Millennium Raising Futures Kenya Golf Day 2022

We raised £4,500 for Raising Futures Kenya

There’s something about the annual Millennium Raising Futures Kenya Golf Day that seems to bring out the best in the UK weather and this year was no exception. Of course, bright sunshine is normally accompanied by grey clouds and this proved to be the case on Friday at Westerham, Kent.

The players assembled to compete for the coveted Millennium Golf Challenge trophy and this year it was the Europeans who emerged victorious, ably captained by Ray Seamer, a legend in Millennium circles.

The individual scratch winner was Gordon O’Malley on 77 and Stableford winners were Derek Mcateer and Jane Keet with 42 points apiece. Other prizes were awarded for the longest drive, closest to the flag and best turned out team.

A post-round dinner followed the golf and afterwards Kirsty Erridge of Raising Futures Kenya provided an insight into the activities taking place on the ground in Kenya and demonstrated the value of the support we provide.

Thanks are due to our corporate Sponsors, Unit4, ICorp, Hennessy IT Consulting, Sound Integration and Arbonne International as well as the gifts many of the players such as Fiskars Group and Derek Mcateer provided on the day.

Here are some of the highlights:

The day generated £4,500 for Raising Futures Kenya and the money will be put to good use helping young Kenyans.

We look forward to reconvening in 2023 for the next event and the date and location will be announced in the coming months. We welcome new participants so if you would like to play next year then contact the Millennium team who will be happy to update you with the details.


Looking at the Diary Function in Unit4 Financials

Discover how the diary functionality within Unit4 Financials helps ensure that key tasks are actioned or followed up at the right time…

What is the diary function?

The diary function can be used with Documents and Elements in Unit4 Financials. You can use it to record actions you have taken, as well as for setting reminders for new events and follow-up actions.

Credit control is an obvious area where the diary function proves particularly useful. For instance, you can create a diary event as a reminder to check the payment status of a specific invoice or to telephone a particular customer. You can also create diary events to record the fact that an action has been taken (e.g., the date on which a chasing letter was sent to a customer).

More generally, you can use the function to set reminders for events such as appointments and submission deadlines.

Accessing the diary function

Diary events can be applied to a whole debtor account, an element, or to an individual transaction (a Document).

The diary is available in the following areas:

• Browse details & matching. This allows notes to be applied to individual transactions.

• Age debt reports & account summary. This allows notes to be applied to whole accounts and individual transactions.

Every diary event is assigned to a relevant financial user. The assigned user is then responsible for ensuring the event is actioned.

To edit events for an element or document, you need write access to the element master.

For a document line, you must have ‘write’ access to the line. When you attempt to save a diary event or make changes to that event, validation checks are made. If the event is not valid, the reason for the error is displayed.

Viewing diary events

You can view diary events associated with any company or element you have access to.

Your personal diary can be viewed by going to Finance > Enquiries > Diary. This provides a simple view of your diary events, allowing you to quickly identify which events are due, along with the priority status for each event (high, medium, or low).

Watch the diary function in action

In this Spotlight video, we illustrate how the diary function works in practice. We also take a closer look at how to use your personal diary, along with the masters behind the diary.

For further advice on configuring your diary or any other aspect of Unit4 Financials, our consultants are always happy to help. To put our expertise to work, contact Millennium Consulting today.

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Unit4 Financials 2022 Q2 Release

Unit4 Financials 2022 Q2 Release

Unit4 Financials 2022Q2 was made available on 7th June 2022.

The new release contains all the previous Unit4 Financials functionality and new features. Plus, many additional customer requested fixes, highlighting the importance of logging enhancements via Unit4’s Community 4U.

