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CONTROL Improves the Budget Process at BT Financial

Published
  • October 01 1999, 1:00am EDT

BACKGROUND: BT Financial Corporation is a bank holding company headquartered in Johnstown, Pennsylvania, with banking affiliate Laurel Bank, Johnstown, Pennsylvania. The banking affiliate comprises a total of 76 offices serving 12 counties in southwestern Pennsylvania. BT Financial Corporation's other affiliates are Laurel Trust Company, a state-chartered trust company; Bedford Associates, Inc., a real estate company; and Laurel Development Corporation, housing for low-to-moderate income citizens.

PLATFORMS: BT Financial runs CONTROL client/server software from KCI Computing on a Novel supported network using Windows 95/NT clients.

PROBLEM SOLVED: In prior years, the budget process was not started until September's books were closed. Then the finance staff would spend months rekeying data into spreadsheets. There was only time for one pass of the budget, comprised of annualized data. There was not time for adequate review. Individual department heads did not see their budget until mid-January of the budget year. Department heads had minimal input in their budget and the budget process. CONTROL improved the budget process by eliminating rekeying of monthly general ledger figures, thereby improving accuracy and timeliness. It also enabled us to involve all departments in the budget and trend accounts quickly based on history. CONTROL enabled us to distribute three passes of the budget to each manager and allowed us to hold monthly meetings for managers to explain variances.

STRENGTHS: CONTROL is used by the finance department, but it delivers critical information to 100 cost centers. CONTROL can be used for more than just budgeting. It has built-in functionality for all aspects of financial management (i.e., modeling, analysis, forecasting and reporting). CONTROL seamlessly integrates with Excel, taking advantage of all its functionality and making it easy to learn. CONTROL makes it easy to distribute reports to managers via e-mail or the intranet. Since CONTROL is Excel based, analysis can be made straight from the reports. CONTROL stores all information centrally, facilitating maintenance. Most reports are automatically updated. CONTROL lets you see data from any perspective, making it easy to produce ad hoc reports.

SELECTION CRITERIA: Our original plan was to acquire a budgeting software package. We needed it to import and export data to and from our general ledger. We wanted it to budget from a bottom-up or top-down approach. We wanted to offer several passes on the budget and have input from all areas. Our goal was to have budgets that are owned by department heads, not finance. We wanted more sophisticated reporting capabilities that would enhance the monitoring and measurement of actual results as they compared to budgeted goals.

DELIVERABLES: CONTROL produces budget reports for five companies and approximately 150 centers. CONTROL produces monthly management reports via our intranet to our banking affiliate. CONTROL enables us to process our monthly management reports in one day rather than three days. CONTROL allows us to prepare what-if analysis and detailed reports whenever we need.

VENDOR SUPPORT: A consultant was assigned to us to implement the product customized for our general ledger and account structure. Our general ledger was a bit complicated to work with; however, the consultant was able to get us up and running in a timely fashion. The best part of CONTROL is the ongoing support. As a banking institution, we have found several things that may be needed that differ from the base software. We have received individual attention and a speedy resolution to our situation. Any time we "think up something," all it takes is one call and it is done. We are extremely satisfied with the customer support that we have received so far.

DOCUMENTATION: CONTROL's manual is almost too good. It defines the functions perfectly. It almost eliminates the need for the training classes that are offered.

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