CHS Group has been using Real Asset Management’s (RAM) component accounting software to manage its £210 million asset base since 2011. Eager to upgrade from its previous spreadsheet based system when component accounting was first introduced, CHS Group recognised that the sheer volume of data resulting from the componentisation of its assets would be too difficult and arduous to manage.
Established in 1927, CHS Group is a charitable housing association providing high quality and good value affordable housing for 7,000 people across Cambridgeshire, together with support, care and community services to a further 2,000 residents. It works to support people to achieve a better quality of life and offers good value services that all of its staff are very proud of. With almost 400 employees, CHS Group owns and manages 2,336 affordable and 343 shared ownership homes.
Under SORP 2010, CHS Group saw its asset register increase from approximately 2,000 property records to 26,000 componentised assets and the implementation of RAM’s software at that time proved a sound decision. James Khan, Management Accountant at CHS Group comments, “We needed a specialist asset management solution which would facilitate a smooth transition to component accounting whilst also having the flexibility to deal with future changes in regulations. The RAM system came highly recommended by many other housing associations and has stood us in good stead in not only meeting SORP regulations but also the recent FRS 102 requirements.”
Khan continues, “Accounting tasks relating to the depreciation and reconciliation of our housing assets are performed much more efficiently since using RAM’s software. We are now able to conduct more thorough analysis and slice and dice the data as required, enabling us to forecast and forward plan more accurately.”
The software is used in conjunction with CHS Group’s finance system, Great Plains, which affords increased efficiencies, particularly at month end. It reports and collates information in a format which is imported into the finance system, providing the team with more visibility and control.
CHS Group has now made the move over to FRS 102 and is particularly impressed by how painless the process proved to be. Khan comments, “RAM has enabled us to cope with the recent FRS 102 changes with a minimum of disruption. A RAM implementation manager worked with us on-site and performed a data conversion which enabled us to become FRS 102 compliant within days.”
Khan continues, “Having the support and expertise of such a specialist partner throughout this process has been invaluable. It would have taken us weeks to undertake the reconciliation and data conversion exercise. As important, the peace of mind of being able to accurately report both pre and post conversion results for audit purposes has been priceless.”
The working relationship between CHS Group and RAM continues to be strong. Khan concludes, “Everybody that I have dealt with at RAM, from our account manager and implementation consultants to the technical support team have all been excellent. Solutions have always been found for any problem or challenge that we have encountered and responses are always very timely. We are kept informed at every stage and all in all, RAM provides a fantastic customer service.”