Highlights of the release include:

Finance

  • Browse Transactions
  • Statement Processing

Billing

  • Billing Browse

Console

  • Client Secret

Administration

  • Customiser
  • Print Formatter
  • Workflow Designer
  • XL for Finance and Procurement
  • Removed feature – XL Scheduler

General Fixes/Updates

  • The AppParams WebService no longer fails with the error “Invalid document version”.
  • Customiser now allows the height to be changed for the comment object on an account summary.
  • In Generic Browse ‘Select all lines’ is no longer limited to the current page.
  • Customiser can now open customisations when container managed authentication is used.
  • Webservices licence is no longer required for Print Formatter and Workflow Designer.
  • Metadata upgrade now sets the object definition key type correctly.
  • Performance has been improved in Billing Browse when opening sales invoices with a large number lines.
  • Billing can now issue/reissue invoices without attachments, when ‘Send related attachments’ is set on the output device master.
  • Authorising an element with an attachment no longer fails with a database deadlock.
  • Budget Check and Commitments are now calculated correctly for companies with Financial Periods not matching calendar months.
  • WebServices/XMLi has been has been changed to disallow an unbalanced match when matching and using commit.
  • Element Template number ranges are now set correctly when using copy company and using the target save function across companies.
  • Element authorisation now can handle more than 10 left or right list entries.
  • Bank reconciliation no longer loses the selected status on rows when ‘Include selected’ is used.
  • Pay write now handles values with more than 2 decimal places correctly.
  • Pay write now handles very high values correctly.
  • Drill down to commitments from Browse Balance now returns data correctly.
  • Element Table Link has been changed to handle larger volumes of updates without having an ‘out of memory’ error.
  • ITK can now handle extracting and transforming larger volumes of data.
  • Punchout no longer fails when an invalid lead time is received.

The Release Notes detailing the fixes and features within this release can be found in the Documentation area on Unit4’s Community 4U.

Read here to find out when Financials updates are scheduled for 2022, along with important information for legacy V13 and V14 users.

Is it time to upgrade?

Find out more

Using Flexi-Fields in Unit4 Financials

In the first part of this blog series, ‘Introducing Flexi-Fields in Unit4 Financials’, we showed how the flexi-fields function can significantly enhance the quality of information you can hold on any element or transaction in Unit4 Financials. In case you missed it, read the article here.

As a follow-up, here is a closer look at how flexi-fields can enrich your reporting and other key processes…

How do flexi-fields tie into Unit4 Financials reporting and browsing?

Unit4 Financials has built flexi-fields into all its reporting functionality.

For generic browsing, you can incorporate flexi-fields into a metadata table. Through metadata, you can produce a generic browse report.

The same applies to browse transactions. Again, this function is dependent on metadata, so if you build the flexi-field into the data view, you will be able to browse the transactions through that facility.

Unit4 has also built flexi-fields into older reporting facilities such as browse balance, browse details, browse ledger and aging and account summary.

If you are looking at selectors, presenters or browse balance masters, you will see that the option is there to add flexi-fields into those reports.

How do you add the flexi-field?

In all the instances above, it is simply a matter of creating the flexi-field and adding it to the appropriate report master.

How is flexi-field information shown in outputs?

For items such as invoices, remittances, customer statements and reminder letters, you can build flexi-fields into your print formats. The one main exception where flexi-fields are not available is in connection with procurement and invoice matching. Within procurement you can integrate user-defined fields, which work in a comparable way.

How do flexi-fields benefit your business?

This handy function effectively transforms Financials from a set of interconnected ledgers into a fully-fledged information system.

Previously, users were limited to just a handful of reference fields for documents and elements. Now, through a combination of element and transactional flexi-fields, there is no limit on the categories or volume of information you can attach.

Best of all, this information is both reportable and browsable – and can be automatically integrated into key outputs such as invoices, remittances, and reminder letters, helping to reduce your transactional burden even further.

How do you add the flexi-field?

In all the instances above, it is simply a matter of creating the flexi-field and adding it to the appropriate report master.

How is flexi-field information shown in outputs?

For items such as invoices, remittances, customer statements and reminder letters, you can build flexi-fields into your print formats. The one main exception where flexi-fields are not available is in connection with procurement and invoice matching. Within procurement you can integrate user-defined fields, which work in a comparable way.

How do flexi-fields benefit your business?

This handy function effectively transforms Financials from a set of interconnected ledgers into a fully-fledged information system.

Previously, users were limited to just a handful of reference fields for documents and elements. Now, through a combination of element and transactional flexi-fields, there is no limit on the categories or volume of information you can attach.

Best of all, this information is both reportable and browsable – and can be automatically integrated into key outputs such as invoices, remittances, and reminder letters, helping to reduce your transactional burden even further.

