"When Chemco Pharmacy was just a single shop I handled all the accounts myself using Sage 50 software and was buried under the paperwork! When the second shop opened, we simply bought multi-user Sage but when we opened a third branch we could see there would be limitations on our future expansion, so we looked at alternatives.
Now, the branches enter their own information into Twinfield and I bring all of that together with the head office figures and do the accounting for the entire group, up to trial balance.
Previously, we had to sort out the paperwork at head office end but now we just tell the branches what needs to be done and they can get on with it, so it’s much simpler. For example, each branch handles its own purchases and they book the stock into our stock management system. They scan all the invoices and credit notes and these get added to Twinfield where they’re linked to the corresponding journal entries so we can drill down from any figure to check the source documents.
For a pharmacy business it’s very important to have those source documents available to refer to because a single supplier can make 3 or 4 deliveries a day, every day. The paperwork for a single month could easily fill an entire lever-arch file and whether an invoice is for five euros or ten thousand euros, it takes the same amount of time and effort to track it down if you need to check it! But with Twinfield, there’s a scan of every document on the system which can be found in seconds, which saves a lot of time for everyone.
When we’ve done our monthly reconciliation we can email the shops to tell them they’re missing an invoice or they need to chase up a credit note and then we can leave them to get on with it because that’s their responsibility.
This means the process is much easier for head office – I doubt there’s another pharmacy group in the country of our size that can run efficiently with only two full time and one part time member of staff in their accounts team. And because Twinfield makes the bookkeeping side of things so simple, the branches don’t have to employ highly skilled accounting staff, so it costs less, but you still get the oversight from the experienced staff in head office.
Once the accounts have been prepared in Twinfield, our accountant will pull the figures out to prepare management accounts. If there are any adjustments to be made, it’s easy to post these back.
The integration with Excel has been very useful – importing and exporting works brilliantly! It saves a lot of time. We’re now looking at Twinfield Analysis which can automatically generate complex Excel reports and pivot tables directly from the live data.
Because Twinfield is cloud-based, I can log in and look at the figures even when I’m not in the office, so if someone needs something urgently it’s now possible to get it for them. For preparing group accounts, I haven’t come across anything to match Twinfield and I wouldn’t be without it now."
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Founded in 2008, Chemco Pharmacy is a nationwide retail pharmacy group in Ireland which currently operates seven retail outlets plus purchasing, warehouse and distribution facilities.
Working in their head office in Kilkenny, Caroline Larrissey is the company’s Accounts Manager. Here, she talks about the company’s decision to replace Sage with Twinfield and the way in which the software has grown with the business.