AdvicePro Hits the Ground Running with the SFS
The Standard Financial Statement (SFS) was launched on 1 March 2017 and is already available on AdvicePro. The aim of the SFS is to bring greater consistency to the way organisations assess people’s finances when they are in debt – and for the first time helping them to save whilst paying off their debt! AdvicePro were ready and over 100 subscribers signed up to the SFS through AdvicePro on the day of launch.
Money Advice Service explain:
“The SFS marks a single debt sector wide view on how to approach the challenge of bringing greater consistency to the way information on people’s financial circumstances is gathered. Over 22 organisations have come together to agree this single format for recording income, expenditure and arrears as well as agreeing a set of spending guidelines. Importantly, the statement will include a savings category which will help encourage people to build financial resilience while they deal with their problem debt”.
AdvicePro collaborated on the technical integration and was one of only two case management systems to work with Money Advice Service to incorporate the SFS into their system prior to the launch date. Subscribers of AdvicePro were able to opt to use the SFS direct from AdvicePro and were able to practice on the AdvicePro training site so that advisers were able to familiarise themselves with the new format prior to launch.
To allow the effective use of the SFS and greatest flexibility for AdvicePro users:
- CFS will run alongside SFS on AdvicePro until the CFS is phased out – which is anticipated by the The Money Advice Service to be after February 2018
- Separate tabs are available to record Fixed and Flexible Outgoings
- There is a tab to include Savings Contribution and Debt Administration fee
- Options to print SFS and also SFS Budget Sheet
The CFS is a budgeting tool that can be used by advice agencies and other third party organisations to make debt repayment offers to creditors on behalf of clients. It provides a detailed budgeting format enabling an accurate overview of a client’s income, expenditure, assets and liabilities. The SFS is believed to be a fairer and more consistent measure in dealing with people in debt.
David Hawkes, National Money Advice Co-ordinator, AdviceUK works on the Initial Governance Group which has overseen the development SFS says:
“The introduction of the SFS will see real change in the approach taken to those in debt and provide a huge opportunity for those, who despite their debt will now be able to put some money away as well and save for the future. Having only one financial statement format rather than several should also help in persuading more creditors to adopt the principles underlying the SFS”.
The Insolvency Service will also start using the new format and spending guidelines in March and creditors have started building the SFS into their collections practices already too.
Organisations who sign up to the SFS will agree to a code of conduct to ensure best practice usage, which will not only ensure that people’s affordability assessments are more consistent, but will enable smoother transfer of information between the organisations working with them.
ACMS Managing Director, Ali McLaren says:
“AdvicePro and Money Advice Service have been working together to investigate the technical implementation of the SFS. MAS sought us out as the market-leading case management application to advise on the complexities of integrating the SFS into an existing solution and to create a prototype implementation”.
Notes for Editors
The launch of the SFS has been co-ordinated by the Money Advice Service and will be adopted by all major debt advice providers across commercial and not-for-profit sectors, including Citizens Advice, Money Advice Trust and StepChange. Payplan are one of the first agencies to start using it and will help more than 100,000 people each year.
The CFS was first published by the British Bankers’ Association (BBA) and the Money Advice trust (MAT) in November 2002.
In April 2004, the Finance & Leasing Association (FLA) became the third sponsor.
AdvicePro was developed in partnership by AdviceUK and ACMS.
AdviceUK is the UK’s largest support network for independent advice services. It was formed in 1979 as the Federation of Independent Advice Centres (FIAC).
AdvicePro is the secure case management application which helps you work flexibly, efficiently and securely. The system was developed in association with AdviceUK, the UK’s largest network of advice-providing organisations. It currently assists more than 4,000 users in over 350 agencies and consortia throughout the UK, including local authorities, charities, and student unions. It includes functionality for reporting to the Legal Aid Agency, local and national Government and other funders.
AdvicePro is a fully-managed, secure web-based case management system developed specifically for advice organisations and being used in a variety of other settings including by housing associations, local authorities, universities and public and commercial services. It captures client personal and socio-economic details and casework information over a wide range of matter types.