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Financial Statement Automation Saves Time & Money for Lethbridge

Financial Statement Automation Saves Time & Money for Lethbridge

  • Jamie Black
  • Success Stories
  • minute(s)Lethbridge, is a commercial, financial, transportation, and industrial centre with a population of 89,000. The City of Lethbridge provides both essential and nonessential services to its residents, from fire and emergency response to museum and library operations. The City’s Financial Services department is staffed by a team of professionals charged with bringing efficiency, accuracy, and transparency to the organization. CaseWare Working Papers and Financials are the tools the department relies on to fulfill that goal. More and More Spreadsheets As the PSAB (Public Sector Accounting Board) requirements changed, organizations like the City of Lethbridge were forced to change the presentation of their financial statements. Many turned to spreadsheets to accommodate the changes. Municipal governments within the province of Alberta are required to file a Municipal Financial Information Return (MFIR), which must be submitted to the Municipal Affairs office along with audited financial statements by May 1 of each year. At the City of Lethbridge, preparing it involved a multitude of spreadsheets and the dedicated work of one of the City’s most tenured employees. The City of Lethbridge has been using CaseWare Working Papers for many years, although in a limited capacity. “We were just using CaseWare for our balance sheet items,” recalls Tricia Fraser, Financial Reporting Supervisor for the City. “Essentially it was serving as a document holder only. We created our financial statements and other financial reports in Excel®. We needed a better way, as it was just too manual and time consuming.” Embracing Efficiency The City engaged F.H. Black & Company, a CaseWare certified consultant, to help it gain efficiency and reduce manual data entry tasks. “F.H. Black has been a tremendous resource,” says Fraser. “Their knowledge and experience with CaseWare has helped us make more strategic use of the product.” Financial Statements Completed in Record Time Using CaseWare Financials the City tackled financial statement automation. Now the City’s annual financial statement is completed substantially faster than before. “In fact, I had staff asking me what we had forgotten because they were so surprised that we were done so quickly.” That time savings is being put to productive use, Fraser says. “We used to spend so much time preparing documents and assembling the report, that we had little time to analyze the data and look for improvements. CaseWare buys us strategic planning time, time where we can consider what didn’t work, what worked well, and what we can do better. That’s priceless.” Three Weeks Saved in Production of MFIR F.H. Black showed the City how to use CaseWare Working Papers and CaseWare Connector to populate the MFIR report directly. “As a test, we prepared last year’s MFIR both ways, the old way and using CaseWare for the portions we automated,” says Fraser. “Both ways produced the exact same result, only CaseWare did it instantly. Now, instead of handing our auditors a series of spreadsheets and a binder of supporting documentation, we will hand them a CaseWare file.” Fraser says this single change will likely result in lower audit fees, and enables the City to complete its MFIR three weeks sooner than in the past. Improved Accuracy and Security Another benefit the City is realizing through CaseWare is increased accuracy. In the past, personnel would be assigned to troubleshoot and validate the Excel spreadsheets. “Now, when something is out of balance, we can easily follow the trail to the source and make the corrections,” says Fraser. “And because there is no manual input, the opportunity for errors is greatly reduced.” The move to CaseWare Financials has led to improved data security. “I used to be scared to give anyone else access to the spreadsheets, fearing someone would change something and I wouldn’t know who did it or why,” Fraser explains. “In CaseWare, I’m able to set up security so that I can control who has access to what. Now, we have 20 people working in CaseWare, and the data is accessible, auditable, and secure.” Leverage the Investment The City is leveraging its use of CaseWare by using it to produce other financial reports, including sections of its unaudited financial statement that is sent to council prior to the publication of the audited report. “This report is due during our busiest time of the year,” notes Fraser. “We were able to put it into CaseWare and the time savings is unbelievable. Frustration levels of staff during this crunch time are dramatically reduced.” Fraser and her family are relocating soon, and as she discusses new employment opportunities with potential employers, she is certain to ask one question: “I always ask if they use CaseWare. If the answer is no, the conversation is over.”
The City of Lethbridge uses CaseWare Working Papers to automate annual financial statements and the MFIR, driving significant time savings and reducing cost.
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Wellington-Dufferin-Guelph Public Health Automates Financial Reporting

Wellington-Dufferin-Guelph Public Health Automates Financial Reporting

  • Jamie Black
  • Success Stories
  • minute(s)Wellington-Dufferin-Guelph Public Health works to improve the health of 250,000 residents of Wellington and Dufferin counties and the city of Guelph with a wide range of health services and resources, including immunizations, dental care, parenting support services, travel information, and infectious disease control. With 230 employees spread across six locations and an annual operating budget of $27 million, Wellington-Dufferin-Guelph Public Health embraces technology and the efficiencies it can provide to enable it to devote more resources to its mission. CaseWare Working Papers and Financials are two pieces of technology the organization relies on to streamline their financial reporting. Working Papers for Municipalities “We implemented CaseWare in 2013,” recalls Shanna O’Dwyer, Manager of Finance for Wellington-Dufferin-Guelph Public Health. “My first year here at the organization I used Excel® spreadsheets - and a lot of them - to produce the annual financial statements. I remember being concerned through the entire cycle that something would get missed and not updated properly. It was a stressful time.” O’Dwyer had used Working Papers in her prior position with an accounting firm, so was familiar with the solution and its capabilities when she saw it in action at a Municipal Finance Officers conference. “I met F.H. Black & Company Incorporated at the conference and learned how they have successfully implemented CaseWare for dozens of municipal organizations like ours across Canada,” she says. “We determined CaseWare would be an ideal fit for us.” Professional Implementation The implementation went very well says O’Dwyer. “F.H. Black & Company was fantastic. They were highly organized and very methodical in their approach. They kept the project on schedule and saw that we were informed and involved throughout the process.” Wellington-Dufferin-Guelph Public Health also appreciated the easy access to members of the F.H. Black’s consulting team. “We are able to view their calendars online and book a time slot that’s convenient for us,” O’Dwyer says. “But if we have an urgent matter, they are always directly available.” Simplifying Complex Tasks After receiving training in the solution and the mechanics involved in generating the financial statement templates, O’Dwyer was able to create the organization’s templates herself. She then set about duplicating the prior year’s financial statements in Working Papers as a proof of concept. “F.H. Black & Company helped with the export of the trial balance data from our accounting system,” O’Dwyer says. “It’s complex data with many different departments, segments, and funds but with their help we got it done.” During the past fiscal year, Wellington-Dufferin-Guelph Public Health has made a number of changes to its financial statement layout. “F.H. Black & Company helped us modify the templates to meet our needs and we were good to go,” says O’Dwyer. “It would have been a nightmare to try to incorporate all those changes if we were still using spreadsheets.” In subsequent years, O’Dwyer anticipates the time savings that Working Papers will deliver will be substantial. “In a short time frame, we are able to produce accurate, consistent financial statements.” Quality, Confidence, and Control Using Working Papers has improved the quality of Wellington-Dufferin-Guelph Public Health’s financial statements and made them more consistent O’Dwyer says. “Before CaseWare, we were copying rows of data from our financial statements and dropping them into the spreadsheets. Now we establish the account groupings in CaseWare and it does the work for us. Changes made to the working papers flow to the statements so we are confident that it’s right.” Previously, Wellington-Dufferin-Guelph Public Health’s auditors would take the organization’s spreadsheet data and produce the financial statements for them. Now, the organization produces its own statements through Working Papers. “We feel we have much more control over the process now,” says O’Dwyer. Paperless Process O’Dwyer says the first year with Working Papers, the organization continued its practice of building a paper binder, but that they have now eliminated paper entirely. “CaseWare is so reliable and secure, and we are able to link various references to outside documents such as funding agreements, that we determined paper was no longer needed.” Streamline Quarterly Reporting Building on the successful roll out of Working Papers for its financial statement generation, Wellington-Dufferin-Guelph Public Health plans to expand the solution’s use to quarterly reporting. “We’re still doing this in Excel, and there’s no reason why CaseWare can’t be leveraged to help streamline this task as well,” says O’Dwyer. She concludes, “We are really pleased with CaseWare. It has proven to be a real asset to us, and the great support we receive from F.H. Black & Company makes it all the better.” Ready to learn more about what CaseWare® Working Papers could do for your organization?  Join us for a free webinar.
Wellington-Dufferin-Guelph Public Health automates financial reporting with CaseWare Working Papers and increases efficiency, effectiveness & reliability.
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Sunshine Coast Regional District Finds Bright Solution in CaseWare