Watch flexi-fields in action

For a flavour of what flexi-fields can do in the context of a project (just one of many possible applications), look at this video:

For further tips on getting the most out of flexi-fields, upgrading from legacy versions or any aspect of process optimisation, our Unit4 Financials expert consultants are always glad to pass on their knowledge.

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Unit4 Financials ‘Ask an Expert’ Event: Invoice Matching

Unit4 Financials ‘Ask an Expert’ Event: Invoice Matching

Thursday 25th August

09.00 a.m. US ET/2.00 p.m. GMT/3.00 p.m. CET

Duration: 30 minutes


Join Millennium’s Unit4 Financials ‘Ask an Expert’ event. Presented by Millennium’s Principal consultant, Phil Leaf.

Hosted by Unit4 Elite Partner – Millennium Consulting, this event is open to all Unit4 Financial Users.

The event will focus on Invoice Matching.

This event is also an opportunity to ask any questions you may have regarding any current challenges you have with your Unit4 Financials system.

Register today

N.B. this webinar will be hosted via Microsoft Teams, and you will receive a link to the session after registering.


Phil Leaf

Systems Architect/Principal Consultant at Millennium Consulting

Phil Leaf is one of the world’s leading experts in the use of Unit4 Financials.

He has over 25 years of experience providing strategic advice, project management, implementation and migration services for clients across the globe.

His specialties include adding value to Unit4 (Coda) Financials through bespoke development e.g. Automatic EDI invoices to Invoice Matching, Automated Bank Statement Processing & Reconciliation, etc.

He has performed many Systems Reviews for clients who have subsequently achieved substantial efficiency gains and reduced operational risk.

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Unit4 Financials ‘Ask an Expert’ Event: Archiving

Unit4 Financials ‘Ask an Expert’ Event: Archiving

Thursday 28th July

09.00 a.m. US ET/2.00 p.m. GMT/3.00 p.m. CET

Duration: 30 minutes


Join Millennium’s Unit4 Financials ‘Ask an Expert’ event. Presented by Millennium’s Principal consultant, Phil Leaf.

Hosted by Unit4 Elite Partner – Millennium Consulting, this event is open to all Unit4 Financial Users.

The event will focus on how to optimise Archiving.

Over time, your Unit4 Financials system may accumulate high transactional data volumes, often going back many years and this is likely to have a detrimental impact on system performance. It is therefore advisable to archive older data that is no longer required whilst at the same time ensuring it is easily accessible should the need arise. Historic data should be securely archived, stored safely and made accessible for audit purposes.

This event is also an opportunity to ask any questions you may have regarding any current challenges you have with your Unit4 Financials system.

Register today

N.B. this webinar will be hosted via Microsoft Teams, and you will receive a link to the session after registering.


Phil Leaf

Systems Architect/Principal Consultant at Millennium Consulting

Phil Leaf is one of the world’s leading experts in the use of Unit4 Financials.

He has over 25 years of experience providing strategic advice, project management, implementation and migration services for clients across the globe.

His specialties include adding value to Unit4 (Coda) Financials through bespoke development e.g. Automatic EDI invoices to Invoice Matching, Automated Bank Statement Processing & Reconciliation, etc.

He has performed many Systems Reviews for clients who have subsequently achieved substantial efficiency gains and reduced operational risk.

CONNECT VIA LINKEDIN

Introducing Flexi-Fields in Unit4 Financials

Flexi-fields in Unit4 Financials gives you an easy way to define and capture key data within your Financials management system. This function helps deliver more complete and relevant information, helping your people make better decisions faster.

Read on for the full lowdown on different flexi-field types, and how you can put them to work.

What are flexi-fields?

Flexi-fields first appeared in Unit4 Financials in Version 13. These were element flexi-fields. A further category, transactional flexi-fields, was added in Version 14. Here’s a closer look at each category:

You can use this type of flexi-field to define an attribute (i.e., a characteristic or feature) of an element. An element can be, for example, a particular supplier, customer, department, or project.

Against each element, you can use flexi-fields to define multiple points of information. In the case of an element relating to a customer for instance, you could set up flexi-fields relating to customer type, geographic location, source, date of first purchase (among many others).

