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Client

Young & Co.’s Brewery

Industry

Hospitality

Solution

Reconciliation

Groupit from Aurum Solutions is a powerful and flexible automatic data matching and reconciliation software application; it is easily configured to allow any number of different reconciliation processes to be managed within a single central database. For Young & Co.’s Brewery, Groupit takes a pivotal role in the operation, performance measurement and management of the group’s managed pubs and hotels.

Excellent pubs and beers have been at the heart of Young & Co.’s Brewery since the company was established in 1831. Today, Youngs operates pubs varying from contemporary, vibrant pubs to unique boutique hotels, not forgetting the traditional, warm, friendly local houses at the centre of many communities. Based in Wandsworth, London, Youngs’ operations are directed from modern offices that are situated close to the historic RAM Brewery site where beer brewing dates back to 1533.

Young & Co.’s Brewery had previously implemented an automatic bank reconciliation system that they had been using for a number of years. Early in 2010, Keith Wilson, Youngs’ Chief Accountant, initiated a project to replace the existing reconciliation software and use the project as an opportunity to improve and streamline the way the cashiers in his finance team worked. Improving efficiency through more automation and eliminating the tedious daily time-consuming tasks his staff had to perform were high on Keith’s list of priorities.

Keith wanted to ensure he had a powerful, contemporary bank reconciliation solution, reduce licence costs and, critically, he wanted to find a product and company that would play a vital part in allowing him to realise his aims for managing ad hoc expenditure in the pub network.

The two phases of the project would be closely related and ideally, have the same supplier. However the first requirement of replacing the existing reconciliation system was the immediate priority. As is often the case, bank reconciliation was a daily process that had to continue without interruption. It might seem a tall order but Keith was confident that if he found the right supplier, his objectives in both areas could be met.

Reconciliation

When it comes to matching transactions and balances as part of any account reconciliation process; automation is best. Groupit can manage any form of reconciliation, including Bank Reconciliation and Payment Service Provider Reconciliation - saving valuable time and preventing errors.

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Keith was seeking a system that would be the hub of the cashiers’ role. The new system would need to offer a wider scope with far more functionality – something that was more than a ‘run of the mill’ bank reconciliation product.

Keith also wanted a system with better reporting facilities that would ensure a more consistent way of working – at the time each cashier managed their reconciliations as they saw fit and worked in different ways. This lack of consistency made appraisal of the pub estate difficult – giving management the full picture was time-consuming. Keith planned to select a vendor through a conventional competitive tender process, which started with a series of demonstrations where he could evaluate the contending reconciliation solutions, and also discuss the wider scope of the second phase pub management requirements.


The entire on-site installation, data migration and user training for the cashier team took just three days.

Helen Belcher, Aurum Solutions’ Managing Director, remembers the initial demonstration and discussions: “I felt we established a good relationship from the start. We had a detailed discussion focusing on where data was coming from and how it flowed. It seemed a really interesting application. Although the bank reconciliation requirements were relatively straightforward, it helped that I knew the incumbent system intimately and we think I quickly understood what Keith wanted to achieve in the second phase of the pub management project”.

Ultimately, with the demonstration and tender phases completed, the news for Aurum Solutions was ideal! The company was chosen as the supplier to replace Youngs’ existing reconciliation system and to create the nascent pub management application. A programme plan for the implementation of Groupit was established and agreed, including data migration from the old system, configuration of the new one, staff training and an agreed “go live” date.

The entire on-site installation, data migration and user training for the cashier team took just three days. Groupit gained immediate acceptance with Keith’s cashiers who found it easy to use and efficient. Replacing the previous system on a ‘like for like’ basis, Groupit introduced many process improvements such as the direct loading of data from donor systems, improved matching capability with higher reconciliation rates, better reporting and access to historical data and previous reconciliations.

The second phase was quickly introduced and Groupit was extended to support the capture and storage of all Pub Returns data and Receipts Received. Operating alongside the bank reconciliations, the additional data was captured and held in the Groupit database.

"Groupit is performing strongly in both areas of the original project’s scope and it’s now an integral aspect of Youngs’ financial and pub performance management processes."

Keith Wilson, Chief Accountant - Youngs’ & Co.'s Brewery
“Reconciliation performance is extremely strong. Our staff involved in reconciliation don’t have or need a finance background, the ease-of-use is excellent and related to that, there’s strong transferability in our team. We cope easily when a member of the team is unwell or away as cashiers all use the same tools.”
Keith Wilson, Chief Accountant - Youngs’ & Co.'s Brewery

Pub Returns data is logged and collated on a weekly basis using Groupit then subsequently used in KPI reviews that are distributed internally, including to the regional Operations Managers. Weekly Expenses and petty cash expenditure incurred by each pub is also loaded into Groupit and the cashier team reconciles these items against paper receipts and invoices provided. Any exceptions are easily identified and Cashiers have the ability to add notes or modify data items to support their resolution. A full audit trail is maintained recording all changes and detailing who made them and when.

“Reconciliation performance is extremely strong. Our staff involved in reconciliation don’t have or need a finance background, the ease-of-use is excellent and related to that, there’s strong transferability in our team. We cope easily when a member of the team is unwell or away as cashiers all use the same tools. The skill-set gained across the entire team is something we can really build on. They are skills that could have allowed my team members to develop and progress to roles in other parts of our organisation. and that’s just great in my book”.

"We’ve had great support from Aurum Solutions throughout the project. Overall the impact of the solution on the business has been very positive, and that’s a good and very meaningful result for us."

Keith Wilson, Chief Accountant - Youngs’ & Co.'s Brewery

In the final analysis Keith agrees that Groupit is delivering what Youngs’ wanted: “We’ve achieved what we needed and it’s paid us as I hoped. We’ve had great support from Aurum Solutions throughout the project. Overall the impact of the solution on the business has been very positive, and that’s a good and very meaningful result for us”.