Garden Grove, California, Goes Live with CentralSquare Finance Enterprise Software
By replacing its 40-year-old ERP system, Garden Grove modernizes its technology footprint with a fully integrated and centralized finance, HR and payroll management software suite
Lake Mary, Fla., Sept. 23, 2020 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — CentralSquare Technologies, an industry leader in public sector software, announced today that the City of Garden Grove, California, has successfully gone live with CentralSquare Finance Enterprise software. The two-phase technology upgrade will replace the City’s 40-year-old legacy system with a modern software suite to enhance operational efficiency, facilitate transparency, enhance internal controls and integrate administrative business functions.
“To replace our decades-old system, we needed a solid ERP system with strong reporting and control structures alongside a foundational chart of accounts to serve as the backbone of our entire finance system,” said Finance Director Patricia Song. “The configurable platform in CentralSquare supports more than data analytics, cost tracking, budgeting and other capabilities; it’s helping us to transform our operations because we can apply best practices for strategically enhancing efficiencies across our organization.”
With the new system, Garden Grove gains a centralized financial management software suite that combines finance, human resources and payroll into one fully integrated suite upon completion of the second phase of implementation. By offering one point of data entry for all information, the system reduces the need for redundant data processes. In one example, the city is realizing an immediate efficiency upon completion of its first phase of implementation: centralized invoice processing. Previously, invoices might bypass the Finance Department altogether if routed directly to a department or employee outside of Finance. Employees who received the invoices would manually review and code the invoices before sending to Finance, bypassing the ability to ensure compliance with budget and purchasing requirements and limiting visibility into the overall spending status.
“The new system really pushes us as an organization to transform our processes,” added Song. “Now, invoices can be applied to purchase orders without our team having to find the relevant information from user departments. Not only does this save time and reduce stress, it helps us to solve a reporting deficiency identified in previous audits.
“In terms of updating our internal control processes, we’re benefiting in three distinct areas: system configuration allows us to design and set up security protocols for ensuring checks and balances; automation removes any manual manipulation, preventing fraudulent activity; and login reports detect user access. Compared to before, management has greater confidence because we’re making sure transactions are monitored and fraudulent activities are prevented.
“From a workflow perspective, the automation has given us another immediate improvement. Approvers get an automated email, and they can simply reply with ‘Y’ or ‘yes’ to approve the transaction or ‘N’ or ‘no’ to reject. This is significant because our approvers often are away from their desks. The capability of reviewing and approving the transactions by a mobile device improves efficiency and ultimately enables us to better serve our community.”
The fifth largest city in Orange County, Garden Grove’s Finance Department consistently receives high marks for fostering a culture of accountability. The Government Finance Officers Association (GFOA) has awarded the Certificate of Achievement for Excellence in Financial Reporting to the city for its Comprehensive Annual Financial Report (CAFR) for 34 consecutive years. The Certificate of Achievement is the highest form of recognition in the area of governmental accounting and financial reporting, and its attainment represents a significant accomplishment by a government and its management.
In leading the city’s implementation efforts, the City focused on five essential primary goals: streamlining processes, improving efficiency, promoting transparency, implementing advanced analytics and ensuring well-informed decision-making. The implementation plan is divided in two phases: the first phase is Finance, and the second phase will cover Human Capital Management and Payroll.
According to Song, “Our recent system upgrade allows us to gather data more accurately. When we have the numbers to speak to our results, confidence grows because we’re able to benchmark and develop a more performance-driven budget. For stakeholders and decision makers, that’s crucial because they have useful information to make better decisions in allocating scarce resources to address the community’s needs.”