module to generate real-time forecasts, reduce planning times and aid quick and accurate scenario planning and decision making.  In addition, the Trust have NetSuite integrated with Fast Four Scan and Capture for document management, and phase two will also explore any further integrations with essential third-party systems – across retail, golf, the Golf Academy and hospitality – to give one true view of all data and made possible with Eureka Solution’s integration expertise.

WORKING WITH EUREKA SOLUTIONS

Initial expectations around Eureka Solutions were high because Paul and his colleague felt the team they initially met at the networking event were very approachable; that they knew their stuff inside out but had that essential human connection as well. The high expectations were very much met, as Paul explains,

My team and I were struck, firstly, by the ability of the NetSuite product to react to the often complex scenarios our business presented, and secondly, by the fact that – to a person – all the Eureka Solutions team involved in project management and training sessions had excellent in-depth knowledge of the product, delivered in an exceptionally professional and engaging way. We would definitely recommend Eureka Solutions, in fact we have already.

 

As well as achieving an efficient ‘cut over’ between the legacy system and NetSuite, very much a joint achievement between the Trust and Eureka Solutions, the Eureka Solutions team responsible for the implementation were delighted to have brought it in under budget.

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