With £6 million of fixed assets located across multiple offices and employee homes, strong asset management is critical for the Advisory, Conciliation and Arbitration Service (Acas). However, outdated spreadsheet-based processes led to questions over the accuracy of asset values and depreciation and created a significant administrative overhead, both at year-end and in updating asset information throughout the year.
The adoption of capital accounting software from Real Asset Management has enabled Acas to streamline asset management processes, driving down costs. Furthermore, it has enabled the organisation to achieve fixed asset compliance to Modified Historic Cost Accounting (MHCA), providing Acas with an accurate asset valuation for the National Audit Office.
Founded in 1975, the Advisory, Conciliation and Arbitration Service (Acas) provides an independent and impartial service for organisations to prevent and resolve disputes and to build harmonious relationships at work through promoting good employment practice.
Acas is an NDPB, funded by the Department for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform (BERR). It is governed by an independent Council, which enables the organisation to be impartial and confidential.
An independent study has revealed that Acas saves the UK economy £800 million through its combination of information, advice and training and by working with employers and employees to solve issues and improve performance.
The organisation has around 800 staff, based across 11 main regional centres with a head office in London. A number of staff operate from home. The combined values of the fixed assets within the asset register, including IT and telecoms equipment, is in excess of £6 million – by far the most significant part of the balance sheet.
However, Acas’ traditional spreadsheet-based asset recording was simply inadequate to cope with growing auditor demands for in depth information and accurate depreciation. Indeed, with 16,000 assets on the register, it was a time-consuming and cumbersome process to complete both year-end accounting and achieve the MHCA compliance required by central government organisations.
Under MHCA, certain fixed assets are reflected at current values. To achieve compliance, the organisation has to apply specific indices to each asset category as defined by the Office for National Statistics (ONS).
“Each year, Acas had to dedicate at least two staff for two days to manage reconciliation of the fixed asset base and apply the ONS indices,