Aurum could be built to exactly suit our needs.

Jane Baddiley
Retail Accountant, Lakeland

Celebrating sixty years in business, Lakeland has come a long way from supplying bags to farmers. It is now a British institution with over sixty stores across the isles and has even expanded into the Middle East. Key to their growth has been their family ownership and desire to always do business with people that they can develop and sustain close partnerships with.

This ethos is applied not just to their day-to-day retail operations but also those relating to their back office and finance functions. For instance, for many years Lakeland employed a local programmer nearby to their HQ in Windermere to develop and maintain a solution that could reconcile their transactions. However, whilst Lakeland continued to grow, their bespoke programmer was set upon retiring. Suddenly, Lakeland’s reliance on one individual for their reconciliation software was no longer viable.

The solution

Having established a working relationship for over 20 years with their local programmer, Lakeland were in possession of a very efficient and extremely custom reconciliation platform that suited their needs precisely. Finding something that could match their existing set up therefore looked unlikely on paper.

In fact, as they searched it became clear to Jane Baddiley, Retail Accountant, that other “more costly packages, would’ve seen Lakeland take a backward step if adopted, increasing their workload and time spent on reconciliation”. That was until they found Aurum.

Aurum could be built to exactly suit our needs.

Jane Baddiley, Retail Accountant

The results

When beginning a new partnership there is always trepidation, especially when it is centred on a fundamental financial control such as reconciliation. Typically, this becomes heightened when there are various factors in play such as having to import data from over sixty individual branches, weekly Amex files, and various bank statements for three-way reconciliation that Lakeland conducts every week.  

Yet when Lakeland moved away from their in-house system of over 20 years, “it wasn’t painful like we [they] had anticipated” – such is the level of customisation that Aurum can facilitate. In fact, they found a system that was “very easy to use and easy to integrate into our [their] existing systems”.

Aurum is super quick and easy to use.

Jane Baddiley, Retail Accountant

Ultimately, with Aurum in place, Lakeland didn’t have to concede any features that they commonly used and in addition gained peace of mind that they had “a support network in place [for their reconciliation] in the present and for the future”. Along with automatically reconciling all of their transactions in under a minute every week, this has seen them continue to benefit from bespoke features such as:

  • Store codes – with a significant in-person retail presence, Lakeland has masses of tills across their various stores. However, cash is notoriously harder to track and investigate in comparison to digital transactions. Yet with store codes that Lakeland assigns to every shop and Aurum recognising them, when cash transactions are reconciled, Aurum can alert Jane and her peers to the physical store location that anomalies are arising from.
  • Calendar rules – due to processing times differing between cash, credit cards, and Amex, totals on internal files can differ to those that are seen on bank statements. This can be further complicated over bank holidays. Yet with calendar rules, Lakeland can set how long they expect a transaction to clear in advance, enabling auto-matching of transactions to continue to run smoothly without any manual intervention being required.

Whilst these are functions that Lakeland use regularly for their reconciliation, another key benefit they have experienced through their partnership with Aurum is the ease in which additions and alterations can be deployed. Fundamental to this is the Aurum Support Team who facilitate this high level of customisation, making the creation of new reconciliations, or “major changes such as our [their] switch to a new bank after 40 years, quick and straightforward”.

The support from Aurum is very responsive and quick. The team is always keen to help us with any changes.

Jane Baddiley, Retail Accountant

The future

Having worked at Lakeland for 28 years, Jane has witnessed the company grow from 10 to over 60 stores. In her time, she has seen equal development in their finance function, moving from paper ledgers to excel, then in-house software to the deployment of Aurum’s customisable solution.  

The latest instalment in the story of their finance function ensures that Lakeland are not only able to match the level of customisation and speed that their bespoke solution provided them with for many years but that they will be fully supported to continuously adapt and grow in the future.

Solutions used
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