Eastman CU Deploys Integrated Financial Reporting Tools
KINGSPORT, Tenn. - Eastman Credit Union was having growing pains when it came to the bookkeeping and reporting side of the business at Tennessee's largest credit union. The $1.3 billion credit union has 10 branches serving members in Tennessee, Virginia, Arkansas, South Carolina and Texas and needed to expand the...
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KINGSPORT, Tenn. – Eastman Credit Union was having growing pains when it came to the bookkeeping and reporting side of the business at Tennessee’s largest credit union. The $1.3 billion credit union has 10 branches serving members in Tennessee, Virginia, Arkansas, South Carolina and Texas and needed to expand the accounting system it was running from XP Systems, the credit union’s core processor. “We had greater demands than the system could accommodate, and we were anticipating further growth. We needed a solution that could grow with us,” says Patricia Huffman, controller for the 61,000-member CU based in Kingsport. So a task force of Eastman and XP Systems staffers chose the Epicor for Financial Solutions package after narrowing the choice to it and Microsoft accounting software subsidiary Great Plains. “We now have an integrated accounting system that includes general ledger, accounts payable, financial reporting and fixed assets,” Huffman says. Perhaps the most critical challenge to the deployment, Huffman says, was integrating the Epicor software with the CU’s core XP Systems platform. Now each day, the core system generates a close-of-business report file of member activity, which is then read by the integrated XP Systems-Epicor system and posted directly into Epicor’s general ledger module. Making sure that would happen was the central focus of the eight-person accounting team, and accompanying IT staffer, who worked with Epicor representatives on-site for the week of the conversion. Huffman says, “Because of our extensive preparation for the conversion, we left the office at a reasonable time on the day of the conversion with the confidence we had succeeded.” New levels of productivity are being seen primarily in the area of financial reporting, Huffman says. “Now we can easily generate a report that in the past we worked hard to create every month,” she says. The credit union also is benefiting from the ability to use its funds longer, since the growing list of corporate disbursements now are handled on a two-week schedule of check production, says Eastman accountant Janet Barnes. An EFT module recently added to the system also is expected to add additional productivity enhancements. Reports also can be posted on intranets through an integrated module. As for ROI, the CU has spent about $136,000 so far, not counting staff time, Huffman says. “The return on this investment is mostly intangible and it’s really too early to see all of the results from this investment,” she says. “In many ways, the new system continues to evolve as we better utilize the functionality of it.” Epicor, based in Irvine, Calif., currently serves about 30 credit unions – including Eastman, Affinity FCU and Truliant FCU – and 700 other financial services firms among its more than 15,000 customers worldwide across a wide range of industries. In the credit union space, its focus is its Epicor for Financial Services solution, which it markets as seamlessly integrated with XP2, the newest core system from XP Systems. The heart of the system is a cross-platform data-import manager that allows integration with front, middle and back-office applications on data sources such as SQL, XML and Web services, says James Norwood, Epicor Enterprise’s Group senior director of product marketing. The company also has developed a credit union-specific implementation methodology, he says. “Many of Epicor’s credit union customers have seen the need to migrate from simple, stand-alone accounting applications to a single financial and production environment,” Norwood says. Credit unions have very specific and very demanding reporting requirements,” he says. “They also are very cost sensitive and are looking for maximum return from minimal investment.” -
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