Sunshine Coast Regional District Finds Bright Solution in CaseWare

  • Jamie Black
  • Success Stories
  • minute(s)Sunshine Coast Regional District (SCRD) is the regional government serving the residents of the Sunshine Coast, a picturesque area located along the southwest coast of mainland British Columbia. SCRD’s 250 employees provide the region’s 28,000 residents with a wide range of diverse services, from recreation to regional water. The organization has complex and highly specific financial reporting needs, and it meets those needs with one solution – CaseWare Working Papers. 95+ Distinct Entities Create Complexity The complexity of SCRD’s financial reporting requirements becomes obvious when one considers the more than 95 distinct services the organization provides. “It is appropriate to think of each of our different services as a separate company,” explains Tina Perreault, Treasurer for SCRD. “Each has its own set of financials and we need consolidated reporting as well.” With an annual report running longer than 50 pages, the work required to gather the financial statements data was extensive, and potentially error-prone. Changing Requirements SCRD actually began using Working Papers in the late 1990s, but as changing public sector accounting requirements demanded adjustments to financial reports, the organization began relying more and more on spreadsheets to balance components of the financial statements. “We knew CaseWare was more than capable of handling the new requirements, but we didn’t have the knowledge to make the necessary adjustments,” explains Perreault. “So, instead we used dozens of different methods to balance sections within the financials, from leadsheets to spreadsheets. When a change was required, we had to make adjustments to each component.” SCRD went in search of a better way. Review Reaps Rewards “We met F.H. Black & Company, an Authorized CaseWare Consultant, at a GFOA (Government Finance Officers Association) conference and spoke to them about our situation,” Perreault recalls. “The firm’s knowledge of governmental accounting and of CaseWare is impressive. I was quickly convinced they were the partners we wanted to help us make better use of CaseWare.” F.H. Black performed what it calls a health check of the organization’s CaseWare implementation, and recommended some changes. One of the recommendations was the use of the GAAP Financial component of Working Papers, and the results have been significant. “We learned that there are a number of things that we could have been using CaseWare for, to help streamline our operations,” says Perreault. “The software offers extensive forecasting, budgeting, and statistical analysis capabilities that we can now use to our advantage.” Saving Time, Effort, and Money “We are saving so much time and effort,” says Perreault. “F.H. Black was able to precisely duplicate our financial reporting structure in CaseWare Financials, so we get the results we need with a fraction of the effort.” SCRD’s auditing firm uses CaseWare as well, and Perreault says that she anticipates that this will result in lower audit fees for the organization: “Our auditors will be able to gather the information they need much more quickly, and it’s in the format they are already using. They spend less time, and it will save us money.” Training the staff to use Working Papers was a simple task thanks to the software’s intuitive nature. “After a introductory class they can navigate and problem-solve easily,” notes Perreault. “It is a tremendous benefit to the organization to have multiple people capable of sharing the workload. In the past, we really had only one person who understood the whole system, and that is risky for the organization.” Visibility and Control Perreault likes the level of control SCRD maintains by producing its financial statements in-house. “We are working to more fully automate our entire audit process, and CaseWare is making that possible,” she says. “We have visibility into our statements long before we hand the data off to the auditors. Having this information more quickly helps us be even better at what we do.” Ongoing Return on Investment Perreault reports that obtaining funding for the software review and implementation of GAAP Financials was a simple matter. “Our Board recognizes the value of investing in technology,” she says. “We were able to communicate the benefits and CaseWare has delivered on those.”  She concludes, “I speak to local governments like ours about CaseWare. I’m always astounded when they say they still rely on spreadsheets and pivot tables. CaseWare is relatively inexpensive for the value it delivers, and the return on investment is rapid and ongoing. Frankly, I think it would be crazy not to use CaseWare.”
F.H. Black & Company performed a health check of the Sunshine Coast Regional District CaseWare implementation & optimized their CaseWare usage.
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Learn how the City of Saint John Modernized Its Financial Reporting

