Chesterfield County, Virginia: The Treasurer’s Office
The Chesterfield County Treasurer’s Office is using an innovative Reams solution, through Laserfiche software, to improve important office duties. The treasurer’s office deals with a large quantity of documents each year and needs a safe and fast method to maintain organization within a strict set of regulations.
The Library of Virginia establishes retention periods for each type of document, yet they do not determine which format the documents have to be retained in (i.e. paper, digital, microfilm/microfiche, etc.) The scenario of life in the treasurer’s office before Laserfiche: All of the important documents, like deposit checks, tax receipts and taxpayer correspondence were converted to microfilm daily or as staff were available. This daily microfilming took staff away from their desks for an hour or more each day; tax receipts stacked up until it was too voluminous to process effectively; correspondence was filed but also needed on a daily basis – and frequently was misfiled.
The microfilm also had to be sent to a company out of state for development, which became increasingly difficult as fewer companies were willing to develop microfilm. There were even instances of lost film – which created problems when the documents that were originally filmed were no longer in the office’s possession.
“The biggest deciding factor for us was that our microfilm filmer and reader/printer could no longer be covered under the maintenance as they weren’t making parts or film for them any longer,” said Deputy Treasurer of Accounting Betty P. Tate.
Other problems with the microfilm method included:
• When film was returned, quality control methods showed the film to be unusable due either to “clumping” of documents or overexposed film.
• Microfilm had limited look-up capabilities, meaning an employee would just have to scroll through the rolls until the correct image was found.
• Information was not readily available because the roll had to be filled before it could be developed; during slow periods it would take as much as 30 days to fill a roll and another week on top of that to have it developed.
“[Our] main goal was to use Laserfiche to replace microfilming. We knew that we could automatically gain a 1-month improvement in efficiency as it took that long to fill a roll of film and have it developed. Accuracy improved 100-fold; once we got the film back, there wasn’t anything we could do if there were shadows/streaks or lost images because the items we filmed had already been sent to the bank for deposit,” said Tate.
Once the Chesterfield Treasurer’s Office made the smart and cost-effective decision to go with a Reams solution, they found that their workflow processes improved tremendously. The new scenario of life in the office after Laserfiche:
• All imaged records are available to staff at their workstations instead of unnecessary excursions to the microfilm reader.
• Items are easily indexed – “We no longer have to ‘hunt’ for a specific document,” said Tate.
• Automated OCR allows searches by name and address, not just the indexed fields.
• Documents are now available immediately – “We don’t have to wait on ‘snail-mail’ to deliver the developed microfilm,” said Tate.
“Our results have definitely exceeded expectations – we have expanded our use of Laserfiche far beyond our initial implementation schedule. It is so easy to use and has very little, if any, downtime. The software requires minimal training on the actual imaging and pulling up documents can be done without any training – it’s that easy to use! We are end-users who are extremely pleased with the product and support from Reams Document Imaging,” said Tate.