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How Automation Benefits Your Organization’s Stakeholders

March 4, 2020

By Jean McGann, CPA

This is the third and final article in our series on the benefits of automation for governments. The first article describes how automation can make life easier for your office staff while the second article highlights ways it can benefit your fieldworkers.

“Automation,” for our purposes, is the act of automating certain processes within an organization, such as those related to finance and administrative functions. Yes, automation often involves software; however, it’s not about reducing an organization’s head count. It’s about eliminating redundancies, minimizing paper, and avoiding inaccuracies. It’s about making life easier for your employees as well as your most important stakeholders—your residents.

Here are a few ways your residents can benefit from automation.

1. Conveniently Schedule Work Orders or Inspections

An electronic work order system allows residents to schedule work orders or inspections at their convenience. By calling into an automated phone system or visiting your website, residents can choose from a set of appointment times to find the one that works best. Then, the work order automatically shows up in the scheduling system—and in the residents’ online accounts and fieldworkers’ calendars. This reduces opportunities for redundancies and inaccuracies while giving residents peace of mind their appointment is set.

2. Improve Customer Service

Allowing residents to apply for and purchase building permits and licenses electronically is a win-win for all. For example, one city we worked with was having a hard time managing its licensing and permitting processes. Residents wanted to be able to apply for and purchase licenses and permits online, but the city just wasn’t there yet.

With our guidance, the city implemented software that automated its entire license and permitting process, including the online application. Not only is the finance department now able to immediately collect fees, the city’s inspectors can automatically upload their permitting files to the city’s online system, where they can easily be accessed by residents. Better workflows have led to better customer service—and a happy ending all around.

3. Eliminate Wait Times for Inspection Certificates

When an inspector completes an inspection, cities must often mail the certificate, such as a certificate of occupancy, to the resident, or the resident must come to city hall to pick them up. This requires an administrative staff member to enter data from the inspector’s report, print the certificate, and put it in the mail or alert the resident for pickup. Automation (in the form of an electronic work order system) improves this process. If an inspector has a laptop or tablet in the field, he or she can email the certificate to the customer or print it from a portable printer.


By streamlining key processes, automation makes it easier for you to effectively serve your residents—and makes it easier for residents to engage with your organization. If you have questions about automation or how it could make a difference for your organization, please contact us today.

Jean McGann, CPA, is the President of the AEM Financial Solutions segment and also a Partner at Abdo, Eick & Meyers. She leads the Financial Solutions group providing financial management services, day-to-day accounting and customized solutions for local governments and nonprofit organizations.

You can reach Jean at 952.715.3059 or click here to contact her via email.

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