About the Customer
Rochester, N.Y. is located on the southern shore of Lake Ontario. The City government provides services to over 210,000 residents. Over time, Rochester has collected many nicknames such as “the Flour City,” “the Flower City,” “the World’s Image Center,” and most recently “the Photonics Capital of the World.”
As a city, Rochester is globally identified as the home of innovation. The city hosts industries in many areas, including and medical-research and imaging. The area is popular for numerous outstanding universities.
Scope and Challenges
Workiva announced that the City of Rochester, N.Y., is using Wdesk to improve its Comprehensive Annual Financial Report (CAFR) process.
“Wdesk has helped us bring our CAFR into one unified document where everything is linked, which has saved us countless hours and helped ensure accuracy,” said Rosiland Brooks-Harris, Deputy Director of Finance for the City of Rochester. A CAFR is a complex financial report that consolidates data from various departments and must comply with Governmental Accounting Standards Board requirements.
To build their CAFR, Brooks-Harris and her team collect between 80 and 100 documents from nearly 10 departments. Before Wdesk, the City of Rochester team built their narrative report separately from their spreadsheets and added most of their information manually.
With Wdesk, the team was able to link their narrative and numbers together in a single document, along with all supporting reports. Any changes immediately update in all linked instances throughout their CAFR.
“Rounding numbers consistently across spreadsheets was a big issue before we started using Wdesk,” she explained. “Every number has to tie among statements, and there was always worry that we might miss something somewhere. We spent hours trying to match everything. But now that it’s all linked in Wdesk, we feel comfortable that we have accurate, consistent information.”
Outcome and Implications
“The majority of the time savings with Wdesk for 2017 was in preparing the financial statements,” Brooks-Harris said. “We saw increased efficiencies with our large spreadsheets, and we linked an incredible amount of data. It has been much better. I wouldn’t go back to the old system, that’s for sure.”
Wdesk also allows Brooks-Harris’ team to work with their existing systems. “One of the main reasons we picked Wdesk was because we did not have to change our legacy systems,” she said. “We had already invested so much time and effort into mapping our system. If Wdesk were not flexible, we would have had to start from scratch, which would have more than doubled our implementation time.”
Wdesk also gives the City of Rochester’s finance team a platform for controlled collaboration, which is becoming more important as teamwork-oriented millennials populate the nation’s workforce.
“Younger employees use technology to solve problems differently than their predecessors. Combined with the institutional knowledge of our seasoned staff, Wdesk helps us all work together. It will improve our process for years to come.” Said - Rosiland Brooks-Harris, Deputy Director of Finance for the City of Rochester.
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