Clark payroll system will save time, money

Auditor says upgrade will eliminate some work still done by hand.

New accounting and payroll systems for the county will be more efficient — replacing some work done by hand — and save taxpayers money, Clark County Auditor John Federer said.

The systems could cost $1 million to $1.5 million, but bids recently came back lower than expected. Officials want to have the systems ready sometime next year, Federer said.

“It’s going to save a lot money,” Federer said.

Federer said it is hard to quantify how much time would be saved by public employees and wouldn’t estimate a total savings.

However, he said, “The payback on this thing will be quick.”

The current technology is about 15 years old.

“It might have been good back in the 1990s, but it’s not good now,” Federer said.

Federer said the county government currently includes paper-based systems. Some departments are still handwriting payroll sheets and purchase transactions, and in some instances data is being entered four different times. They’re currently inputting payroll for 1,200 employees every two weeks using paper time sheets.

“It’s not efficient and it’s not effective,” Federer said.

The current method is not compatible with any type of modern software, such as Microsoft Windows. The system is also on a non-standard server that doesn’t even have parts available if they need to be replaced, said county administrator Nathan Kennedy.

“If the server goes down, so does our software,” Kennedy said. “If that happens, we’re handwriting checks … It obviously needs to be replaced.”

The new system will provide processes for accounting, payroll and accounts payable. The system will work with the county government as well as other agencies such as the Dept. of Jobs and Family Services, the Transportation Coordination Committee, Mental Health and Recovery Board and even the West Central Corrections Facility in Marysville.

Federer said departments and agencies often come to the office physically pay bills. The new system will make the process much easier.

“You won’t have people driving down here,” Federer said.

Developmental Disabilities of Clark County comptroller Ravi Shankar said the system needs to be revamped. Shankar said payroll is done in-house at their office, but the same information is being entered at the auditor’s office.

“It’s a lot of duplication,” Shankar said.

Federer is partnering with agencies that will use the software such as Developmental Disabilities of Clark County, the county sheriff, treasurer and Community Development department, among others, to decide how the software can best be implemented.

“I want to make sure that what we buy satisfies them, too,” Federer said. “We’ve developed partnerships that have never existed before like they have today.”

The agencies also use different systems that have to mesh with other systems.

“We have to be real sensitive that our system will talk to their system,” Federer said.

Shankar said there will be a learning curve and training will be required for all the agencies involved, but it’s “the right time to move on” from the old system.

The Board of Clark County Commissioners opened bids for the new system recently with prices ranging anywhere from approximately $423,000 to $566,000. Commissioners discussed the bids Tuesday morning.

County officials are expecting the project to cost upwards of $1 million. The initial bids will be analyzed to make sure they’re complete, according to county administrator Nathan Kennedy.

“If they are complete, these are real good bids,” Kennedy said. “We were anticipating something far, far higher.”

Federer believes the bids did not include important details, such as hardware. He expects the system to cost more than the bids discussed at the commission meeting.

Kennedy said 12 vendors asked for a copy of the request for proposals, but only two returned bid packages.

County Commissioner Rick Lohnes said the auditor’s office performs tasks for all local agencies, including township governments and others — making the system important for the entire county.

“Everybody has to go through the auditor,” Lohnes said. “It’s going to take training, but it’s going to be a good system.”

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