Blackpool Housing Company (BHC) was set up by Blackpool Council to purchase, renovate, and let central Blackpool properties, which had become derelict in recent years with the downturn in tourism.
Paul Whitehead, Director of Finance and Resources, joined Blackpool Housing Company (BHC) in 2017 when it was virtually a start-up, managing only a few properties. BHC was using spreadsheets for all its business planning and financial forecasting, but as the company grew, these spreadsheets had become increasingly complicated and challenging to manage.
This situation became critical when Paul noticed there were errors in some of the formulas, but without an audit trail, locating them would be an intensive and time-consuming task.
Eventually, Paul managed to identify and correct the errors, which left unchecked could have resulted in an inaccurate business forecast output and a possible error of hundreds of thousands of pounds – a substantial amount of money for any size of organisation.
With projected growth to 1000 units over the next few years, BHC needed assurance that their forecasts would be accurate, easily reconcilable, and flexible enough to produce accurate modelling of their financial future.
Having used HousingBrixx in the past on a server-based model, Paul decided to implement HostedBrixx to replace their rather monolithic spreadsheets. By choosing the hosted version of HousingBrixx, Paul and the finance team would be able to work on their financial data remotely when away from the office, and as HostedBrixx is a fully managed service, all the upgrades, maintenance, and security are taken care of by the HousingBrixx team, so BHC doesn’t have to worry about it.
By using HousingBrixx, BHC has been able to condense its financial data to produce a more simplified, easily digested financial overview that can be easily analysed, amended, and audited and removes any potential for spreadsheet errors.
Paul Whitehead commented:
“HousingBrixx has also allowed us to produce the financial forecast and business plan for our proposed subsidiary. As a recognised sector-solution, we are using its reports as part of our submission to the housing regulator. Combining the existing company plan and new RP plan into a single consolidated version took virtually no time at all.
With its easy to build functionality, we use DevelopmentBrixx appraisals imported into the model to appraise our proposed schemes, looking at different buildings, costs, and scenarios to evaluate how these schemes would affect our overall financial performance.
The rapid report and update functionality allows the quick and easy output of our rolling monthly forecasts, exporting them to Excel if needed. The new ‘Dashboards’ feature lets us produce graphical charts for board presentations, which helps our board members to digest the information more easily.
We can now create multi-scenario, long-term rolling forecasts at the click of a button, which gives us a detailed understanding of how each decision can impact an organisation immediately and over time. The accuracy and flexibility of these forecasts have helped boost Board and Regulator confidence.
HostedBrixx has been invaluable to us in recent months when we had restricted access to the office, as we were able to continue to work as on our plans for our new RP subsidiary from home. Having access to our data from home was key to our achieving the submission deadline, and we were able to pull our plans together in a matter of hours rather than days. We then submitted these plans in our application to the Housing Regulator. We are pleased to confirm that with the help of HousingBrixx, we have been successful in our application to become a Registered Provider.
About Blackpool Housing Company
Blackpool Housing Company was set up in 2015 to purchase redundant, end of life or poor-quality buildings to convert and renovate into a high- quality, rental homes.
BHC also provides commercial lettings and management to landlords and tenancy sustainment services via My Blackpool Home to help the homeless and at-risk members of the community. BHC also plays a lead role in the management function of the council, managing large development projects throughout Blackpool.