County to get accounting software

Published 8:34 pm Thursday, October 22, 2009

New software will make employees in each county department more accountable, Chilton County Commission chairman Tim Mims said.

Currently, employees do not punch an electronic clock to keep up with their time. Rather, each employee fills out a time sheet that is approved by their supervisor and submitted to the commission office.

The new system will require workers to clock in using a fingerprint reader. Supervisors will then approve employees’ time online.

“Every employee is going to have to punch in through that system and punch out through that system. There won’t be any time sheets,” Mims said.

Joe Headley, the only commissioner to vote against the 2009-2010 budget, in which the accounting software system is included, said he had nothing against the software itself.

“I think all folks ought to be accountable for the hours they work. I’m not saying that anybody’s dishonest, but it just keeps the confusion down,” he said.

Sage, a Windows-based system, will replace the DOS-based system the county currently uses. The cost of the software itself is $50,000, but with all necessary equipment the cost comes to more than $62,000.

The county is financing the system over a period of three years, said County Administrator Vanessa Hendrick.

“Our current system is 15 to 20 years old. It was not created for accounting,” she said. “The new system will streamline our processes and hopefully make it easier to compile data. It will give commissioners and the county real time, better information.”

Sage will allow commissioners to keep up with accounts receivable online, and will generate requests for purchase orders electronically. Purchase orders are currently faxed and hand-written.

Instead of going to the courthouse to ask for reports, department heads will be able to check their budgets online.

Direct deposit is another option the county has not been able to offer its employees in the past, Hendrick said.

Not to mention, it will make Hendrick’s job much easier.

“Our years don’t roll over,” she said. “We have to stop a year, then manually key in the beginning balances for the next year.”

Installation is expected to take place by January.