Before Laserfiche, the invoice approval process was handled with interoffice mail and the Lawson Accounts Payable module. When the invoice was received in the finance office, they would scan the invoice to their local drives, determine the associated purchase order, and send the physical invoice to the appropriate department for approval. If an invoice were sent electronically, the office would print it out and then enter the data into the system before sending it out through interoffice mail. When approval to pay an invoice was sent back by the departmental approver, the finance office would then manually release the invoice for payment in Lawson and store the paper documents in their vendor files.
“Having MCCi do our training as we implemented Laserfiche and being able to collaborate with them in training to develop that workflow was huge for us,”
In January, the City of St. Charles was awarded the Run Smarter Award, presented annually by Laserfiche to five organizations recognizing best-in-class Enterprise Content Management (ECM) integrations.
St. Charles, a suburb of Chicago with roughly 33,000 residents, began implementing Laserfiche in early 2015. Since then, approximately 56,000 documents migrated from legacy systems to Laserfiche, but the first step was revamping the city’s invoice, purchase order and check intake process in their accounts payable office.
At the end of each fiscal year, the files were boxed up and sent to the city archives for storage. The process generated 10 to 13 banker boxes of files each year, and there are currently 88 boxes being stored until their retention requirements are met, and they can be destroyed.
Incorporating steps that require paper into a workflow that was already largely electronic didn’t make sense, so department managers began looking for a system that would not only eliminate the paper in their invoice approval process but could work with the existing electronic processes they had in place. They also wanted software that would integrate with processes in other city departments, including city administration, human resources, information systems and public works.
“We knew we wanted a dynamic system that allowed us to handle the historical records we scan in and store and migrate our data from ApplicationExtender, but we wanted to make sure that whatever we were also utilizing had the ability to automate business processes for the city,” said City Records Division Manager Jackie Uhler.
The City of St. Charles decided to implement Laserfiche over other systems because of its simple, intuitive interface. MCCi’s explanation of the product and their reputation as a reliable and knowledgeable vendor cemented the city’s belief in the project, said Uhler. The city put up fliers about the project all over City Hall and held an informational kickoff meeting to answer questions about the switch to Laserfiche.
“Having MCCi do our training as we implemented Laserfiche and being able to collaborate with them in training to develop that workflow was huge for us,” said Uhler. “Not only did we learn how to use the tool, but by the end of the process we were able to have fully functioning workflows that we could implement with only some minor adjustments on our side.”
The City of St. Charles was also able to work closely with another MCCi client, the City of Corpus Christi, Texas, which had also recently integrated Laserfiche into their Lawson-based invoice approval and had specific code that made the transition even more seamless for the City of St. Charles. The two cities plan to continue their Laserfiche collaboration efforts.
Now the process is entirely electronic; the St. Charles finance office no longer collects physical invoices for storage each year. The invoice approvals take much less time to complete, and there is no risk of them being lost or misplaced. The implementation has reduced invoice processing time by 80% percent and eliminated paper from the process.
Because the excitement generated by the city and the success with the accounts payable implementation, Uhler, and Senior Systems Analyst Michael Drake say the city’s other departments are “all in” for further Laserfiche implementation.
“In the City of St. Charles, there is tremendous excitement,” said Drake. “I think MCCi did a great job of building that up. People were ready to change. We have a lot of excitement for what we can do with this product.”