Learn how the City of Saint John Modernized Its Financial Reporting

  • Jamie Black
  • Success Stories
  • minute(s)Saint John is the largest city in the province of New Brunswick, but it is even more notable as the oldest incorporated city in all of Canada. The city is home to 70,000 residents, with a nearly equal number in the surrounding metropolitan area. Its location on the Bay of Fundy at the mouth of the St. John River gives the city a rich maritime history. Today’s Saint John is also well-known for its research and technology sectors, its large arts and culture community, and broad tourism base. The City of Saint John, with an operating and capital budget of $226 million, is charged with administering city services, including police and public safety, parks and recreation, roads and transportation, fire and rescue, water and sewage, and many more. To meet its complex municipal, provincial, and federal reporting requirements the City of Saint John relies on CaseWare Working Papers and Financials. Change In Accounting Standards Assistant Controller, Hilary Nguyen, CGA, MBA, took on the financial reporting responsibilities for the City just as it was facing new reporting requirements for the upcoming year. “We had to begin reporting under the Public Sector Accounting Standards (PSAS),” she recalls. “This represented a huge change from our previous fund-based reporting format.” Up until this point, the City of Saint John was producing its financial statements using Excel® and Word®. It was a cumbersome process, but doable. With the new requirements, though, continuing without a purpose-built reporting tool would have been tremendously difficult. “We have well over one hundred different city functions and 17 separate entities that have to be consolidated and integrated,” explains Nguyen. “It would have been challenging, if not impossible, to accomplish in Excel.” Meeting a Tight Timetable Nguyen’s predecessor had already identified CaseWare Working Papers and Financials as the ideal solution for the municipality. F.H. Black & Company Incorporated, an Authorized CaseWare Consultant, was initially engaged to duplicate the City’s existing financial statements using CaseWare, satisfying the current year’s reporting requirements. “They are recognized experts in both CaseWare and municipal reporting requirements,” notes Nguyen. “We value that experience and look to them for assistance developing best practices for our reporting cycles going forward. Our province has additional unique requirements. F.H. Black was familiar with these requirements and could help us meet them using CaseWare.” Consultants’ Help Adds Value F.H. Black first helped the City of Saint John build fund-based reporting templates in CaseWare that matched the existing reporting format. The City next engaged F.H. Black to help it meet the new Public Sector Accounting Board (PSAB) required statements for the upcoming year. “We initially planned to have F.H. Black create the templates and we’d take it from there. Due to our short timeline and our small staff, though, we engaged F.H. Black to build both the financial statement templates and assemble the actual financial statements,” says Nguyen. “It was a good decision for us. F.H. Black met our deadlines and our statements are precisely how we need them to be.” Once the rush of the reporting cycle was complete, F.H. Black gave Nguyen and her staff more extensive training in CaseWare, empowering them to take over the task in the coming years. “The people at F.H. Black make a tremendous difference,” says Nguyen. “They are responsive and efficient and always provide us with a very high level of service.” Reporting Success Using CaseWare, the City of Saint John successfully generated their annual PSAB-compliant financial statements. With the templates in place, Nguyen expects to substantially reduce the time spent on the process in coming years. “We can roll the numbers forward and easily import the new year’s figures,” she says. “CaseWare is a highly efficient tool. If we need to make a change, that change automatically flows to the appropriate sections of the report. With Excel, we had to be extra cautious to ensure we updated every reference.” Leveraging CaseWare’s Capabilities for Financial Reporting Automation  The successful project of converting its financial statements to the PSAB format with CaseWare prompted the City of Saint John to consult with F.H. Black about other ways to leverage the software within the municipality. “They’ve since built additional templates for some of our distinct entities that file separately,” says Nguyen. “And we’re speaking with them now about how to use CaseWare to produce our quarterly and annual reports.” She concludes, “CaseWare represents a huge improvement over our old reporting process. It allows us to be more efficient, minimizing the manual data entry and the opportunity for errors that come with manual processes. I would definitely recommend CaseWare to other municipalities - it’s an easy decision.”  
Learn how the City of Saint John successfully tackled financial reporting automation and PSAB with CaseWare & F.H. Black & Company Incorporated.
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The City of Lacombe Saves $45,000 on Audit Services Thanks to CaseWare

