Enable Remote Work With More Efficiency

  • Industry: District
  • Location: Detroit, MI
  • Number of Employees: More than 60
  • Service Area: 4.7 million across seven counties
  • Tyler Client Since: 2019
  • Tyler Products Used: : Incode®, Tyler Content Manager
  • Website: www.semcog.org

The Southeast Michigan Council of Governments (SEMCOG) is a seven-county regional planning partnership serving more than 4.7 million residents. Since the organization’s inception in the late 1960s, it has strived to improve the lives of those it serves through metropolitan planning efforts such as water quality controls, safer and more efficient public transportation options, and revitalized community and economic development opportunities. To achieve its goals, SEMCOG relies heavily on data analysis and efficient use of annual grant and project funding.

“Our grant project structure is very different because our primary funding source is from grants,” said Misty Jordan, SEMCOG director of administration. “We don’t have departments in the traditional sense. Expenses are charged to projects, not general ledger accounts.”

In 2019, Jordan and her team realized the system they had in place to manage their day-to-day financial and reporting needs was no longer effective.

“We used a software that was developed for regional councils, where we all had similar needs and it was designed just for us,” Jordan said. “Over time, technology advanced and updating the system became really challenging and expensive.”

Faced with the challenge of manual entry, outdated report structures, and lack of software support to manage their varying cost allocation requirements, the organization decided to look for software vendors that could handle their unique needs.

Designed to Meet Their Needs

Turning to Tyler’s Incode solution, Jordan and her staff worked alongside an expert implementation team to fulfill the specialized objectives needed for their business.

“Instead of two sets of accounting books, we now have one cohesive system,” Jordan said. “It has allowed us to have a more detailed look into our cost allocations. It is easier to set up and understand, and for accountants to use.”

Leveraging Incode has allowed SEMCOG to track expenses through the various channels their accounting structure requires. SEMCOG utilizes Incode to efficiently track their annual budget, run extensive reports, and process audits without hesitation or complication.

“The solution allowed us to report on a more granular level,” Jordan said. “We can, with ease and minimal data entry, create the new fiscal year, new grants, and budgets. This solution has eliminated most of the subsidiary spreadsheets used to track information. It has created more accuracy and provided us with real-time information.”

From In-Office to Stay-at-Home

SEMCOG began implementing Incode in late 2019, pushing a tight timeline for internal needs and impending audits. Within a few months of this effort, COVID-19 shut down government offices and required SEMCOG to shift to remote work. Jordan said implementing Incode played a vital role in their ability to transition to stay-at-home orders.

“COVID-19 changed everything for us,” she said. “Before implementing the new software, we would have had to stay in office. Incode allowed my team to completely transition to a remote environment seamlessly. We have effectively and efficiently operated 100% remotely since March 2020, which includes conducting our annual audit.”

In addition to enabling remote work, SEMCOG has been able to think critically about their processes and their needs, including the transition to a completely paperless environment as well as breaking down silos between departments.

Years ago, I don’t think we ever would have entertained the finance team being able to work from home at any capacity. Now we’re not exactly sure if they’re going to go back to the office completely because we believe that we can offer them the opportunity to work from home on a more permanent basis.

Misty Jordan

Director of Administration, Southeast Michigan Council of Governments

Case Study Highlights

  • Improved grant and project reporting
  • Moved to completely paperless processes
  • Gained detail look at cost allocations

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