Elton Estates Co is the operating company for the Elton Estate which has been in the Proby family since the 17th Century. It included Elton Hall which is a large Grade 1 Country House. Elton Hall contains many treasures including magnificent furniture and fine paintings from early fifteenth century Old Masters to pre-Raphaelite work of Alma Tadema and Millais as well as work by Gainsborough, Constable and Reynolds. The Hall itself is surrounded by formal gardens, parkland, woods and a lake, and through sound management the Estate has retained much of its land, has many properties, both commercial and residential, waterways, farm and other land. Income also comes from the Hall open days, events, hire of rooms, weddings and shoots.
The requirements for an accounting programme include combining basic applications with more advanced features such as bespoke reports, sales and purchase orders and stock analysis. In addition, as with many estates the facilities for the system to run on a multi-accounts and a multi-user basis are a necessity.
The Estate had purchased KEY Accounts in 2003 but at the time only needed the basic package and were managing a lot of work with Excel spreadsheets. I started in early 2014 coming from a school background where the obvious requirement of compliance to DfE standards was joined by the further criteria of an up to date, fully integrated system that could be accessed remotely with the Governors and the Local Authority. With this experience i could see that streamlining the accounting process for the Estate would reduce the time spent on mundane chores, keep the financial integrity and offer the owners more confidence for their decision making, so after speaking with Landmark, other users, and seeing the actual software we decided that KEYPrime would suit.
Jo Lutey, our Landmark adviser visited the Estate and talked through the process. She extracted the data into spreadsheets which gave us the opportunity to de-clutter the database, re-profile the nominal and analysis codes, and sort those few annoying transactions that follow you around year to year. Two days later the new programme arrived in the post.
Once installed onto the computer the migration process was very straightforward, as was the training. Jo planned three morning visits with weekly intervals that gave me the time to use the programme between visits, and vitally to have a list of questions ready for her.
KEYPrime Accounts is user friendly, and once started, any queries I had were quickly dealt with via a phone call. Of course it wasn't all plain sailing, mostly user error, but the couple of glitches that did occur were quickly remedied by the Landmark team. Its biggest feature is that it is responsive.
KEYPrime has a simple look and feel, and the ease of use replaces the frustrations of the old KEY. So what do I think Landmark could offer next as an upgrade to KEYPrime - an at a glance dashboard which provides a snapshot of how the business is doing every morning would be nice!