When you see the words: “new accounting software” sometimes your eyes tend to glaze over; however, an easy to use computer financial system is the engine of efficiency for any organization, especially a county government.
After much planning and cooperation with every office in Lawrence County, the auditor’s office launched a new financial system last month. This “new accounting software” dramatically improves efficiency in the accounting processes of every department and office in Lawrence County government.
You will be happy to know that each officeholder and department leader whose budgets are tracked by the county auditor’s office was extremely cooperative in the implementation of this new software. As the implementation continues, we will also continue to improve our financial processes and reporting.
Foremost, officeholders and department leaders will have 24/7 electronic access to their budget and expense information with our new financial system. This helps better manage expenses as well as better enable decision makers in key positions to truly know where they stand at all times when it comes to each line item within their respective budgets.
In addition to the readily available budget information, processing payroll is now exponentially more efficient under this new system. For example, one department alone required almost four hours to manually input the information on the old system, now it only takes five minutes to electronically upload the same information into the new system.
Also, the purchase order process under the old finance system was very paper intensive and redundant. Under the old system, each purchase order was often hand written. It also required that each invoice be copied in duplicate for record retention.
Now, with our new process, purchase orders are input and tracked electronically, and that same invoice that was copied twice on a copier and filed away, is now simply scanned into a “pdf” file and is forever electronically attached to the purchase order, eliminating extra work and redundancy.
Under the old system, our office would have to go digging into boxes to physically find one of the copies to answer what should be an easy question on an invoice, whereas in the future, if there is ever a need to find an older invoice that was paid, an easy electronic search will quickly determine an answer in seconds instead of hours or even days.
Imagine this savings of time throughout the county for each one of these improved financial processes. Whether it is purchase order processing, payroll entry, or just having accurate real time information about budget line items and historic payments, this new accounting system will make a difference--a huge difference in time and accuracy for all county departments.
I believe that we must always take advantage of new technology to improve our efficiency at every opportunity in Lawrence County. This new financial system establishes a much stronger financial foundation to enable each department in the county to deliver services to the residents of Lawrence County in a well-organized, professional, and fiscally responsible manner.
Jason C. Stephens, CFP®
Lawrence County Auditor