Hanover County, Virginia: The Commissioner of the Revenue Office
Eight years ago, T. Scott Harris became Commissioner of the Revenue for Hanover County, Virginia. When Harris stepped into his new title, he also stepped into over 1 million pieces of paper—literally! Like most Commissioner of the Revenue offices, Hanover County is inundated with paper each year. “Multiple taxes lead to multiple filings, and we take in an average of 500,000 pieces of paper annually,” said Harris. “I knew we couldn’t continue to maintain that increasing volume of paper in the space we had, so my main goals were to eliminate the need to store paper needlessly and to have more efficient access to the information contained in the documents.”
Hanover County’s Deputy Commissioner of the Revenue, Amy W. Johnson, reiterates the pain associated with all of their paper. “We deal with several thousand filing forms each year that used to be worked and filed by hand in several different places. We had file cabinets everywhere in the office—in hallways, in separate rooms and at individual desks!”
The old way: Returns would come into the COR office, staff would have to read them, enter in information and then file them away. “The task of boxing returns until they could be filed, and then the actual filing was very cumbersome and labor intensive,” said Harris.
The old way: Retrieving documents after the manual filing was completed was also a huge challenge. “Mislabeled or misfiled documents were a huge headache,” said Harris. “It was inefficient to have to physically dig them out when a taxpayer came into our office with a problem or concern.”
With all of these challenges and more, Harris knew something had to change—a long term solution was definitely needed. Unity Business Systems (formerly Reams Document Imaging) knew that with the right software, training and support, Harris and company could certainly overcome their paper nightmare to become the efficient and organized office of their dreams!
The new way: With a Laserfiche records management and document imaging system in place, the COR office now scans material on a daily basis; this is typically accomplished in batches after groups of filings (or other forms) have been entered into the system and are ready for filing. Once scanned, the documents are then placed into large, labeled boxes which are destroyed after only a few months. “From my viewpoint, the labor savings, in addition to having enough space for storage, is a huge benefit to the County,” said Harris. Johnson reiterates the advantages of the new system. “Laserfiche started saving us time and resources from the start! We scan and then Laserfiche does the filing for us. This has allowed us to concentrate more on working the files and less on getting everything filed quickly.”
The new way: The capability to scan and store documents with a document imaging system is clearly one major benefit. However, like many customer service oriented offices, the ability to help citizens in a faster and more accurate manner is a tremendous advantage in and of itself. “The time savings associated with document retrieval, not to mention the improved customer service, is significant,” said Harris. “Document storage is just one part of it; document organization and retrieval is where the huge benefit lies—taxpayer information is available with the click of a mouse!” The solution, designed by UBS, utilizes barcode technology and integrates with the County’s BRIGHT database system to facilitate the capture and indexing of their files.
The implementation and training done by Unity Business Systems has helped to ensure a seamless transition from the old way to the new way. “The best product UBS has is its people. The relationships formed and the confidence that is built have been crucial during this whole process,” said Harris.
The success of the Hanover County Commissioner of the Revenue office in not just that they have been able to solve an existing problem with the help of Unity Business Systems and Laserfiche, but that the sky is the limit for what they hope to accomplish in the future. “Every day we come up with new ideas and ways to implement our daily processes into Laserfiche. We have plans to use Laserfiche for all of our HR and AP/AR functions and our historical real estate records. We love the product and services and are very excited about all the new ways we will discover to use it,” said Johnson.