Landmark Post | KEYPrime Advanced Accounts
Landmark Post report on the innovative changes at Deene Park including the use of KEYPrime Advanced Accounts software.
There have been some innovative changes over the last three years at this traditional 10,000-acre Estate, with land divided between Northamptonshire at Deene Park and Leicestershire’s Welland Valley. The land is arable and livestock Grade 3 supporting 26 farming businesses.
Landmark’s KEYPrime Advanced Accounts software linked to KEYPrime Property was purchased in the autumn of 2013 by the current owner’s father, the late Edmund Brudenell. He set the objective of updating the coding, recording and management for both accounts and property with a timescale to dovetail in with a Spring 2014 year start. Confidence in the system has grown since that initial data migration and the Estate Office team has worked with clarity and tenacity to transform the functioning of the office.
Roll the clock forward and today Mr. and Mrs. Robert Brudenell are the careful stewards of the house, parkland and rural Estates. Rich in history created by five centuries of ownership by the Brudenells, or Earls of Cardigan, a title bestowed on the family by Charles II in exchange for £1,000! James, the 7th Earl led the Charge of the Light Brigade and Elizabeth I also graced the medieval house with her presence.
Mark Coombs was appointed as Land Agent at Brudenell Estates two years ago. “It was an ideal opportunity for a detailed look at the Estate”, said Mark: “Under Mr. Robert Brudenell’s new stewardship we set out to learn everything relating to the Estate in great detail in order to facilitate planning a strategy. To start that process we needed to establish what was owned by the family, the value of those assets and the liabilities of the business for its Trustees. This would allow us to make informed decisions based on fact, removing some of the emotion, which inevitably creeps into decisions when your home is also your business. Our aim is to direct limited resources into targeted assets with known risk.”
Keystone Family Advisers were also brought in to promote a holistic approach to strategic planning. Founder director, Jonathan Gage, said: ”The gathering and presentation of data has enabled us to format the information in summary form from KEYPrime which has been transformational for the family, the Estate Office and its advisers working towards evolving a long-term plan based on sustainable finances.”
The Estate comprises 42 residential properties including six retained for staff, and a further 29 assets made up of commercial units, masts and licenses. The forestry is actively managed with nine schemes on 1389 acres. A programme of agri-environmental schemes, together with a 500 kW Biomass District Heating System contribute to the bio-diversity and responsible environmental management of the land and buildings.
In many ways, Brudenell is a traditional Estate business but you experience the ‘new broom’ of owner and land agent in the refurbished open plan Estate Office with state of the art archive, paperless approach and hi- tech boardroom. The method of organisation and open structure of management at Deene Park is impressive, and at its hub is the KEYPrime software used to great effect and driven by Mark and his team. Mark’s PA and property administrator, Lindsey Coulston and Sue Wild the Estate Bookkeeper, bring about the vital daily management of data. Population of the KEYPrime Property ‘Terrier’ has been taken to another level by bolting on detailed building plans, digital maps and aerial surveys using the skills of a specific asset capture team. Its task has been to step back and methodically build up tiles of information in order to bring a discipline to recording and reduce the volume of paperwork for the office. This physical accounting of every asset and tenancy, allocated with a unique ID, has transformed the way the office works and developed a new dimension to reporting and decision making for the stakeholders.
Mark insists that the process has allowed the Estate to own an accurate and powerful decision-making software tool: “The process of an office clean-up has given us a more holistic approach. Savings have been made because we have a detailed visual picture of any asset linked to its coded components. For example, we know the exact location and percentage of asbestos. In practical terms, this means that the family and Trustees know per metre where their money is and can save money. Insurance premiums have been reduced by 20%, despite the sums insured being increased by a factor of five, simply because the insurers have a better picture of the assets and risks. For example, we can show how many properties with oil tanks are within 100m of a watercourse.”
There is a buzz about the Estate as the ‘establishment’ phase of collecting and entering the KEYPrime Advanced Accounts software data is largely complete. Mark Coombs and the team have more time to focus on specific projects for the family who in turn are enjoying finding new uses for traditional buildings and engaging in Education and Tourism. Mark describes this next phase as “very exciting – we have a solid framework from which to plan the future.”