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FEB 17, 2022

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CUSTOMER STORIES

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, Wash. 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 for the City of Tukwila, 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.

City of Tukwila’s Challenge

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.

CentralSquare’s Solution

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.
  • Cloud-based Software: CentralSquare’s cloud-based finance software solutions offer several advantages compared with traditional software. Having that software reside in the cloud helps increase the overall security of an agency’s systems and data, minimizing the risk of ransomware attacks. Because CentralSquare manages the software there’s no need for local IT staff to implement updates. And if a situation arises where employees are required to work remotely, they will be able to access the platform from wherever they may be.

Why CentralSquare was the Right Choice for Tukwila

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, and municipalities of all types are undergoing a digital transformation. Fortunately, you won’t go through the process alone. CentralSquare will be there every step of the way with online education and support, meaning you’ll never be left in the dark. 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.

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CentralSquare is partnering with public safety and public administration agencies across North America with solutions ranging from computer-aided dispatch to 9111 systems as well as tax collection and asset management software, helping to improve efficiencies and lower costs.

Want to know more? Schedule a demo today. One of our experts will reach out to you shortly to see how CentralSquare can better help you serve your community.

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