“When UK-registered charity The Society of the Little Flower was looking to automate its cheque processing system in order to improve efficiency it put its faith in Solchar for the solution.”
“The difference the new system has made is remarkable. The processing of cheques now takes a fraction of the time it used to which means we can deposit payments far quicker.”
Miranda Litchfield
UK Director
Society of the Little Flower
The Society of the Little Flower exists to spread devotion to St. Therese of Lisieux, affectionately known as ‘the Little Flower’. Friends of St. Therese also help the Carmelites in their ministries and the education of seminarians, serving the Church as Priests and Brothers.
Donations to the Society of the Little Flower go directly to support the Carmelites of the Province of the Most Pure Heart of Mary and through these donations, the work of the Carmelites can continue throughout the world.
When Miranda Litchfield became UK director of the charity in 2007, she realised a solution was needed that would improve efficiency when processing the donations it received as paper payments.
“When I first joined, the staff were manually listing all the cheques that came in as donations. It was tedious, time-consuming work that was prone to human error,” says Litchfield.

Streamlining paper payments

Ideally, the organisation needed a system that would allow payments such as cheques to be processed faster, be less prone to human error, more cost- effective and provide the staff with the means to quickly and easily locate items that had been processed should any queries arise.
In December 2008, the society moved from Kent to new offices in Horsham, Sussex, and it was then the decision was taken to source a company that could help streamline the paper payment process.
“We started researching cheque scanners, with a view to automating our paper payments system,” says Litchfield. “We knew we needed a desktop scanner that could interface seamlessly with a separate server, one that could also be backed up to our main server located in the US.”
Litchfield spoke to several different companies who could provide such a service, and in the end selected Solchar because the company offered the most robust, comprehensive system at a price that was right for the cost-conscious charity.

A cost saving solution

With over 12 years’ experience providing a range of cost-saving solutions to automate cheque, remittance and voucher processing, Solchar was in an ideal position to help the society with its Transaction Journal 3 (TJ-3) solution.
TJ-3 automatically stores images and captures printed and written information from cheques, postal orders and other credits using a pre-designated workflow that provides configurable data input, verification, balancing and approvals processing. Image capture can take place from the front and rear of items and security endorsement printing can be programmed to take place during the scanning process should it be needed.
The solution is configured to an organisation’s precise needs using Solchar’s unique, modular architecture. With the Society of the Little Flower this meant employing a free-standing scanner.
Implementation wasn’t without its challenges, however, as Litchfield explains: “There were some technical issues with the scanner we originally chose which caused a few blips in the software. Solchar were absolutely wonderful, with their expertise they were able to replace our first choice of scanner with a far more suitable model that worked perfectly.”
“Solchar were absolutely wonderful.”
Miranda Litchfield
UK Director
Society of the Little Flower

Improving financial control

The ability to right-size and therefore right-price solutions for the task in hand means Solchar can help significantly improve financial control. By activating only relevant components from within standard products, the individual financial management needs of organisations such as the Society of the Little Flower, are achieved with maximum savings.
“The difference the new system has made is remarkable,” says Litchfield. “The processing of cheques now takes a fraction of the time it used to which means we can deposit payments far quicker. This leaves us with more time to respond to the needs of our donors.”
An integrated component, the Transaction Finder utility provides the charity with more detailed search and scrutiny functionality. It is a high-performance enquiry tool, with the ability to retrieve information in seconds where previously this could have taken days. The information is held on a proven SQL database structure, with the images immediately available for review, printing or emailing.
Using Transaction Finder, the Society of the Little Flower has been able to deliver operational savings for regular enquiries, helping further improve efficiency. The system also supports transaction monitoring as part of anti-money laundering record keeping compliancy with strengthened audit capacity.
Overall, by automating data and image gathering, the society has significantly reduced the need for time-consuming manual processes and human error, allowing for a much more streamlined operation.

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