“As a church and charity we have witnessed an increase in the demand of the services we provide to support the social changes in society, in turn this has also required us to look closely into where we can make changes to increase our capacity to serve our communities. We recently implemented a new accounting system, which is designed to relieve the burden of heavy financial administration from our front line centres to further help them focus on helping the most vulnerable people in the UK with the Republic of Ireland – we’re confident that we’ll reap the benefits of this. As with any major system implementation which includes significant changes in business processes, there have been some challenges – we have over 1000 centres across the UK that serve thousands of people with everything from hot meals and shelter to employment services and older people’s service.
“However, we want to take this opportunity to unreservedly apologise for the delay in some of our suppliers receiving payment for invoices and the added pressure this has had on some of our officers and staff. We recognise that as we strive for stringent accounting processes across the country, there have been issues that have slowed us down, but we remain committed to accountability and fair business and we want to reassure people that we are taking all actions necessary, to ensure smooth operations going forward.
“Big changes do take time but in the long term we know that the new system will improve our efficiency of operations, particularly for our officers, staff and volunteers who work to serve on the front line in their communities. In the meanwhile our teams are fully committed to working through the challenges of implementing this new accounting system as swiftly as possible. We’d like to thank everyone for their patience and understanding.”
Why did you review your financial accounting system? The Salvation Army implemented a new financial accounting system to suit a more front-line approach; it is designed to enable more focus on community outreach and work, and to relieve the burden of administration on front-line teams. The new system was put in place to move away from a cash organisation system to a system of increased accountability, which is fully integrated from procurement to payment. We also required updating our previous system to a new one, which increases transparency and accountability in our systems.
Has there been any impact on local centres? The transition from accounts payable at a local level to bringing it in centrally has had an impact; many of our officers and staff have experienced added pressure while some of our suppliers have experienced payment delays. We are sorry that these challenges had an impact, but we are confident that we are putting solutions in place to address those initial difficulties and that we will reap the benefits of the new accounting system.
Why were there delays in paying bills? Some bills have taken a long time to be paid and this has been due to the sheer scale of implementing the new accounting system. We do recognise that since the implementation of our new finance system, that there have been some operational issues. The action that we have taken to address this is to increase the staff project team at our headquarters in London on a temporary basis to clear backlog of payments and ensure that urgent payments are dealt with swiftly. At this stage we are satisfied that outstanding payments are being processed.
Are my donations affected? No, the new accounting system has had no effect on the way we process public donations.