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Access Group (Access) has acquired education SaaS specialists HCSS Education (HCSS) in a move which will see them become the leading provider of financial, budgetary and planning solutions to the UK education sector. HCSS who provide budget and financial planning solutions to schools and academies will be launching a SaaS finance solution in 2016 built specifically for schools and academies.

Chris Bayne, CEO for Access, says, “HCSS has a proven track record in the education sector and boasts an impressive 25% market share. With the upcoming launch of their new SaaS finance solution, which has undergone a lengthy research and development process involving schools and academies, we can share our expertise to offer the sector a solution that will mean they are full informed about the financial position of the school or academy.”

HCSS Education’s multi-tenanted SaaS financial planning solution is already being used by 6,000 schools and academies in the UK, and the acquisition offers a great opportunity for Access to grow its footprint in the sector with the cross-sell of its HR & payroll solutions. The launch of the new finance solution in 2016 offers further opportunity.

“With our heritage in selling and supporting finance software and HCSS’s expertise in the sector we’re really going to be able to make a huge difference to the Education market. They’ve spent a lot of time working with schools and academies to ensure their solutions fully fit the requirements of the sector,” continued Chris.

Howard Jackson, head of education and founder of HCSS Education, says, “Over recent months, I have been working closely with Access to see how we could collaborate to deliver even better services to the education sector.  I was particularly excited to hear what Access has achieved with other acquired businesses; they have an excellent track record of supporting and investing in businesses to assist them with their growth strategy. In addition, I felt that the cultural fit was complementary to our own.”

“HCSS Software is the ideal fit for Access, they put customers first, are a Sunday Times Top 100 company, like us, with retention rates of circa 95%, and have a great SaaS product. With more schools converting to academy status in the next five years we’re incredibly excited about what the future has to offer,” concluded Chris.

The deal is the first since Access Group announced its FY15 financial results last month, and follows its acquisition strategy of adding complementary solutions to its existing product portfolio and increases the growing SaaS footprint within the product range.