From my professional experience, the correct ERP system can vastly improve a small government's operational effectiveness, just as the incorrect ERP system can become an anchor. In the busy work lives of finance officers, who wear many hats, we look for any opportunity to improve efficiency through processes, controls, policies, and procedures. However, implementing a new initiative in these areas relies on the flexibility, scope, and reliability of the ERP system in place.
When I started as the finance director of the City of Rockledge, it was clear our ERP system needed to be replaced. While reliable and functional, the program was no longer strongly supported in the realm of emergent cybersecurity. Furthermore, the program was not scalable to entity-wide operations and could not improve current practices. We garnered support for the replacement of the system through input on security and reliability from our IT department, from discussions of inefficiencies with our Finance Department, and through listening and addressing the concerns of department Directors on the timeliness and thoroughness of data. These challenges were brought to City Management, and ultimately City Council, resulting in the budgeted initiative to find a replacement software.
Our new ERP system provides solutions for many of our previous concerns. It is regularly updated to deal with cyber-security concerns. Additionally, it is more reliable and has been scaled out to all departments. It allows for internal transparency and facilitates online purchases and information searches for social distancing. Finally, the new software has allowed us to create policies and procedures that enabled us to earn the Certificate of Achievement in Financial Reporting.
This article purposefully omits the name of the software to avoid an unbiased selection process for those interested in pursuing this initiative. However, GFOA has many resources on ERP readiness, system selection, implementation, and technology guidance, including live and e-learning CPE courses.
For more information, check out these GFOA resources: