Frustrated with old-fashioned financial functionality, the Anglican Diocese of Waiapu have made the move to a new era in the cloud with Fusion5 and NetSuite.
Named after the local river, the Diocese of Waiapu is one of the thirteen dioceses and hui amorangi of the Anglican Church in New Zealand and Polynesia. It provides pastoral care across the East Coast of the North Island of New Zealand, including Tauranga, Taupo, Gisborne, Hastings, and Napier.
Old financial systems
The Diocese had been using a locally developed general accounting software for ten years. However, driven by their growing frustration with its lack of functionality, and a desire to adopt a cloud-based system, the Diocese finance team decided to look for a new solution.
“We just weren’t able to do what we needed to do,” says Colleen Kaye, Diocesan Registrar. “We turn out 55 sets of monthly accounts, and some of our year-end reporting was getting quite complex. We had to dump everything into Excel, which created risks and room for error.”
A steep learning curve
The Anglican Diocese of Waiapu (and their social services arm, Anglican Care Waiapu), went to market for a new financial system through an RFP process. They shortlisted two cloud-based solutions: NetSuite through Fusion5, and a locally developed application.
After a false start with the local product, they reviewed their requirements and sought professional guidance. “We hadn’t spent a huge amount of cash at that stage,” says Colleen, “but we had invested a lot of institutional knowledge. It was a tough decision, but the right one, and we haven’t looked back.”
Finally, they selected Fusion5 to deliver NetSuite for their financials, ApprovalPlus for accounts payable automation, and Workday Adaptive Planning for reporting, forecasting, and budgeting.
The Diocese contains four registered charities, which are required to prepare financial statements in line with government reporting standards, as well as a number of Boards needing detailed monthly reports. Most of the information needed can be pulled straight from NetSuite. But Colleen expects that Workday Adaptive Planning will play an essential role in providing the Diocese with financial and non-financial reporting in the future. “Part of the reason we’re keen on Adaptive is that it sits over a lot of other platforms, particularly in the Social Services area.”
Every month, all the parish reports are also consolidated into one overall report to the Diocese, which Colleen describes as “a huge task”. She is confident that NetSuite will increase the transparency of this process and significantly simplify reporting. And as the Diocese processes around 1500 creditors a month across the organisation, Colleen expects some significant efficiency gains with ApprovalPlus.
A refreshing change
All three systems will be fully implemented by mid-November 2020.
Colleen anticipates her team will be freed up to do more interesting work that’s been on the back burner for a while. And she’s confident that this time around they have a winning solution, saying, “Fusion5 have been accommodating and helpful. Everything they said they’d do, they’ve done, which has been a refreshing experience.”