Reporting is one of your most important and often time-consuming tasks. We talked to Jagoda Kirilo, Manager of Budget and Accounting, from Hamilton-Wentworth Catholic District School Board (HWCDSB) about how they turned around some of their biggest reporting challenges thanks to better technology and integrated solutions. The district serves more than 29,000 students, at 55 schools, 4 continuing education sites, with 3100 staff and an operating budget of $360 million a year.
“We had a huge inability to provide timely financial updates to senior admin because a lot of our data had to be pulled and manipulated before any analysis could be done. It could have been three weeks to a month before we could provide a financial statement,” Jagoda says.
“We used to have to wait until month end to pull data but now we can go in on any day, at any time and pull any data we want and be able to provide that to senior admin. Especially if they have any questions about
Does it feel like government reporting is always a manual, cumbersome, resource-heavy process that can even take weekends and evenings? Getting these structured and specific reports right can be a mission in itself.
“We saw a lot of efficiencies around EFIS and all the subschedules,” Jagoda says. “These were very cumbersome to provide out of our old system and now they’re just a click away. The great thing is they can be created in house so you’re not waiting for someone to create them for you – it’s easy to build it.”
These reporting tools are saving HWCDSB 30 hours a month compared to their prior system.
The more manual your processes are, the more systems and shadow spreadsheets, the more likely you’re facing a data integrity issue in your organization. Your staff are likely constantly checking, validating, and going back through financial system – wasting their time, which could be better used on other tasks.
If you are able to automate reports, you can reduce manual processes and reduce errors.
“One example is we created an in house received but not invoiced report, which we use internally to determine goods that have been received but not invoiced,” Jagoda says. “The intent is to ensure we’re paying vendors on time but also at year end to form our accrual. For each report created there’s an option to have an error report to ensure all data has been pulled through properly.”
The nature of finance teams is they’re trying to analyze data and recognize key indicators to help steer the organization. Unfortunately, many organizations are struggling with this due to having to spend undue time on tactical tasks. When organizations are able to do this analysis, it often involves dumping data into excel, and spending hours number crunching to producing reports.
“Morale for our staff has increased because they’re not inundated with data manipulation, now they’re pulling these reports and they’re analyzing the data,” Jagoda says. “And decisions by senior admin can be made in a timelier manner because they’re not waiting for reports to be provided three weeks to a month later.”
Want to hear more from Jagoda? Watch the recent webinar on myths and facts of K12 reporting.