Element flexi-field information is fixed against that element. You can alter the attributes of the element at any time, but until you do so, it will remain fixed.

Transactional flexi-fields are an extension of transactional information. Rather than being fixed, these fields are dependent on the actual document you are inputting.

What form can a flexi-field take?

There are various data types:

• Flexi-fields can be formed of text, either in free format or set up in a drop-down list
• A table (this applies to transactional flexi-fields only)
• A number, either with or without decimal places
• A date
• An element – i.e. you could have an element flexi-field linked to another element/
• A checkbox

How can flexi-fields be used?

Projects:

Having set up an element for a specific project, you can use flexi-fields to assign multiple attributes to it. Typically, these might include the project type, project manager, and start and finish date (among potentially many others).

Tables:

Again, taking the example of a project, you could manage milestones in a table. You can do this by making use of transactional flexi-fields to hold and manage further, more granular information that is specific to that particular milestone or ‘transaction’ – e.g. the consultancy type, consultancy grade and consultant name for the milestone.

Suppliers:

On an element flexi-field level, you could hold information such as the date the supplier was approved, supplier type (wholesale, retail etc), average annual spend and average lead time. Again, this can be used in conjunction with transactional flexi-fields for transaction-specific information.

Sector-specific example 1: Insurance Services

Let’s take the example of a marine insurer. If you assign an element to a particular policy, you can use element flexi-fields to cover all the ancillary information relevant to the policy. Example fields may include vessel name, gross tonnage, year built, policy inception date etc.

Sector-specific example 2: Logistics

A logistics specialist may find it useful to assign an element to each fleet vehicle. Element flexi-fields can then be used to log details such as vehicle type, date of registration and tax/MOT compliance information. Alongside this, information that needs to be regularly updated (service records, for instance) could be stored and managed in a table using transactional flexi-fields.

Find out more

For further information on flexi-fields and how they work in conjunction with reporting, take a look at our additional article, ‘Using Flexi-fields in Unit4 Financials’.

To see it in action, our Unit4 Financials Spotlight video includes a demo on how to use it.

For further practical advice on starting out with flexi-fields or optimising your current processes, our Unit4 Financials experts are always happy to help. To ensure you are maximising the full potential of your financial management solution, please do get in touch.


Unit4 Financials Product Focus Brochure

Unit4 Financials Product Focus Brochure


Best-in-class financial management with unrivalled flexibility, scalability, and interoperability.

No matter how demanding or complex your requirements, Unit4 Financials rises to the challenge. It delivers the “multi-everything” (country, company, currency, language, deployment, product lines and many other dimensions) capabilities that you need so that you both meet specific local accounting requirements and maintain global consistency, visibility and control.

Download Brochure to read more

Hythe Beach Clean

Hythe Beach Clean

Thursday 14th July 2022
2.00 p.m. till 4.30 p.m GMT


As part of our Green Agenda, Millennium Consulting is undertaking a beach/canal area clean on Thursday 14th July 2022.

Litter pickers and refuse bags will be provided by Folkestone & Hythe District Council.

  • Families welcome
  • Dogs on leads welcome (please note seasonal dog restrictions apply on the beach)
  • Boots or wellies are advised, as well as raincoats, sun hats, suncream, etc.

Join us at Hythe beach/canal to help remove litter and tackle the marine plastics problem. We are meeting in front of the Hythe and Saltwood Sailing club at 2.00 pm.


A few highlights from our last beach clean in July 2021:


How to align your Accounts Payable and purchasing process to deliver maximum ROI

Guest post from Millennium Consulting Partner, Proactis

(Author: Andy Hamilton)

We live in competitive, and often volatile times. So, aligning your purchasing and accounts payable (AP) processes is a crucial step towards efficiency and agility – without which, your organisation could be exposed to increased risk, a lack of control, reduced productivity and an operating model which is wasting money, rather than saving it.

Over the last few months, I’ve had some very interesting discussions with senior Finance and Procurement leaders who are reaping the rewards and demonstrating a clear ROI by successfully aligning these two processes as part of their digital evolution. Although many organisations have already started on the journey, most are not yet achieving the full benefits possible, because their processes aren’t aligned. So, they remain exposed to maverick buying, extended and inefficient purchasing timescales, duplicate invoices, late payments and a general lack of true spend visibility.

