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FMS6 - eProcurement Overview


FMS is the most popular finance product for UK schools. FMS supports data exchange with online based services for the following processes:

  • Quotes / ‘Content Orders’
  • Orders
  • Invoices/ Credit Notes

The idea is that an organization will provide a web portal that offers goods for sale.  Customers will belong to a school or other educational establishment.  Users will be known to the system and be attached to a specific school.  Users will identify themselves to the portal and then go shopping.    The result of the shopping session, assuming that it is successful will be a basket of goods.  Instead of checking out and paying for the goods, the user will ‘submit’ the basket as a ‘content order’ (Quote). 

When FMS is instructed to, it will contact all of the suppliers who offer an OPEN portal and request that the content orders be returned to FMS.  FMS then generates orders in an unapproved state within FMS.

Within FMS, the pending orders will then be reviewed by the cost centre owner and either:

  • Approved as is
  • Amended in the sense that the quantities or remove order lines; the reviewer cannot add new items to the order.
  • Reject the content order or ‘Cancel’ it.

Once approved, the order will be then posted back electronically to the supplier portal for processing.  It will contain all of the required identifiers for the school and the supplier.

Optionally, once the order is completed (or partially completed) the supplier can send an electronic invoice to the school which will be picked up on the FMS contacts the supplier’s portal.

Again optionally the supplier can generate credit notes if appropriate.

Standards Based Data Exchange

This implements the OPEN standard as defined in:

  • Content Orders / Shopping Basket use UK 3.09
  • Invoices and Credit Notes use BASDA 3.09

Please note that these are not ESS standards and changes may be made to these by standards owners over time. Please also note that ESS may delay or choose not to implement any subsequent changes to standards.


Supplier and Customer identification requires a DUNS number. See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Data_Universal_Numbering_System for an explanation of these numbers.

If you need to obtain your DUNS number, you may wish to refer to: http://www.dnb.co.uk/duns-number.asp


Theoretically, there is no reason why a portal implementing the above standards would not work with another school finance system unaltered; ESS obviously would not wish to make claims for other vendor’s products.

What does a Supplier have to do to interface with FMS?

  • Sensibly they need a copy of FMS.  See www.sims.co.uk/partners for details of how to become a partner or access ESS software.  The assumption must be that any set of web services need to be tested with test data and proven to be reliable.
  • The partner needs to implement a portal which allows customers to shop and select items into a shopping basket.
  • The partner then needs to implement the set of web services required.  These are documented elsewhere


Related resources for SIMS FMS