The City of Lacombe Saves $45,000 on Audit Services Thanks to CaseWare

  • Jamie Black
  • Success Stories
  • minute(s)Nestled in one of Central Alberta’s most fer­tile valleys between Calgary and Edmonton lies Lacombe, a historically rich and pictur­esque city of 12,000. The City of Lacombe is responsible for providing residents with essential services, utilities, and amenities including fire and rescue, water and sewer, transit, and recreational resources. The City of Lacombe implemented Working Papers and Canadian Financials as part of an effort to improve and modernize the production of its annual financial statements. Not only has CaseWare Working Papers delivered on those expectations, it is deliver­ing time and financial savings well beyond the City’s expectations. Saving $45,000 in Fees “We implemented Working Papers in 2013 and used it that first year to produce the City’s financial statements, plus the statements for five of our entities. It was a complete success,” recalls Theresa Musser, Financial Services Manager for the City of Lacombe. “Shortly after we implemented Working Papers, we were able to renegotiate our audit servic­es contract with our accountancy firm - for a savings of $45,000.” From Months to Weeks Like many municipalities, the City of La­combe had been producing its annual fi­nancial statements using Excel® and Word®. There were literally dozens of complex and interlinked spreadsheets involved in the process that typically took four months to complete. “It was very time consuming,” Musser re­calls. “With six separate entities to report on, we sometimes needed to request an exten­sion in order to complete the filings.” Using Working Papers, the City shaved that four-month cycle down to just two weeks. “It’s so much more streamlined and straight forward now,” Musser notes. “And we’ve dramatical­ly cut down on the paper used, since all of our data and supporting documents are now stored electronically in the CaseWare files.” Without the need to print and route paper files throughout the office and to and from auditors, the entire process is more visible, trackable, and accountable. Streamline Audit Cycle The City’s audit firm also uses Working Papers, which further speeds and simplifies the statement production process. “The auditors have easier access to our data now; they can quickly find the files they need to review, and can follow a clear audit trail to where our numbers are coming from,” Musser says. “Before CaseWare, our auditors were typically on site for ten days. Now they only need three days on site. We are realizing an overall annual savings of 25 percent. This is a huge benefit to Lacombe.” Now, rather than providing numbers and supporting data to the audit firm for compilation of the financial statements, the City is generating its own financial statements using Working Papers. “This is important,” says Musser. “It makes for a pure audit, where the accountants are auditing our work, not their own efforts.” Partner Adds Value The City of Lacombe engaged F.H. Black & Company Incorporated, a CaseWare Certified Consultant, to implement Working Papers. “F.H. Black is just fantastic at what they do. They thoroughly understand the software and the nuances of municipal accounting,” says Mussser. “They set up our templates, provided us with great training, and help us understand additional ways we can leverage Working Papers.” Leverage the Tool One of the additional ways the City of Lacombe is leveraging Working Papers is by using it to produce its Financial Informational Return (FIR) and quarterly financial reporting. “F.H. Black prepared the templates for us and now producing these reports is very straightforward and efficient,” says Musser. “We had never even attempted quarterly reporting before because we saw it as too labour intensive.” Improve Confidence in the Numbers In addition to the substantially reduced audit fees and a faster year end attributed to Working Papers, the City also has improved overall confidence in its financial statements. “When you’re relying on spreadsheets, you must constantly double and triple check formulas and formatting for accuracy,” notes Musser. “There was always a concern that as we copied worksheets, something would get dropped or broken. With Working Papers, we have no such concerns.” We Love It CaseWare has provided a much simpler year end for the City of Lacombe. Musser concludes, “Our auditors love it. Our Council loves it. Our Commissioners love it. And we love it!”  
The City of Lacombe implemented CaseWare Working Papers & Financials and are realizing time and financial savings well beyond expectations.
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University of the Fraser Valley Automates Financial Reporting

