Douglas County Saves Time and Money with ONESolution Finance
Douglas County is the fifth-most populous county in the state of Kansas. The County recently embarked on its largest software implementation to replace its legacy system, requiring a solution with more functionality. The team reviewed a number of vendors and ultimately chose Superion for the flexibility and variety of modules offered in the ONESolution Financial suite.
Marni Penrod, Chief Deputy County Clerk with Douglas County said, “An earlier experience taught us that choosing a beta software system was time consuming and difficult. We definitely wanted to work with a vendor that had a proven track record. Our organization needed to change the way we were doing business overall because only a few key people had access to and were actually using our legacy system. So many things were being done manually that we knew could be automated.”
After going live with the ONESolution Financial modules, Douglas County immediately saw significant progress and savings, including fewer paper copies, improved collaboration, and easier access to shared information. Staff particularly benefited from not having to enter information from paper forms.
One of the most notable changes was the ability for the County to pay bills via automated clearing house (ACH). The County estimated it saved approximately $5 to $6 per transfer. “This process eliminated the need to print, stuff envelopes, and mail paper-based checks, which is commonplace in local government,” said Penrod. “But, even more than the direct financial savings, employees were spending less time on each transaction, and vendors were getting paid faster than ever before. The vendors love it and in turn are giving us discounts for paying early, equaling more savings.”
ONESolution Purchasing also provided substantial benefits by allowing the County to implement a new countywide policy that sped up the process for purchase orders (PO). Pre-approved POs in ONESolution could be paid immediately after invoices were received because the system eliminated the requirement for signatures on paper. The module made it easier to track POs, allowed department heads to electronically sign off, and improved the overall workflow, helping the County to improve budgeting and cash flow.
Additionally, the tight integration between the ONESolution Purchasing and Contract Management (CM) modules allowed users to see the status of signed contracts and determine which POs were tied to a contract. The CM module also displayed the status of each contract and the contract expiration date. The connection between the modules allowed County employees to locate any contract using a PO number. They quickly realized that this level of access saved the County time and money and also expedited the PO process.
Overall the ROI has been significant. The new software system provided more accuracy, better accountability, less double entry, and more efficient reporting. The time and number of staff it took to complete each accounts receivable process decreased. Invoice entry and procurement card processing decreased by 10-15 hours per week, and shadow systems used to track accounts payable transactions were completely eliminated. Additionally, paper usage significantly decreased, saving on printer and paper costs.
So what is next for Douglas County? According to Penrod, the County is already discussing collaborating with an open data vendor to help develop a portal for residents with the goal of improving transparency and enabling better communication with constituents. “Without software like ONESolution, an open data portal for citizens would be impossible,” said Penrod.
“Change is always difficult, but the end result for us has been great. We can do a lot of things we were unable to do before, and we’re saving time and money.”