Utilized a manual, time consuming, and challenging process to produce the CAFR.
Switch from Word and Excel files to CaseWare Working Papers financial statement preparation.
Automating processes and making financial reporting more efficient and effective.
We spoke to Paul Bresnahan, Financial Analyst, City of Las Vegas, about his experience.
Recognizing the Challenge:
For the City of Las Vegas, financial reporting has typically been viewed as a complex, time-consuming, and challenging task. For years, the need to ensure financial data was accurate and consistent filled the work-hours of numerous employees within the city’s Finance Department.
The development of the city’s Comprehensive Annual Financial Report (CAFR) was a particularly labor-intensive affair. To complete the CAFR and other major financial reporting documents, the Finance Department used Word and Excel files, conducted manual reconciliations on a whiteboard, and relied heavily on the knowledge of a long-term employee to understand year-over-year information and assumptions.
In 2015, given the rapid increase in public scrutiny of municipal finances combined with the desire to make processes more efficient, cost-effective and transparent, the Finance Department decided to implement a tool to help improve its financial reporting.
Implementing the CaseWare Solution:
In 2015, the City of Las Vegas decided to implement CaseWare’s Working Papers solution as a means to improve the effectiveness and efficiency of its finance function – particularly related to financial reporting.
To aid in the transition to Working Papers, the city engaged Gray CPA Consulting – a consulting company with extensive experience working with municipal governments to implement CaseWare solutions.
Since the tool was first implemented, the Finance Department has changed dramatically. Staff no longer need to spend copious amounts of time sifting through paperwork to ensure information is accurate and balanced. With CaseWare, financial reporting has been simplified immensely.
“I can now go into Oracle, pull the GL extract, flow it into CaseWare – and all the data goes where it needs to go,” Bresnahan explained. “The interface and flow-through are easy. It’s very automated.”
Recognizing the Benefits:
Finance Department staff at the City of Las Vegas believe CaseWare Working Papers is exceeding expectations.
Workflows and activities within Working Papers are highly automated and easy to leverage. As a result, the department eliminated manual activities and minimized reliance on longterm employees for consistent reporting and balances.
Using CaseWare, the Finance Department develops its CAFR much more efficiently, while being more confident in the information and financials they are reporting. The reduction in time required to conduct reporting also means the Finance Department can spend more time on higher-value activities, providing better support and information to support the city's financial decision making.
In addition to automating processes and making financial reporting more
efficient and effective, CaseWare Working Papers has given management within the department more insight into activities related to financial reporting. Bresnahan explained,
“While the analysts only see their own pieces of the process, I can see totals and all the different activities being conducted. This means I can catch mistakes and errors very quickly so they do not cause issues down the road.”
Having the Right Support:
While the City of Las Vegas has been highly satisfied with CaseWare’s performance, they also stressed the value of having the support provided by Gray CPA Consulting. This was particularly true when one staff member initially involved with CaseWare implementation left the department and a new individual took over.
“Having someone on call who understands government complexities and reporting was instrumental in getting our CAFR completed on time,” Bresnahan said. “They were able to coach me through the process so that everything could get completed.”
Informed Decision Making:
In addition to meeting the expectations of the Government Finance Officers and the Auditing Standards, the City of Mobile has been empowered with information it can use for informed decision making.
“After our year-end processing, we pull the trial balance into Working Papers and instantly know where we stand. We now know what the year looks like in a few weeks after year end, rather than in a few months.”
“CaseWare Working Papers and GAAP Financials are so flexible that we feel confident that it can handle any new accounting standards we may face in the future.”
Looking to the Future:
The Finance Department plans to continue leveraging CaseWare Working Papers as much as possible. The City of Las Vegas is taking a continuous improvement approach to refinements, making each iteration of reporting easier and more efficient. Overall, the city is excited to have a system that facilitates confidence in financial reporting so they can make better decisions in the future.
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