The latest research by Oracle and Accenture has revealed that in 72% of cases, spreadsheets are still being used to track and manage reporting on a daily basis. Whilst this may not come as a surprise, what is surprising is the number of housing associations still opting for this method to comply with the latest SORP guidelines.
In the lead up to the SORP deadline, Component Accounting and Fixed Asset Management were regularly being mistaken for the same thing in the housing sector, resulting in many housing associations selecting the option of using an existing Fixed Asset Management system or pre-existing spreadsheets in the belief it offered an all-encompassing solution to Component Accounting. Sure, there is no ‘all-in-one’ solution and associations were wise to avoid such temptation.
However, April 2012 marked a turning point for the sector, with many associations facing a drastically increased asset register. With every replaceable asset needing to be accounted for, a spreadsheet simply isn’t a long term viable option. Whilst it may have sufficed in meeting the April SORP deadline, holding thousands of assets on a simple Excel sheet will not give the finance department the information needed to produce the necessary reports.
Many housing associations have had such a strong focus on the deadline; most have failed to notice the long term implications the latest rulings have on them. There is no doubt that spreadsheets have been able to provide a short term fix, but the sector now needs to look at the long term plan and towards specialist component accounting software that has the capability to cope with the depreciation of fixed asset registers at such a large scale.