“Abacus has cut down on the planning and preparation work in our nurseries by 50%....” – Carly Garrett, Franchise Operations Manager at Banana Moon
Banana Moon is an Early Years’ franchise with 19 nurseries throughout in the UK. They established their business in 2006 and have a strong focus on “Banana Moon” world and the characters which belong to it. Their ethos is to be the best at what they do and to provide the pinnacle in childcare.
Their proposition is unique because they give franchisees a high level of support combined with a proven business model to ensure all their nurseries operate to continuously high standards.
We spoke with Carly Garrett, Franchise Operations Manager, who oversaw Abacus being implemented in the first four franchisee nurseries that were set up. Carly and her colleague Becks act as the initial contact point for any franchise managers who need assistance with running their childcare business.
What was life like before you had Abacus?
Life before Abacus was really frustrating– it was difficult for us to see where payments were coming from and we soon realised that we needed a user friendly system to help us.
How long have you been using Abacus for and why did you choose it?
We have been using Abacus for two years now and have rolled it out in all of our nurseries.
Previously, we used two other software companies but found neither of them to be very flexible and they did not meet our needs. We decided that we wanted a system in place which would grow with us and were excited by what Celeste (Business Consultant at Parenta) was offering. Abacus seemed to tick all our boxes!
How easy did you find the set up process?
The initial transfer of data from our old systems to Abacus was really easy. I remember a lady called Amy at Parenta helped transfer it all over to the new system for us.
To give you some idea of how easy it is to set up: all our new nursery franchises use Abacus as soon as they are up and running!
How much time do you think it has saved you?
In terms of percentages, I think it is fair to say that Abacus has cut down planning and preparation work in our nurseries by 50% once the system is put in place and ready to go. Before that point, we had manual spreadsheets to keep track of information for 140 children!
Were there any welcome surprises?
For us, a pleasant surprise that we found with Abacus was the fact that it could reconcile childcare vouchers. Apart from that, it handles all aspects of staff management really well too. Even two years on, we are still finding out new things we like about it!
How have your staff found using Abacus?
Our staff have found Abacus really easy to access and use; you can’t really go wrong with it! Not only that, there is such a large support network in place – everything from user manuals to Parenta’s dedicated support team being on hand to answer any questions you have.
How would you describe the support you get from our team?
We have been on the phone many times to the support team. They are always very friendly and go over and above what we need them to do. It’s also clear to me that the team members communicate really well with each other because each time we call, the person on the other end always knows what the previous conversation was about.
What feature do you like most about it?
There are so many features we like about Abacus; one thing I personally like is that you don’t have to click through many different tabs to find what you are looking for on the system. It’s really user friendly and very colourful, which just makes you want to use it even more!
As a nursery franchise, we also benefit from the fact that Abacus carries out group reporting, so you see everything at a glance.
Would you recommend Abacus to another childcare provider?
We would definitely recommend Abacus to another childcare provider – both a small independent nursery and a larger chain of nurseries would benefit from using it.
To find out more about Banana Moon Day Nursery, please visit www.bananamoondaynursery.co.uk
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