Municipal Water District of Orange County Replaces Financial Management Software with Serenic Navigator
“For a relatively small nonprofit organization like us, having a system like Serenic with the limited investment we had to make is a great deal,” Letrong said. “The system can do so much for accounting to save time, which is pretty impressive at its price point.”
- Phil Letrong – Director of Finance and IT
The Municipal Water District of Orange County (MWDOC), headquartered in Fountain Valley, Calif., is dedicated to ensuring water reliability for the communities it serves. With a $150 million annual budget, its efforts are focused on sound planning and appropriate investment in water supply, regional delivery infrastructure and emergency preparedness.
Twenty-eight retail water agencies and cities rely on MWDOC for the water it provides – approximately half of which is imported from Northern California and the Colorado River. Countywide water utilities also rely on the Municipal Water District to represent their interests on federal, state and regional levels.
MWDOC is a recognized leader in its water use efficiency programs. MWDOC partners with other federal, state and local agencies to create award-winning water use efficiency programs that target all water users – residents, businesses and industrial customers. The organization’s ongoing conservation efforts and programs help save more than 2.9 billion gallons of water each year.
In 2006, MWDOC issued a request for proposals to replace the American FundWare financial management solution it had used for 20 years. The organization needed a standard government accounting system that could overcome FundWare’s limitations. It chose a well-known financial management system, but later found the software package did not meet its needs for a fully integrated Microsoft Windows-based platform that could provide better access to the information MWDOC really needed.
“We are more complex than some government organizations, because we receive different grants from federal, state and local agencies for water conservation and desalination projects,” said Phil Letrong, director of finance and IT for MWDOC. “We needed to track financial information from the grant application stage to the point of billing customers.”
In 2009, after considering solutions from Serenic and several other wellknown vendors, MWDOC determined Serenic Navigator, a financial management system built upon Microsoft Dynamics NAV, offered the features it needed, including AwardVision, a sophisticated grants management module. In early 2010 MWDOC had implemented the Serenic Navigator financial management system and AwardVision, with plans underway to install Serenic's Human Resources & Payroll software and Web Portals.
In just six months' time, MWDOC's accounting and IT staff recognized that Serenic Navigator delivered on its promised benefits. Letrong said, "The hard working, professional implementation team went out of its way to make the system work for our needs. Serenic Navigator got us through the busiest time of the year."
Saves Time for Small Accounting Staff
MWDOC immediately saved time using Serenic Navigator. Every month the accounting staff closes the organization’s books and provides financial reports to its board of directors. Previously, financial reports were created manually using spreadsheets. Now, accounting staff can simply analyze and make adjustments to automatically generated reports.
“Reports are timelier, and for a small organization like us – that’s important, “ Letrong said. “We’re doing full-blown accounting with a small staff, and we need to close our books and get things done on time.”
Easy to Use and Customize for Grant Management
With Serenic Navigator's AwardVision software in place, MWDOC's management team and conservation staff can easily access various reports to help them better manage grant-funded projects.
"AwardVision is more easily customized than any of the other grant management systems I've implemented in my career," Letrong said. "Once it's up and running, the system is very user-friendly. Our conservation staff can view grant reports with information automatically pulled right from the Serenic Navigator accounting system, saving lots of manual input time."
A next step in MWDOC's implementation process includes customizing reports for managers using Jet Reports, which Letrong expects will lead to even more benefits.
Letrong also appreciates the budget control Serenic Navigator has enabled for MWDOC. Having financial data readily available in real time is critical for the organization's business processes. When a manager needs to purchase an item, such as a computer, he or she can easily check the budget in Serenic Navigator and know exactly what’s remaining – eliminating paper purchase requisitions in favor of an online approval process.
"Now managers don't need to request information from accounting, because they can see numbers whenever they need them," Letrong said. "That provides a check-and-balance for budgets. The system won't let you request a purchase if sufficient funds are not available."
Smart Investment Pays Off
Letrong appreciates that, unlike other financial management software companies, Serenic is always updating its system to keep up with technology innovations. He expects MWDOC to be able to use Serenic Navigator for the long haul.
“For a relatively small nonprofit organization like us, having a system like Serenic with the limited investment we had to make is a great deal,” Letrong said. “The software can do so much for accounting to save time, which is pretty impressive at its price point.”
About Our Partner
Finley & Cook, founded in 1947, is an Oklahoma-based Certified Public Accounting firm with offices in Alaska and Hawaii. The firm serves nonprofit organizations, Native American governments and casinos, municipal utilities, foundations, city and state agencies and many more. The firm’s approach combines Finley & Cook’s experience, unique implementation and training methodology, and state-of-the-art financial software, including Serenic Navigator for Microsoft Dynamics NAV, to provide clients with a strong fund accounting solution to help meet their missions. For more information, visit www.finley-cook.com.