SAP serves up accounting expertise

27 Nov 2002

When the Department of Agriculture, Food and Rural Development decided it was time to update its accounting system, it decided to call SAP.

The new computerised accounting and management information solution would be based on SAP software — SAP R/3 Release 4.0B — specially tailored for public sector work.

The DOA consists of four regional and 27 local offices, a laboratory network and inspection facilities in meat and dairy plants, cold stores and seaports. Overall staff numbers 4,500, spread around these different locations. Around a third of them are involved in processing €2.5bn in annual payments to the State’s 140,000 farmers and agri-food enterprises. Compliance with the highest international standards of accountability and financial management should be taken as a given as SAP set about replacing an archaic bespoke legacy system with a modern solution.

The project began in October 1999 and the full solution was provided to the department in early 2001. Following exhaustive testing of its functionality, extensive staff training and the completion of the change management procedures that the adoption of SAP necessitated, the new accounts solution went live from July last year.

“Our relationship with the Department of Agriculture, Food & Rural Development stands out as a model of how innovative solutions, collaborative working and an in-depth understanding of what public sector clients need is contributing to SAP’s sustained success,” says Peter Gahan of SAP Ireland.

It’s now a year since staff in local offices were given web-enabled access to the SAP solution, another stepping stone in unlocking the potential of what SAP pitches as a future-proof system.