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MIS Systems Thread, Which Finance System? in Technical; we are currently using SIMS but have switched to CMIS. Do we have to go with CMIS finance or could ...
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    Which Finance System?

    we are currently using SIMS but have switched to CMIS. Do we have to go with CMIS finance or could we go with any finance package we wanted? Just wondered if anyone has any experience with CMIS!

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    Re: Which Finance System?

    Are you in an independant school? Normally an LA would stipulate which program they prefer.

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    Re: Which Finance System?

    Depends how integrated you need finance to be for student billing / payroll / personnel / EMAs. We use Sage for payroll and FMS for everything else.

    Word(s) of warning :
    1) Assess how attached your bursar is to FMS / SIMS before mentioning anything about changes. There be dragons .
    2) You won't be able to (shouldn't) change anything until year end & audit has been completed.
    3) Whoever you go with, make sure their people do the FMS -> $other_package changeover and move cost centres and handle data conversion. When we went from FMS DOS > FMS Windows, we had an independent auditor overseeing the process as well.
    4) If your lea uses SAP, and you declined to use it when they were offering it for free, they'll make you pay for it if you want to adopt it now.

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    Re: Which Finance System?

    We too moved from SiMS to CMiS some tiem ago but we still have to use SiMS for finance because at the moment our LEA will only deal with finance through SiMS

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    Re: Which Finance System?

    Are you sure that is right Tosca?

    Pretty sure we're in the same LEA and we use CMIS for finance. Don't have much to do with that side of things myself but the finance officer seems to prefer it to SIMS and she has experience of both systems within the LEA.

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    Re: Which Finance System?

    Despite the selling points of one complete system, it has never impressed me having all my eggs in one basket.

    I know backups etc, but if your SQL box dies then instead of just teachers not being able to get phone numbers, register and write reports, you now cannot pay bills, invoices, fees (if you are fee paying institution) etc etc etc so in a way I do like the idea of 2 seperate systems so if ones down you are not killing the entire back office staff of the school. I know what my place would be like if the SQL box had a funny and we had CMIS financials, it would be hell on wheels.

    I have 3 seperate systems, 2 finance packages and 1 MIS, so thats 3 backends, now you may think OMG more work for us guys, but actually it does have its + points as well as -ives. One big -ive is data input, not everything will import and talk enough so there is some duplication on data entry, but it has got better as CMIS have helped I believe there with some custom reports but it needs major review and thinking about. I personally have used RM Financials and Cash Accounts previously and have not minded them too much (waits for someone to remember my not too kind views on RM bashed networks and reads me saying I am now liking RM a bit )

    I don't know if this is possible as I am not a SQL or CMIS / MIS expert, but if it was possible I would be tempted to see if you can have 2 seperate SQL boxes with the same CMIS database on and set up your finance team to start on SQL1 and your main CMIS Academic users on SQL2 so that if one goes down it can flip on to the other easily (by either the end user or you as admin), clearly both databases need to replicated automatically to each other to keep each other up to date, but sort of load balancing in a way? I am just dreaming here as I know nothing about SQL so it may not be possible, but its just the all eggs in 1 basket thing I have horrors about!

    What ever you do, involve lots of people, bursar, assistant bursar, general finance staff (everone who ever uses it), IT staff, LEA if your an LEA school, seek there views, and have a small team who will make the final decision on what you get.

    Also go visit other schools of a similar size and setup to your place before deciding on packages to see them in use, in my last place they went to see a school using a new finance program which they were interested in, the school was a huuuuge school, it had well over 2000 kids, and my school in question at the time had 300 kids, big difference, so big difference in volume of income, expenditure etc so as a result when I pointed this out to the secretary she realised that actually you can have a program thats too big for you, and this was, it was designed for very grand scale work, like 1000's of invoices a day to be input, dot-matrix cheque runs daily, bulk input ledgers, huge amounts of capital depreciation, basically a very large program which would have been too big for a smaller school to use. (I think it was based around Sage Line 250 with a education package over it)

    So my advice is evaluate, review and do speak to schools that use it, and just because the sales rep says phone school X they use it and speak to Y in the finance team, remember he may well have been given a few bottles of wine to say we love package X when actually it crashes, dies and is a lot of rubbish, so ask that school if they know of others that use it, do a bit of your own digging as it were.

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    Re: Which Finance System?

    Many thanks for all the replies. My next step is to seek some advice from the LA and the Bursar. we are a state school and currently we are paying twice fro support; CMIS and SIMS plus we have the old SIMS on our old servers which I want to get rid of pretty soon. It may be that the finance people have to bite the bullet!

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