Currency of change
Local government is at the apex of change
Councils must move forward technologically to be able to deliver the services their ratepayers now demand and must do so efficiently and cost-effectively on all levels. Legacy systems are old, expensive, inefficient systems. It’s that simple.
Ironically though, council financial managers are still finding it difficult to convince some elected members and the community at large that an investment in technology is key to long-term efficiencies. That is despite the growing number of stories of highly successful transformations that have changed the way a council operates for the better.
There are many benefits associated with moving to a contemporary enterprise system that delivers a real-time view of council finances, according to TechnologyOne Local Government Industry Director, Peter Suchting.
Its fully integrated enterprise software solution, OneCouncil, enables councils to better connect with their communities on any device, anywhere, anytime.
TechnologyOne's Suchting says the benefits of having a fully integrated enterprise solution with powerful financial capabilities include the ability to draw upon reliable, real-time data to develop accurate reports and forecasts and make well-informed, strategic management decisions.
Access to good data is something that the elected officials – the councillors charged with ensuring local government authorities meet the needs of the community and spend its money wisely – understand.
Keeping up to date
Brendon Roberts, for instance, is now a councillor on the Randwick City Council in Sydney and is also its former deputy mayor.
He describes Randwick as one of the more professional councils in Sydney, and says he and his colleagues rely on council staff to keep them up to date with the latest information.
"When a matter comes up in a monthly meeting that involves expenditure it is put on the agenda for approval. In the report the staff produce for us there is a financial impact section so we know the impact of the decision we are about to make."
"It is the primary source for councillors and we are basically beholden to that advice."
Those council staff, in return, are beholden to the quality of data they can get from the system.
"In my experience, the staff are always available and open to answering any questions," Roberts says.
The director of governance and his staff are able to provide very detailed answers. "When the new accounting system came in I had a one-on-one briefing with the director of governance who took me through the accounting system," he says. "It's pretty granular accounting."
As a result, the local community benefits from better, more rapid and relevant decision-making, more effective use of scarce resources and ultimately, enhanced service delivery.
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