University of the Fraser Valley Automates Financial Reporting

  • Jamie Black
  • Success Stories
  • minute(s)In the beautiful Fraser River Valley, just east of Vancouver, British Columbia, lies the University of the Fraser Valley (UFV), a fully accredited, public university enrolling approximately 15,000 each year. UFV is consistency ranked as one of the top universities in Canada by the Globe and Mail’s Canadian University Report.  In addition to its main campus, the University supports four satellite campuses throughout the region and has a growing presence in Chandigarh, India. UFV implemented CaseWare Working Papers and ASPE Financials as part of an effort to automate and streamline its financial reporting.  University Enrolls CaseWare UFV first saw Working Papers demonstrated at a finance conference, where CaseWare consultants F.H. Black & Company Incorporated were highlighting the success of another university’s experience with the solution. “We had heard of CaseWare, of course,” says Nicole Adams, CGA, the Associate Director of Finance for UFV. “As an accountant, I know its reputation well. Many Canadian accountancy firms use CaseWare. Until then, though, we hadn’t really thought of its application to a university like ours. It’s actually a good fit for us.” Style and Substance Like many institutions, UFV relied on spreadsheets and text documents to produce its financial statements. And like many institutions, it struggled to ensure that the reports produced in this way were accurate and properly formatted. Adams says the university has seen a huge improvement in the professionalism of its financial statements. “There is consistency in fonts, columns, spacing, and tables that was very hard to maintain in Word® and Excel®. The statements truly look great.” While the overall appearance of the financial statements is important, accuracy is the critical factor, and using Working Papers gives the university even greater confidence in the quality of its statements. “Adjustments are simple to complete and flow automatically through the statements so we’re assured everything is updated correctly,” explains Adams. “Our schedules and working papers are linked to the statements which efficiently organizes the statements and supporting documentation in one place.” PSAB Compliance Simplified In addition to the university’s desire to automate and streamline its financial reporting tasks, it was facing a required transition to the Public Sector Accounting Standards (PSAS), necessitating significant changes to the way it had been presenting its financial statements. In order to meet transition deadlines, UFV engaged F.H. Black & Company Incorporated to assist with the implementation of Working Papers and to customize the templates to accommodate the university’s Public Sector Accounting Board (PSAB) compliant financial statements. “It went very smoothly,” Adams recalls. “F.H. Black & Company Incorporated understood our goals and objectives and got us operational very quickly. We continue to receive excellent support from them. They go above and beyond to assist us.”  Year-Round Value In addition to the annual financial statements, UFV has leveraged its investment in and knowledge of the solution to help produce quarterly reports as well. The university downloads trial balance data from its SCT Banner® accounting system and uploads that data into Working Papers. “We can then produce a quarterly balance sheet and statement of operations,” says Adams. “CaseWare is proving to also be a great tool for interim reporting and being able to use it in this way streamline quarterly reporting requirements.”  Time Savings With the efficiencies provided by CaseWare, UFV is able to quickly respond to auditors’ questions and efficiently make late period adjustments. “We’ve shaved a lot of time off the creation of the statements themselves as well,” says Adams. “We can have draft-ready financial statements in just a couple of days.” Adams concludes, “We consider the implementation of CaseWare for our financial statements and supporting documentation a complete success.” F.H. Black & Company Incorporated has helped dozens of governments, universities, large corporations and accounting firms automate their financial reporting tasks. Interested in learning more about what CaseWare Working Papers could do for your organization?Take the first step and sign up for a webinar today.  
University of Fraser Valley uses CaseWare Working Papers to automate PSAB financial reporting
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City of Fort Saskatchewan Automates Financial Reporting With CaseWare

