We recently caught up with Darlene Unertl, the HR/Finance supervisor at Mosinee School District in Wisconsin. She couldn’t wait to share all of the recent successes her district has experienced by simply expanding its use of Skyward in the district office.
Darlene Unertl – a School HR/Finance Expert
Hi Darlene! Thank you for taking the time to talk to us today. Why don’t you start by telling our readers a little bit about yourself and your district?
Sure. I have worked at the Mosinee School District for just over 22 years and I’m currently the HR/Finance Supervisor (it’s the best of both worlds). My degree is in Business Management, with a minor in Human Resource Management, so it’s really the perfect career for me.
Going 100% Paperless
It’s always great when you can find a profession that matches up so well with your educational background! How is Skyward helping you in both of those operational areas?
Well, even looking back only as far as 2015, we were able to become a whole lot more efficient thanks to Skyward. After attending iCon in Florida last March, I came back with the knowledge of how to generate paperless teacher contracts and support staff wage letters.
When I showed my superintendent how we could use Employee Letters, Online Forms, and Custom Forms to handle these processes, she gave me the green light and I was able to make those changes in time for the 2015 contracts and letters. Teachers were able to accept their contracts and we were able to attach them to each employee’s HR records without ever printing off one piece of paper or hand-sorting/hand-filing anything. It truly was 100% paperless.
Requisitions and Expenditures
Wow, that sounds like both time and money that can now be put to better use. Was that the only change you made last year?
No, actually, there were more to come. After attending the Wisconsin User Group conference, I came back with a process that allowed for employees to claim mileage reimbursements online. Now, they enter their requests in the Expense Reimbursement area of Skyward, administrators can review and approve the expenditure, and we use ACH direct deposit to get the money into the account of our employee’s choosing. What a slick system.
And that wasn’t all! We started using Skyward Requisitions to secure bus transportation for class trips and sports/activity bussing. I’m not talking about the finance office, either – teachers, coaches, and activity directors can go right in and clone the transportation requisition we’ve set up, then edit the information needed for their specific trip. Our bussing company approves the requisitions online and secures the transportation. When we receive the bill, everything is coded by purchase order and paid by ACH. Not only have we eliminated clunky paper forms, but I have far greater detail in my general ledger.
Reducing Operational Costs
What a smart way to apply technology to a process that every school district has in place. Hopefully some of our readers can take that idea and run with it. How much do you think you’re saving with these moves to paperless?
I can’t even begin to imagine. We’re saving money in the postage budget, supply budget for checks, paper and envelopes… But I feel that the biggest savings is in our employees’ time. We’re not stuffing payroll and AP checks into envelopes and mailing them, we’re not printing off contracts and waiting for teachers to sign and return them, and we’ve knocked out huge chunks from our bussing requests and payment processes.
With the purchase of scanners in our business and HR office, we are seeing the use of filing cabinets as a thing of the past. Now our auditors and staff can look at any invoice online without trying to dig up the form, and nothing is ever lost or misplaced. Time cards and time off slips are just two more examples of items that no longer get lost in the interoffice mail or need to be filed.
Online Forms and HR Training Integration
I’m curious about the HR side of things. Is there any process in particular that you would recommend for districts to move to an online environment?
I started using Online/Custom Forms for our training programs and it’s been so helpful. Last September, for example, employees had to complete Child Abuse & Neglect training and Blood-Borne Pathogen training, and they had to view the non-discrimination notice, employee handbooks, and Internet policy. By tracking this in Skyward, I was able to see who had completed the training and follow up with those who had not yet started to ensure 100% completion.
Skyward Academy, Documentation, and iCon
It sounds like you really are
getting the most out of your technology. Is there anything you’re looking forward to in 2016?
I can’t wait to see what Skyward has in store for me. I love taking advantage of all the different ways to learn new things, whether it’s iCon, our state User Group, Skyward Academy, Skyward Documentation, webinars, or the Special Interest Group. Along with any new features that come out this year, my big project is to scan all of my employee files into my HR system. Now that we’ve gotten rid of our Finance filing cabinets, I want to do the same for HR.
If anyone hasn’t figured it out yet, I love Skyward and the technology they give to me. Mosinee Schools made a wise decision over 21 years ago to choose Skyward. Great tools make great schools!