Modernizing With CentralSquare: Tukwila, WA Turns to Finance Enterprise
“A small city with big-city issues,” – this is how residents describe the city of Tukwila, WA. A small town south of Seattle with an approximate population of 20,000 residents, Tukwila’s large commercial district brings in an additional 100,000 non-residents daily. This huge influx of visitors creates the need for larger police and fire departments to handle the increased demands. While handling resident and visitor safety needs, Tukwila also had the important task of managing the city’s financial priorities.
Having the responsibility of handling financial planning, analysis, reporting, and operations, Tukwila needed a financial system that would most effectively help perform day-to-day operations.
Vicky Carlsen, Finance Director of Tukwila, WA, expressed that the most critical challenge their financial department faced was the lack of reporting capabilities with their pre-existing finance software. The system produced reports that did not serve their purpose. External departments struggled to understand the information because of the way reports were structured in the system – creating a challenge in sharing information. Carlsen stated that her team began exporting data to other systems to create functional reports. “We end up spending far more time reconciling spreadsheets than we do actual data analysis,” Carlsen says.
Tukwila needed software that not only modernized operations, but a solution that produced results.
Meeting Our Department's Wants and Needs
Tukwila’s financial department began their search for new software with an extensive list to find a product that met their wants and needs. At the top of their list – reporting capability was number one. Their team needed an automated system that would reduce reporting time so that they could focus their efforts on data analysis. It was also important to find a solution that was intuitive. Team members needed to be able to learn a system that was user-friendly enough so colleagues in other departments could understand their reports.
An additional and necessary requirement was to find the right vendor. Lack of customer support and no resolution to their significant problems became a barrier to doing routine job functions.
Finding a new finance software was no simple task. Modernizing to a new system meant making a financial commitment to a new product with hopes of sustainability. Their team needed a solution that was efficient, flexible, and proven.
What Do You Want the System To Do For You?
Tukwila’s finance department described their process to finding the right solution as “checklist extensive.” One of the pertinent questions Carlsen posed to her team was, “What do you want the system to do for you?”
Considering factors such as functionality and effectiveness, the Tukwila financial department made the decision to invest in CentralSquare’s Finance Enterprise System. They were convinced that Finance Enterprise met their specific department needs including:
- Reporting and Analytics: Their department was plagued with inefficient reporting tools. They were hindered with manual processes to developing reports, affecting their ability to do necessary data analysis. Among other competitors, Carlsen stated that CentralSquare’s Finance Enterprise system offered the best reporting tool that added automated workflows to their processes and gave their team better internal control. Information became centralized and easy to access.
- Ease of Use: They were sold on the system’s responsive interface, ease of use, and ability to configure the system to meet their agency needs – helping them maximize time spent on daily operations. The system features workspaces and dashboards tailored to an individual role or configured to display specific information. “There was consensus among those who participated in the demos that the system definitely appeared to be easy to navigate through and would be easy to learn from an end-user standpoint,” Carlsen said.
“The Right Choice For Us”
The Tukwila finance department is currently in the transition of phasing out their current solution to implementing Finance Enterprise. However, during this transition, Carlsen said that the system is intuitive and that she has already begun creating reports without having received any training.
Change management is a reality. Switching to new systems and software, no matter how large or small your agency is, can come with challenges; but, making the investment to modernize to the right solution is worth the journey.
As Carlsen states, “This is a decision we’re going to be living with for a very long time. We didn’t want the first solution or the easy solution. We wanted the right choice for us.” CentralSquare’s Finance Enterprise system proved to be the right choice.