Development District Staff Ease Collaboration and Enable an Efficient Hybrid Workplace

4 min read

The Pennyrile Area Development District is a public planning and development organization in Kentucky that collaborates with local leaders and agencies to develop and promote programs that improve the overall quality of life for Pennyrile region residents. As a part of its mission, the Pennyrile ADD also provides critical rapid response such as hazard mitigation, care and meal services to seniors, as well as grant distribution for community projects including playgrounds and senior centers.

After COVID-19 work-from-home mandates ended, the organization continued with a hybrid work model. “In order to keep our staff and to gain new valuable employees, we have to continue to offer remote work; it’s a new culture now,” said Pennyrile ADD Chief Financial Officer Alisha Sutton. “We are hybrid, so we typically work two days a week remotely and do three days in the office.”

To enable staff to continue to serve the community at a high level, however, the organization needed to transform its business processes. “We decided that if we were going to have remote staff, a lot had to be automated,” Sutton added. “If employees were at home, they needed access to their work and processes as well.”

Beginning with purchase orders and invoice processing, Pennyrile ADD implemented Laserfiche Cloud to digitize and automate workflows that give staff what they need to do their jobs efficiently and effectively. The organization continues to automate more administrative processes, and has since reduced the time it spends on some processes by up to 50%, saving some staff a week’s worth of time per month.

Accelerating Purchase Orders and Invoices in the Cloud

When Pennyrile ADD began seeking better ways to improve collaboration and efficiency with its new hybrid work model, staff created their own proprietary system for purchase orders to eliminate the previously paper-driven, manual process.

“We found very quickly that it wasn’t working well for everyone — we couldn’t see where information was supposed to be as it was moved from one folder to another,” Sutton said. “It was going to be too difficult to create this digital system on our own.”

The team reached out to Laserfiche solution provider Modified Logic seeking a platform to support their digitization efforts and decided to implement a Laserfiche Cloud solution. “There wasn’t much discussion on whether to use a cloud or on-premises system,” Sutton explained. “We knew we wanted to use Laserfiche Cloud because of the access to capabilities, and to be able to use it anywhere that we were located without the added maintenance and security considerations.”

In collaboration with Modified Logic, Pennyrile ADD built a Laserfiche workflow to digitally capture purchase orders and automate their approvals. This eliminated manual routing that was previously done by an administrative assistant, who is now able to work on other administrative projects allowing the accounting staff to focus more on compliance with federal and state grant regulations.

Following their success with the purchase order process, the staff moved on to invoices, which follow a similar workflow. Many of Pennyrile ADD’s invoices represent goods and services for veterans and Medicaid beneficiaries, meaning they include personally identifiable information (PII) that requires Pennyrile ADD to adhere to HIPAA data protection standards.

“A big reason why we chose Laserfiche was that we do collect and store data that falls under HIPAA. Using Laserfiche, with its access controls and credentials, we don’t have to email the information or worry about it moving around our network.

Alisha Sutton, Pennyrile ADD Chief Financial Officer

Continuing a Journey of Digital Transformation

After automating the purchase order and invoice processes, Pennyrile ADD continued to seek out other areas for increased efficiency. This led the staff to take on automating travel and leave requests, a previously manual process that has been made into a more intuitive and transparent digital workflow.

“We have several staff across different locations, and a lot of times they were routing forms through the mail,” Sutton said. “From the employee perspective, Laserfiche makes these requests a lot easier.”

Next, the organization tackled credit card tracking, a process that was previously managed by Pennyrile ADD’s accounting clerk who used to wait until the end of each month to gather everyone’s receipts and reconcile expenses. Using a Laserfiche Form, staff can input credit card usage as it happens, eliminating the burden for everyone involved and cutting the process time by 50%. Additionally, the Laserfiche workflow cross-checks reports from Pennyrile ADD’s accounting software and notifies staff if any amounts don’t balance out.

In addition to reclaiming staff time by eliminating manual work, Pennyrile ADD has sped up approvals on these administrative processes by giving managers access to Laserfiche on laptops and mobile devices when they are traveling. “They can access Laserfiche on an iPad or on their phone, which is a time saver for us because we’re not waiting on documentation,” Sutton said. “We’re getting things approved and moving processes along on a daily basis; before, sometimes we’d have to wait weeks.”

With the processes that the organization has automated using Laserfiche, Pennyrile ADD has saved an estimated week’s worth of time for two full-time employees per month.

Pennyrile ADD continues to ride the momentum of its automation initiatives, next looking at an integration with its accounting system, new processes for conference room reservation and board travel requests, as well as potentially using Laserfiche for fiscal agents to collect information and make disbursements.

There is no shortage of work for Pennyrile ADD, which has now taken on the responsibility of moving the Pennyrile region beyond the pandemic by providing essential community and economic development, senior and independent living and workforce services.

“In our meetings, we will talk about different problems, and usually I will say, ‘Hey, Laserfiche can help with this.’ Digitization and automation is part of our culture now.

Alisha Sutton, Pennyrile ADD Chief Financial Officer

To learn more about how Laserfiche drives digital transformation, schedule a consultation today.

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