Paperless Office in Sight for Allegheny County Controller

Allegheny County, the home of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, was featured on 90.5 FM, Pittsburgh’s National Public Radio News Station, discussing how OnBase was implemented to help the county go paperless, operate more efficiently and save money.

Allegheny County is using OnBase to send and receive invoices electronically, which saves the office up to $20,000 per year in postage, paper and ink. Going paperless means vendors get reimbursements from the county faster and more efficiently. The county also tracks fixed assets throughout departments and processes accounts payable vouchers. OnBase also provides online public access to all county contracts, which makes the government more transparent.

By Julian Routh

To cut costs and encourage more effective communication between businesses and county government, Allegheny County Controller Chelsa Wagner is taking the next step in having her office go paperless.

Vendors are now being urged to send invoices to the county electronically, which will save the office between $15,000 and $20,000 per year in postage, paper and ink.

Businesses still have the option to submit paper invoices, but Wagner said she expects using the electronic system to be a requirement soon.

“The county has actually invested in a lot of technology,” Wagner said. “Now we just need to use the technology and embrace the change and the work that goes into having employees and vendors who are used to one system, and see the advantages of the new system.”

Going paperless means vendors will get their reimbursements from the county faster and more efficiently, Wagner said. The county receives approximately 1,500 invoices per month from more than 1,000 vendors.

The change is part of Wagner’s continued effort to convert daily operational procedures to paperless systems in her office.

Wagner, who came to county government after six years in the state House, said she was surprised to see some of the old-fashioned techniques put to use by county office.

“I just wasn’t expecting to see so many of the more antiquated processes that county government has,” Wagner said. “Naturally, it’s an older form of government. But it changes heart.”

The office is “changing heart” by utilizing OnBase, software which helps track the county’s fixed assets throughout departments and process accounts payable vouchers through electronic imaging. It also provides online public access to all county contracts, which Wagner thinks makes the government “more transparent.”

But to make a real difference, Wagner said it will take much more than purchasing technology.

“The hard work is really changing your processes,” Wagner said. “Not just purchasing a fix, but making sure that your employees are well-trained and the changes are being communicated.”

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