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Lifestyle Europe Limited





In six short years, Lifestyle Europe Limited, based in Horsham, Sussex, has become one of the fastest-growing motor retailers in the country, with branches across Kent, Sussex and Surrey. They were voted Automotive Management Retailer of the Year 2008. But bank reconciliations were holding back the firm’s accounting function – until Aurum Solutions got involved.

Lifestyle boasts a portfolio of five new-car franchises, including Ford and Mazda, and one large and thriving centre dedicated to the sale of used cars. The company also sells new and used commercial vehicles and is a major parts wholesaler. A simple formula of quality, choice and value has served the Group well and, with around 400 employees, the company now turns over approximately £100m.

Naturally, figures this impressive come with equally large bank reconciliations. A typical month sees over 2,000 receipts, around 1,800 payments, and over 4,000 cashbook debits and credits flow back and forth. For years, Lifestyle had struggled to make use of a system provided by the Group’s bankers.

“The system was very slow and simplistic,” says Group Financial Controller Andy Hornsby. “It didn’t automatically match up transactions because it could not manage any discrepancies between the bank data and the cash-book data.”

A typical month for Lifestyle Europe Limited sees over 2,000 receipts, around 1,800 payments, and over 4,000 cashbook debits and credits flow back and forth.

“With Groupit, that’s not a problem. We’ve also been looking to move towards weekly or even daily reconciliations but with our old system that would have been out of the question.”

For Andy, the need for a speedy, automated process was the tipping point. “We’d struggled along for years before realising that there was a solution out there,” he says. “I spent ages searching the Internet for something that fitted our needs. The trouble was that we already had a complete accounting package specific to the motor trade, so bank reconciliation software was all I needed.”

Fortunately, Andy found just that, after receiving a mailshot from Aurum Solutions. He read how the company’s Groupit software could not only automatically reconcile transactions but, with the help of the user friendly screen settings, could also help to quickly resolve the inevitable exceptions.

Andy wanted to see for himself so arranged a demonstration. He wasn’t disappointed. He immediately saw the great number of items Groupit could handle automatically and how much time could be saved. As soon as he had the approval of the Board, Andy placed his order.

"Our Assistant Accountant used to do reconciliation manually. She can now spend time doing more interesting and useful work, which is great for her motivation."

Andy Hornsby, Group Financial Controller – Lifestyle Europe Limited

“Our Assistant Accountant used to do reconciliation manually,” says Andy. “She can now spend time doing more interesting and useful work, which is great for her motivation.”

Andy says that the main advantages with Groupit have been its ease of use and reliability. The one piece of advice he gives all new users is “get the initial planning right. As the software is specifically tailored for your type of organisation it is crucial to have a clear understanding of your processes. Once we’d got our heads around that, it’s been fantastic.”

Training from Aurum Solutions has been on-site and took only a day of Lifestyle’s time. After-sales service, too, has been perfect. “Everything with Aurum Solutions is proactive and nothing’s too much trouble,” says Andy.

Andy’s team has also put Groupit to another good use: “We take deposits from customers on future vehicle sales. This means a lot of reconciliations that we couldn’t cope with before. But Groupit handles these beautifully, as it does everything else.”

Reconciliation Software

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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