Guinness Northern Counties has gone live with service charge management software from Opus Information Technology and has just completed its first set of accounts for its rented and right-to-buy properties.
The customised Ensemble software from Opus IT extends Guinness Northern Counties’ existing Falcon tool for service charge management developed by Opus IT in 2007, covering 1,200 housing schemes and more than 26,000 properties. While Falcon dealt with scheme-wide service charges, Ensemble was fully operational in April 2011 to cover actual spend and right-to-buy tenants.
Ensemble, which was configured to reflect Guinness Northern Counties’ specific management structure, breaks down fixed and variable service charge costs enabling budgets and tenant accounts to be produced automatically and budgets to be reviewed by actual costs versus projections. In addition, highly-individual service charge idiosyncracies were covered through additional development.
Service charge transformation
Georgina Beard, home ownership finance manager, Guinness Northern Counties, said, “We have transformed the way we manage our service charges. By introducing Ensemble, we can now manage actual spend and monitor it against budget. The accounts production process has been simplified, with an improved level of collaboration now possible between our different teams.
“Ensemble’s integration with our existing document system and the ability to call up scanned invoices relating to individual costs at the touch of a button has streamlined our accounting processes.”
Heidi Waites, managing director, Opus IT, said, “The Ensemble system is extremely flexible and can deal with thousands of properties in the case of Guinness Northern Counties or just a few hundred for smaller housing providers. Highly-individual service charge idiosyncracies are all par for the course.”