British Land is one example of an organisation that has successfully aligned these two processes, helping them improve their business performance to process over 10,000 purchase orders and 25,000 invoices per year. This new approach to purchase orders and electronic invoicing provides improved levels of accuracy, control and transparency, as well as a transformed finance function that delivers continuous ROI.

With these thoughts in mind, I want to share 3 steps that could help you begin to align your purchasing and AP processes to deliver maximum ROI for your business strategy:

To truly align your purchasing and AP processes, you first need to understand how these processes are currently performing. This will not only highlight what you’re doing well, but also where improvements can be made. Once you’ve understood your current processes and how they’re working, you should look at whether they’re meeting your current KPIs and whether they’re driving tangible business outcomes. If you haven’t already set KPIs, they are invaluable in helping you establish what your performance looks like vs industry benchmarks or industry peers. They are also critical in supporting the creation of a business case based on what needs to change, promoting stakeholder collaboration and accountability and, if appropriate, helping you identify the right technology partner to deliver an ROI against them. Once you’ve completed these steps, you’ll have a better idea of:

· The cost savings and process efficiencies that are achievable.
· An understanding of the cost to your organisation of ongoing sub-optimal performance – the “cost of doing nothing”.
· A clear statement of the business outcomes that you want to achieve.
· A supporting business case which justifies any request for investment to deliver the change required.

Understanding your processes is crucial for your evolution, so look at what you do now, and work out what you can do better. This is where choosing the right technology partner is vital.

Once you have performed a methodical and complete review of your current processes, you should consider the technology you are using to manage these processes – is it suitable? Are there gaps? Do those gaps cost you money, or make you inefficient? Can you see what you need to confidently to manage your business, or do you have to guess/make assumptions? The technology, and the vendor supplying it, should be the bedrock of all your processes, and as a result, must be aligned with your business objectives and able to provide you with all the tools you need to drive maximum ROI. Sadly, I still hear of vendors supplying technology that do not:

· Assess customer needs correctly.
· Understand business objectives and KPIs.
· Understand the importance that people place in the process.
· Care for the vision of the customer and their journey.

The right solution provider should help you lay the foundations for success from the outset, and beyond. You need a partner that will work with you along the way. One that will have you up and running within an agreed time frame and help you to continuously improve and monitor progress against your current objectives and KPIs. On top of this, any software must integrate seamlessly into your existing Unit4 Financials system. This is the only way of ensuring maximum ROI, control, and limited disruption. Best-of-breed providers, or software partners, such as Proactis can help you do this.

The University of Essex, a Unit4 user and long-term Proactis customer, recently took the decision to extend its solution to incorporate Proactis Invoice Capture. This has not only helped them further automate their processes, but it also ensures that it now has full control and visibility of the ordering and invoicing processes, from technology provider it could trust.

As part of your digital evolution, a simple, but effective policy that I often come across is employing a “No PO, No Pay” policy. Proactis has several customers that use this to help align and support processes. Such a policy means that if an invoice arrives at the AP department with no PO number associated with it, the invoice will automatically not be paid. The benefits of such a simple, but effective policy include:

· All spend being accounted for.
· Increased compliance.
· Reduced invoice error handling.
· Prompt payment of invoices.
· Peace of mind!

I find that some organisations are still struggling to implement this. And this is because, for such a policy to succeed, you need to understand that implementing such a policy is a journey. “No PO, No Pay” is not a magic wand that will fix everything in one go, but with the right mindset, technology, technology partner and understanding of your current processes, it can deliver value.

Wolverhampton City Council, a Council that services over 250,000 residents, has been able to introduce such a policy and, as a result, has been able to streamline its invoice payment process, increase spend visibility and reduce its supplier base from 25,000 to less than 7,000.

Summary

To summarise, the 3 steps above are things you can do to successfully understand and align your purchasing and accounts payable (AP) processes, and in doing so, deliver increased efficiency and agility to your organisation, as well as a healthy ROI. I’d be very interested to learn where you are in your process automation journey, and how Proactis can help you achieve your goals.

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