North East Media
North East Newspapers, a division of Provincial Press Group, publishes local newspapers focusing on community issues in North East Victoria. Serving the community for over eighty years, this independent news and information company is based in Wangaratta, Victoria with offices in Myrtleford, Mansfield and Surrey Hills in Melbourne.
The company is also involved in related businesses with offices in Healesville, Yarra Junction, Monbulk and Laverton North.
Together with its network of publications, specialist journals and magazines, North East Newspapers also has a growing company web presence plus numerous other specialist sites including a partnership with Victoria’s Real Estate Institute.
North Eastern Newspapers urgently needed a business management solution to unite its multiple divisions allowing process integration, automation and ease of overall financial consolidation and reporting.
Numerous challenges needed to be addressed. Due to the multi divisional aspect of this company – with each division utilizing separate databases, the ability to obtain a quick and holistic business overview of all companies was compromised and only achieved after much manual processing and consolidation.
Furthermore, the processing of BPay Payments – key to advertising revenues – was not possible.
As the company did not have a customer relationship management system, many processes such as debt collection and subscriptions were processed manually thereby reducing efficacy.
Key to operations but also lacking, was integration with a Payroll package.
The maintenance and consistency of handling separate divisions with 25000 customers over all divisions required an immediate solution.
Summary of solution
Sage 200 Evolution’s strength lies in its focus on business activity management functionality interwoven into the core of the accounting application.
Solutions for database efficiencies and management software to enable ease of growth have been provided in the form of:
CRM – (Contact Management) – providing a holistic view of the business by integrating business activity data with numbers. This integration has provided North East Newspapers with the ability to control not only their financial situation but their relationships with customers, suppliers and employees, not previously available.
UDFs – (User Defined Fields) – allowing for adding fields as and when required to capture information that can be used for forms, reports, grids, etc. such as Bpay fields;
Flexibility of software where key files can be displayed in a desired format, grouping and sorting as required and the ability to export for marketing.
SQL database allows for handling very high volumes – with customers in excess of 25,000 – in one consolidated database;
Ability to integrate third party applications. Annexa assisted with a customisation by integrating Synergy Software (Paper Layout Software) whereby advertisements booked via Synergy are invoiced and exported directly into Evolution daily.
Integration with Microsoft Office, allows for efficient e-mailing of transactions/invoices/statements, previously a labour intensive process.
Payroll integration eliminates manual journal creation.
Evolution Report Builder is more flexible: Invoice/statement details have a lot more information for customers of each transaction eliminating unnecessary customer enquiries.
Previously, where subscriptions were handled manually, now this is automated and one database is utilised to run an invoice batch which prints labels as well.
Further benefits in the form of add-on modules such as:
Cash Manager – works efficiently with the SQL database while assisting with debt collections;
BIC (Business Intelligence Centre) – management reporting module utilizing and linking to Microsoft Excel with the ability to customize reports and allowing for greater depth of reporting and scheduling.
The benefit of combining all divisions into one efficient company database and utilising segmented General Ledger for all divisions was the main motivating factor to move to Sage 200 Evolution. Annexa have had the pleasure of providing services for over 20 years to North East Newspapers initially with a DOS System, then Pastel Partner and now Sage 200 Evolution.
Immediate results were realized with the automation of many processes and far greater options available with recurring processes set-up such as journal batches.
By the end of the first month, up to the minute reporting across all divisions, providing a consolidated view of operations was achieved. The ability to sort, group, filter data and ease of export for a variety of daily tasks not previously available, is of major benefit.
The process of receipting transactions, allocations and enquiries being available in one database has also been an enormous benefit. Automated Supplier Payment/Remittance/EFT performed in one process and not from third party products. Bank reconciliations are now performed weekly, freeing up a month end bottleneck.
Customers with separate accounts across the divisions, have now been converted to one account, thereby increasing the levels of efficiency. General processing functions can be performed such as renumbering codes without a lengthy individual access requirement process.
With the assistance of Annexa, North East Newspapers has achieved its objectives of consolidating its databases across all divisions, automating processes, increasing efficacy of processes and providing immediate reporting across all divisions. Long term benefits will also apply in an increased level of efficiency and ease of handling future challenges and growth.