school employees to get online access | ParkRecord.com

school employees to get online access

Frank Fisher, of the Record staff

On June 19, The Park City Board of Education will likely vote to purchase new accounting-software that will not only allow hands-on access by employees from home computers, but it will computerize a current paper-timesheets system also requiring monthly payroll information to be entered by hand for roughly 700 Park City School District employees.

"I’m excited. Very excited. When the system is in place, I’ll feel like we’ve joined the 21st century.

Four companies were considered which were narrowed down to two. Murphy said she and five others connected with accounting and payroll visited local districts that had the two systems in use, to "see what works."

Murphy said currently 10 districts in the state use private systems, the rest use the state system. She said the Sevier School District in Richfield is similar in size to the Park City District, and they are using the software Park City will likely implement "They said they wouldn’t give it up for anything," she said.

Tyler Technologies and SunGard Bi-Tech software were the two finalists, but she did not want to announce the firm chosen until the board considers the decision.

After an initial investment of $179,000, for the server and software, an annual fee of about $35,000 will be paid to the software company which will keep include updating the system and support. "They make sure you succeed," Murphy said.

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The current accounting software, provided by the State of Utah, is free to the district. It has been in use since the early 1990’s Murphy said. She called the current system outdated.

She detailed the current payroll process. Every month, data has to be hand-entered into the system for every employee, a process that now takes over two weeks. The current software does not take into account individual changes in an employee’s account such as changes in tax shelters or annuities, or even supplemental pay for extra services. Murphy said in the past people were paid incorrectly, sometimes receiving double pay when they switched schools, or no pay at all.

Payroll enters figures for an employee and the timesheet is turned into a paper document, which is sent to the supervisor to for a signature. Not only does it take extra time to accomplish these steps, Murphy said, but the timesheets occasionally get lost.

"There are so many opportunities for error," Murphy said, adding, "In terms of payroll errors, the new system would pay for itself in a year."

With the new system, "Employees will fill out their own time sheets online from home computers. Human error will only reside with the employee," she said. But incorrect entries will be flagged by the system, to then be checked by payroll. She predicted, "A forest of trees will be saved."

Murphy thinks the system will take about a year for the district to fully learn how to use and may be in full use by January of 2008.

The most glaring error in the 2007 district budget, was that nearly $800,000 of health insurance costs were not considered when calculating the new budget. The error could likely have been prevented had the proposed software been in use, Murphy said.

She said the new system will handle payroll, accounts payable, purchase orders, human resource, district budget information, and automatically set up district tax information for the IRS.

The system will also allow Murphy and school board members to quickly model budgets by plugging in data.

The state system is free, Murphy admits. "Bless their hearts, they give us great service. But it’s time we have a system that allows for better accuracy."