City Finance Dept. Breaks Status Quo

August 03, 2020 by Meredith Trimble

City Finance Dept. Breaks Status Quo

In many cities across the country, operations are siloed with a department-level focus on outcomes and processes. This was the case in Port St. Lucie, where the finance department, for example, was seen only as the repository for money and the route for paying bills.

“The challenge, which is ongoing, is to prove that ERP is built to connect every aspect of city operations, from the legal department to parks and recreation,” noted Charlie Proulx, the city’s innovation officer.

To break the status quo, the city embarked on a Planned Annual Continuing Education (PACE) program led by its technology partner. The PACE program for ERP system users led to a wider organizational training where staff had a hands-on view of how the financial system can work to solve a variety of issues.

The efficiencies resulting from the training have saved the city more than $250,000 annually.

The ongoing training program aims to break down siloes and provide a successful road map for other organizations in connecting government departments to each other as well as to the communities they serve.

“Data silos are a very common issue throughout governments today,” said Proulx. “When the entire framework is connected, management can turn data into information then information into insight.”

This enterprise-wide focus, real savings, and commitment to creating critical connections earned Port St. Lucie a 2020 Tyler Excellence Award for innovation.

The city, however, didn’t stop there. Faced with more than 1,000 invoices each month for electricity alone, a project team of finance and IT staff worked to tackle repetitive data entry and manual A/P processes. By using a cloud-based solution that integrated the electronic energy invoices into the ERP software, the city eliminated an FTE and achieved an estimated 80% cost savings in paying bills.

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