ERP Serves Crucial
Ironbridge Gorge Museum
Ironbridge needed to upgrade its business systems to handle major growth in its activities.
Greentree offers a seamless package for all accounting and reporting needs.
Many hours are saved in generating reports, business performance is readily visible across the organisation, and decision-making is greatly improved.
“Managing multiple income streams is a major challenge for us; while we’re largely self-funding from our commercial entities, as a charity we also have a number of different grants that all need their own reporting and accounting treatment. Greentree gives us the flexibility to manage those various streams and enables us to generate reports quickly and easily.”Anna Brennand is the CEO of the Ironbridge Gorge Museum Trust, one of the first World Heritage sites designated in the UK, which operates 10 museums within its Shropshire location. The museums are one of the leading tourist attractions in the West Midlands, displaying the historic achievements of the Industrial Revolution.Education and heritage conservation are the Trust’s twin goals; the site hosts half a million visitors a year, including 70,000 school trips. The Trust is served by a staff of more than 200, supported by about 1,000 volunteers.
Primitive system had to goWhen Anna joined the Trust as Deputy CEO and Director of Finance & Resources, she was surprised by its archaic DOS-based accounting system.“The system was almost unusable” Anna recalls. “Reporting was non-existent and GL setup was too restricted. My first priority was to change that.”The primitive accounting system stemmed from the days when the Trust was a much smaller operation. Subsequent redevelopment included retail shops, catering outlets, and a large conference and banqueting business, Steadily increasing visitor numbers and greater competition from other tourist attractions meant the Trust needed a modern ERP system.“All the multiple income streams were hard to manage,” says Anna. “There was no way of tracking what was coming in and what it should be used for. Reporting was very hit-and-miss and we were too reliant on manual spreadsheets.”
Seamless and flexibleAnna knew that the Trust needed a mid-range ERP system that required as few bolt-ons or interfaces as possible. A visit to an IT expo introduced her to Greentree, which was demonstrated along with Sage 200 and Microsoft Access.“I liked that Greentree was a seamless package, so we didn’t need interfaces with other systems to do all the stuff that we wanted. The key point for me, however, was Greentree’s flexibility. The Financial Reporting Engine in Excel (FREE) meant that we could easily extract and import data, then interrogate right down to the transactional level so we could handle the multiple income streams without having a GL that was out of control.”
“A massive transformation”Today, Anna has a system that has helped reduce hours of work in generating monthly reports to a matter of minutes.“If I want to look at why something is over or under budget and compare to last year or last month, it’s very quick and easy for me to interrogate,” she says. “You don’t have to be in the GL system or be an accounting person to receive really good quality information. We also use the tree codes extensively to manage our multiple income streams.”Greentree has enabled Ironbridge to consolidate all its financial information into a single database and various donor contributions are now all readily visible.“We’ve saved time and paperwork, and we now have a better view of our KPIs, which enables better decision-making,” says Anna. “It’s been a massive transformation.”
Robust system for busy timesThe Ironbridge Trust has plenty of future plans, including multi-million-pound redevelopment projects that will further boost visitor numbers while ensuring the conservation of all the heritage assets in its care.“Robust reporting is key for any organisation,” Anna concludes. “Without data your decision-making and processes are flawed. The Trust has been through a lot of change in the years since we implemented Greentree. It still perfectly meets our requirements and I know it has the capability to continue to do that.”