New Reports Lead to Sound Fiscal Decision-Making — City of Bainbridge Island, Washington

“We needed our entire budget schedules put into Crystal Reports. The budget reporting has a complex background structure and CRS worked with our staff diligently to make sure the reports were accurate and professional.”

Client Profile

The City of Bainbridge Island (COBI) is a 28 square-mile island in Puget Sound, a 35-minute ferry ride from Seattle. The city has a population of 23,108 and an annual operating budget of $54 million. COBI’s Finance & Administrative Services department oversees the City’s budget preparation, public funds investment, cash management, debt issuance, revenue, and receivables. COBI has used Tyler MUNIS software since 2004.

Challenge

Budget and Finance departments are responsible for monthly financial statements and annual budget reports; IT departments are asked to determine the best way to get this information. When the information requested doesn’t fit currently-deliverable reports, what is the best way to get the information and who will produce it?

Responding to a request to provide this information outside the traditional Segment / Org / Object format, COBI realized they either needed to spend a lot more time manually creating these reports or utilize Crystal Reports to produce them all. While the IT staff had the expertise, they were not positioned to dedicate staff to what would ultimately take dozens of hours. Neither did the Finance department have the staff or knowledge of Crystal Reports to write the reports itself.

Solution

In 2007 the IT department forwarded a Crystal Reporting Solutions (CRS) newsletter to the Assistant Finance Director, who called CRS that afternoon. CRS was quickly hired to develop annual budget reports, evaluate the creation of a biennial budget process, and write monthly YTD budget reports.

Using formulas in Crystal Reports to format the data to match the requests, CRS was able to create reports that delivered the results needed with the push of a button.
CRS has since delivered:

  1. monthly YTD budget reports with varying levels of detail, each with versions that reflect both the current and upcoming fiscal year;
  2. annual budget reports used to produce the preliminary budget and final budget presentations to the City Council, also available on COBI’s website;
  3. reports used in the year-end financial statement and in state-mandated reports;
  4. treasury management reports for balancing cash deposits.

Ongoing, CRS responds to new and update reports requests and troubleshooting needs. Recently, CRS delivered a detailed Month End Close Table Validation report which provides all the information necessary to take action quickly and efficiently on COBI’s table validations.

Benefits

Outsourcing its technical reporting needs to CRS enables COBI to receive high-quality, content-rich financial reports quickly. Says COBI Budget and Revenues manager, “We needed our entire budget schedules put into Crystal Reports. The budget reporting has a complex background structure and CRS worked with our staff diligently to make sure the reports were accurate and professional.”

CRS’s assistance helped the community bridge a resource and skill-set gap, shifting focus from reporting difficulties to sound fiscal decision-making based on reliable reports.

CRS’s responsiveness, expertise, and dedication are at-the-ready, but only when needed, which is an efficient use of personnel resources. “CRS provides quality reports for a reasonable rate — the cost was much more efficient than producing the Crystal Reports in-house,” continues the manager. “The best thing about working with CRS is their ability to understand your reporting needs and turn around a completed custom report in a timely manner.”

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