City to purchase new financial software package for $73,185

Wednesday, January 31, 2018

Software expected to make daily tasks easier, more efficient

When a program doesn't work as it should, it can cause a lot of lost time, productivity, and frustration.

To help alleviate that experience for city employees attempting to accomplish daily, routine tasks that are part of managing a city, the Cassville City Council recently approved the purchase of a new financial software system.

According to Jennifer Evans, Cassville city clerk and finance officer, employees have been encountering ongoing obstacles with their current, older system while attempting to carry out daily tasks, which has caused them to lose hours, and sometimes days, completing what should have taken minutes.

"Our software right now is so bad that Quickbooks would be better than [what we have]," Evans said. "We've wasted days of work trying to fix this or that. It's just not reliable."

In October 2017, Evans sent out a request for proposals for new software to seven vendors, five of which we responded. In the requests, Evans asked the vendors to provide information about their software based on the following, scored categories:

1. Experience with similar cities - max score 10 points

2. Modules and capabilities of modules - max score 35 points

3. Price of implementation - max score 30 points

4. Price of annual maintenance - max score 10 points

5. Hardware capability - max score 10 points

6. Completeness of proposal - max score 5 points

The scored results, and product pricing, came in as follows:

First choice - BS&A, score of 86; $73,185

Second Choie - Tyler Technologies, score of 78; $81,393

Third choice was Accufund, score of 71; $49,851

Fourth place was Software Solutions, score of 60; $90,300, and

Fifth place was Abila/Zobrio, score of 46; $85,263

Based on a thorough review of the proposal results, pricing structure, terms, and physical demonstration of each company's respective software, Evans recommended, hands-down, BS&A.

"I think [their product] meets every need and then some," she told council members. "They came down to do a demo, and their customer service was also very strong."

Evans shared that she believed the purchase would pay-off both short and long-term.

"It is costly but also an investment," she said. "I plan on having this for years to come. I am confident in this company."

Evans said the company took time to show employees how the system worked, and explain its benefits and features, which she was excited about. The features would allow department heads to easily see what funds are in their respective accounts, help them budget, allow them to more easily complete requisitions and purchase orders, and that offered improved communications.

Steve Walensky, city administrator, said he echoed Evan's statements.

"First, I want to make one thing clear," he said. "We don't doubt the numbers in our financial system. There's nothing we're worried about there."

Walensky was referring to Evans' earlier comment that glitches with the current system have made carrying out simple, common tasks like accounting difficult.

"I think it offers improved ways of how information is conveyed back and forth," he said.

Cherry Bailey, who was sworn in as deputy clerk at the council's Jan. 8 meeting, agreed the current software was problematic.

"We've had to go back and recheck things," she said. "The program is just not keeping up; I don't think it's evolved with the progress [we've made]. I'm real excited the departments will have access to their own reports. Previously, they've had to go through us [city clerks], so they had very limited access; this program will really speed things up."

The 26-year-old, employee-owned company also offered the city an impressive guarantee.

"They offered us a 100-percent money back guarantee if we don't like it after a year," Evans said. "No other company even comes close to that. The sooner we get this done, the healthier we will be."

Evans reported that the company would hold a class and remain onsite for five to 10 days to train employees, and the prospective date to the new system would take effect would be early summer.

"We're hoping to be up and running by June," she said.

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