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Church of England Birmingham’s Journey to Cloud ERP

Church of England Birmingham’s Journey to Cloud ERP

November 9, 2017


Original interview with Natalie Moyce of Xledger UK and Melanie Crooks (FD at CoE Diocese of Birmingham).

Six months after on-boarding (January 2017), Xledger visited the diocese’s Finance Director Melanie Crooks to learn how their journey to cloud ERP went.

The Church of England diocese of Birmingham is part of a large and complex organisation comprising 42 dioceses across England and Europe.  The Birmingham diocese covers 300 square miles and includes parishes in the West Midlands like Birmingham and parts of Solihull, Sandwell, Warwickshire and Worcestershire. The organisation promotes, facilitates and assists advancement of the Christian faith with a clergy and staff team of  around 220, together with (in excess of) 150 parsonages. The team manages complex budgets working with a diverse range of stakeholders, with day to day finance underpinned by voluntary donations from its parishes.

“Xledger helps get timely and accurate information to make key decisions within the business. What was taking us days is now just a press of a button. We now have powerful analysis and visibility of what’s happening within our organisation in real-time.”


The Project

The Diocese of Birmingham came to Xledger in 2016 looking to overcome the challenges of their existing  system. In an accounting system they were looking for something that would fit all accounting requirements and within the wider strategy to reduce time consuming  manual processing, allowing more time for in-depth data analysis for decision makers and to become more cloud-based.

Challenges faced by this diocese were:

  • on-premise system supplemented by a ‘spaghetti of spreadsheets’
  • no meaningful information in an easily accessible format
  • limited data capture
  • excessive manual entry of data
  • lack of visibility across the organisation
  • difficulties with decision making
  • lack of Charity SORP compliance at data entry level

The diocese noticed that most systems on the market were not truly cloud based. They were the old fashioned server-based systems with a cloud veneer. In Xledger they found true cloud and a consistent (end to end) customer journey.


Xledger provided CoE Birmingham with a cost-effective platform, no monthly tie-in and quarterly vendor-side updates. In the first six months the organisation has achieved:

  • revised chart of accounts
  • implemented new processes together with management and reporting structures
  • 25 new users including budget holders
  • implementation of Purchase Ordering
  • embedding of Project Accounting
  • budgeting for in excess of 150 parsonages  with real-time insight


  • deployed integrated system in the cloud
  • agile forecasting system
  • automated banking and accounting functions
  • additional functionality for planning
  • dashboard management and easy reporting
  • support and development with the Xledger team
  • project accounting functionality
  • reporting and analytics in real-time

What the client said

Finance Director Melanie Crooks spoke of how the staff now work in new ways to empower their organisation;

  • The large time saving features really change the way our staff work on a day-day basis.
  • The system is flexible, we can access it anytime and anyplace.
  • The new system has helped us to get timely and accurate information to make key decisions.
  • Xledger has been a catalyst for us – a facilitator of digital change in our organisation.
  • We get extremely timely responses back from our support team every time.

Automation saves us time

“The most immediate challenge Xledger helped us with is paying suppliers. We just go online and we ‘tick tick tick’, review the invoices on the system and BACS just happens.  We don’t have to write cheques, envelope things with compliment slips or put them in the post. Xledger sends a remittance directly to our supplier. And they know what’s been paid and when it is going to come into the bank.”

Being cloud, the system is more flexible and faster

“Being a cloud based system it doesn’t matter where I am I can access it.  I can still be working remotely from anywhere in the world. It is flexible and fits around people’s working practices which has been quite a revolution for us. What was taking someone two days to sort out is now a press of a button.”

Insight and Scalability – real-time visibility is a real step change

“Xledger helps us to get timely and accurate information to help us to make key decisions within the organisation.  It means we have a one stop shop for all data.  It has powerful analysis so there is no need to re-analyse what comes into a different spreadsheet somewhere else. We’ve greater visibility in terms of what is happening within the organisation. Our staff are now better informed as everything is available in real-time.  At the moment staff are finding a whole new way of working – for us it has been a facilitator for digital change.”

Support services at Xledger – extremely timely responses every time

“We received a service called Hypercare (an onboarding support service) at the beginning and the fact that we could email or phone our dedicated support manager Zheng made Xledger really easy to implement and use.  We get extremely timely responses back every time.  That’s so important, when you are learning something and you are stuck. They were virtually immediately on the phone or you we would get an email saying I see what you are doing wrong – here’s a screen print, do this.”

Get in touch

If you are struggling with an old finance management system or are unhappy with your current ERP system, why not get in touch to see how we can help?

Request a no fee no obligation consultation by email or ring our team of experts on 0117 3291050.


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