||British Film Institute
& Forte - Working Together
over sixty years ago, the BFI is dedicated to raising awareness of film and
the moving image through its education activities, its extensive collection
and preservation work and its programme of film–related exhibitions and screenings.
The BFI operates the National Film Theatre and the recently completed London
IMAX ® Cinema on London’s South Bank. The BFI employs over 450 people, has
an annual turnover approaching £35m and controls assets of over £45m.
"We particularly appreciated
the support of the Cyberscience Project Manager during this period",
remarked Ian Nelson, Head of Finance and Project Director. The ledgers went
live on time and then provided all requirements for General Ledger, Sales
& Purchase Ledger and Purchasing. It now processes 49,000 purchase invoices
and 12,000 sales invoices per annum. From the start, reporting was an automatic
by-product of the everyday accounting process but BFI personnel, assisted
by Cyberscience consultants, built on this initial provision to provide the
management information which was essential to the organisation.
Ian Nelson sees this as a major advantage - "The
new reporting is significantly better and our in-house use of Cyberquery enables
us to meet all our user demands."
BFI took the decision to replace their character-based financial management
system with a modern system to provide a robust platform for the
continuing development of their management information needs. User-friendliness
was important, as was the ability to provide interfaces to other
systems in use -such as their Performing Rights Management System.
Also high on the agenda was their clear aspiration to use their
in-house report writing skills, making this a key area in any replacement
system. BFI reporting requirements reflect the multiplicity of its
activities and funding and include many views and dimensions reflecting
The selection process was conducted by a Project Director and a
group of key users who subjected all applicants to rigorous examination
and analysis to ensure the required fit against their objectives.
Essential to their choice of Forte Financials was the team’s belief
that Cyberscience and its key employees could provide the support
and cooperation required for this important project. With just three
months to implement, the project team faced a demanding timetable
to put the new system into use.
Recognising that a well-defined Chart of
Accounts is an essential prerequisite to a well-ordered
accounting and management
information system, early attention was
focused on ensuring that the new coding
system met the new demanding requirements.
The flexibility of the Forte coding responded to
that challenge so that Forte provides for each
required perspective as an automatic
consequence of everyday system use.
Similarly, there was a need to control access to
functions and data reflecting the matrix of
budgetary and functional responsibilities that
existed. The access control facilities that are
inherent in the Forte design were utilised to
provide that control.
During the implementation period, Forte
consultants worked closely with the BFI project
team and end-users to ensure that deadlines
and objectives were met. Cyberscience
provided training of key staff and in-house
trainers and this then cascaded through the
organisation using in-house expertise.
Cyberscience technical consultants, working in
cooperation with BFI IT staff, converted
selected static and transaction information
from the old system to Forte. They also
cooperated closely with other system suppliers
to provide interfaces to and from other
Purchasing is a key component of financial control in any organisation.
At the BFI, with any of 250 staff members able to initiate or approve orders
and thus participate in financial decisions, this was particularly important.
Forte was able to fully support the necessary procedures by enforcing division
of duties and assistance with best buying practice.
Once Forte was established, the benefits
began to be realised. One controller now
manages the sales ledger where three were
Automated bank reconciliation and general
savings associated with the purchase ledger
have provided similar savings. Additional
interface automation and internal exception
chasing reports are just examples of other
advantages. Overall, the staffing and
efficiency levels now compare favourably with
those typical of the commercial sector.
There were other tangible and highly visible benefits. Previously, the Management
Reports Pack for the Governors’ Meeting was tabled at the meeting held on
the last Wednesday each month; now it goes out with the agenda on the 15th
– a 7 day saving, that’s 1 week in 3 – a clear and very useful advantage.
Now fully established and providing total
financial control and on-demand financial
information, Forte is well placed to assist BFI
with the challenges of change and the variety of
demands which are inevitable in such a