City of Fort Saskatchewan Automates Financial Reporting With CaseWare

  • Jamie Black
  • Success Stories
  • minute(s)A Success Story from our 2011 Fort Saskatchewan CaseWare Implementation The City of Fort Saskatchewan in the province of Alberta provides its almost 20,000 residents with a multitude of services and programs and receives its $45 million annual operating budget from various sources including property taxes, provincial and federal grants, and user fees. The City’s financial team is charged with many tasks including preparing year-end processes, working papers and financial statements, and is assisted in its tasks by CaseWare Working Papers, and CaseWare ASPE Financials. A Time-Consuming Process Until recently, the City’s staff relied primarily on spreadsheets to assemble the annual financial statements. “We experienced numerous delays preparing the financials,” recalls Mirjam Brett, Finance Director for the City of Fort Saskatchewan. “There were always manual edits and adjustments as we worked to ensure there were no errors. It was an extensive and time-consuming process.” A Favorite Among Accounting Firms The City’s finance team sought to shorten and simplify the entire year-end process. They spoke to colleagues at other municipalities to gain insight from their experiences. “We learned that other municipalities are using CaseWare,” says Holly Omelchuk, Senior Accountant for the City. “And we know CaseWare is used by many accounting firms, including our auditors.” Based on the positive feedback received from colleagues and the product’s reputation, the City moved ahead with the implementation of CaseWare. “We installed the software ourselves but quickly learned that we needed expert advice on setup, and needed training to ensure we used the product correctly and to its fullest potential,” says Mirjam. Expert Advice Enhances Value At a Government Finance Office Association (GFOA) conference, Mirjam met F.H. Black & Company Incorporated, CaseWare authorized trainers and consultants. “We were impressed and asked them to come in and help us,” says Mirjam. “The experience F.H. Black & Company Incorporated consultants have in setting up and using CaseWare is invaluable to us,” notes Mirjam. “The bonus for us was their knowledge and understanding of the internal processes municipalities experience during year-end preparations and the audit. This meant that we didn’t need to spend time explaining how we operate.” Using the import functionality that is built in to CaseWare Working Papers, the City imported its general ledger data and mapped its accounts, recreating the prior year’s financial statements as a test. “It worked! F.H. Black & Company Incorporated provided the training and support to correctly group the accounts, set up the consolidated structure and worked through our year-end process with us,” notes Holly.  “Now, our financial statement generation is almost completely automated. We import the data from our accounting software and make all the adjustments in CaseWare,” says Mirjam. “It is much faster to work in CaseWare, easier to troubleshoot and create any on-the-fly reports we need.” All supporting information is scanned and electronically attached to the CaseWare files, eliminating the need for thick file folders of supporting data. Financial Reporting “We feel like we have only skimmed the surface of the power of CaseWare. We plan to utilize it more this year to create monthly financials and quarterly reports. We are looking into using it to help monitor the costs associated with our infrastructure projects.” In addition to using CaseWare to create its annual PSAB-compliant financial statement, the City also is using the software to automate the FIR (Financial Information Return). An unexpected benefit of the CaseWare solution is its role in helping train junior accounting staff members. “They are able to immediately see the effect a journal entry has on the financial statement,” explains Holly. “It helps them understand the logic and relevance of their work.” Cost Savings Mirjam says that CaseWare is saving the City a tremendous amount of time. “Annual report generation used to involve lots of overtime and lots of weekends at the office,” she says. “Since we started using CaseWare, we have reduced overtime.” Holly adds, “It is almost push-button easy. CaseWare is definitely paying for itself.” Now preparing for annual audits is much simpler for the City, and it is anticipated that audit costs will come down in the subsequent years. “Because our auditors also use CaseWare, we can simply hand them a memory stick with our data rather than the stacks of paper files we used to,” explains Mirjam. Recently, Mirjam attended the Western Canada GFOA Conference, and was invited to speak about the City’s experience with CaseWare at the conference. “I was happy to do so. We are very pleased with CaseWare and the efficiencies it brings us,” concludes Mirjam. F.H. Black & Company Incorporated has helped hundreds of municipalities; accounting firms, universities and large corporations automate their financial reporting. Interested in learning more about what CaseWare Working Papers could do for your organization? Take the first step and sign up for a webinar today.
We have helped hundreds of municipalities, accounting firms, universities & large corporations automate their financial reporting. Here is another one.
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