SETTING THE STAGE

Oregon State Credit Union, formerly OSU Federal Your Community Credit Union, is a state-chartered credit union in Oregon with branches in Benton, Lincoln, Linn, Marion and Polk counties. For more than 60 years, Oregon State Credit Union has been a member-owned, not-for-profit financial institution. Earnings are returned to the credit union’s members in the form of competitive financial offerings, more personalized service and convenience. Founded in 1954, the Credit Union reached its first $1 million in deposits in 1960. Today, Oregon State Credit Union is a thriving financial cooperative with more than $780 million in assets and 200 employees. The organization’s guiding principles are: creating financial solutions to make lives better; providing security, services and solutions based on their values, which include; member focus, integrity, passion, education, cooperative spirit and social responsibility.

WHY AXIOM SOFTWARE

In 2011 Oregon State Credit Union decided to implement the Axiom Software platform for reporting at financial and departmental levels, as well as budget planning and forecasting. By July the accounting team already had reporting in place, while its first budget plan using Axiom Software ran in October. As soon as the Oregon State Credit Union team started to use Axiom’s unified platform, it saw the broader potential of the system for other performance management tasks. Kate Wasechek, accounting manager for Oregon State Credit Union said: “We realized the full power of the system as soon as we started to use it. So we streamlined further, shifting workloads so we could more easily handle tasks in real-time and ensure he avoided any heavy loads during the month-end closing crunch.” 

One of the processes which have become real-time with Axiom Software is Oregon State Credit Union’s sale of real estate loans, by which the organization commits funds and sells loans to secondary markets to complement its mortgage lending services to members. As part of its participation in the secondary market, Oregon State Credit Union must file accurate reports at the end of each month and complete derivative accounting. It has to maintain accurate paperwork, keep it organized and auditable, ensure correct and updated data inputs for each loan at each stage, complete calculations, and then post results. Wasechek explains: “Filing and re-filing data throughout the month for loans that change positions multiple times was very time consuming and created a major accounting burden at the end of each month. With Axiom Software we simply enter all data as we go along, refresh our report at month-end, and at the push of a button all data is filed where it belongs with all appropriate calculations already built into the report. Now instead of month-end taking half a day of entering and double-checking calculations, it’s all done in real-time, and we complete the whole process in just a couple of minutes, saving time during month end, when it is a precious commodity.”

Building on existing expertise and Microsoft Excel know-how

Previously, Oregon State Credit Union had been using SRC Software, a vendor that was bought by Business Objects in 2005, and ultimately sunset by SAP in 2008. Because it was end-of-life, Oregon State Credit Union needed to replace SRC with a capable system that capitalized on the company’s existing investment in and knowledge of Microsoft Excel, while transforming simple spreadsheets into a highly scalable enterprise-grade application suite. Oregon State Credit Union particularly benefited from Axiom Software’s table structure, and found it could add information and calculations that previously had to be processed separately in Excel, alongside SRC. Wasechek says: “I now think of spreadsheets as two-dimensional and Axiom Software as multi-dimensional, because it allows us to do so much more. When we were using SRC we had a list of things we had to work around, and would have to tweak things to make it work the way we wanted it to. But with Axiom Software that list simply disappeared. This is why you choose a technology - to make things quicker and easier.”

Delivering security and powerful permission-based access and control

As a financial organization, Oregon State Credit Union also placed great confidence in Axiom Software’s security and permission-based rules. The ability to manage security and permissions at many and varied levels was crucial. For example, specific departmental reports require access rights for a small subset of users, and it is important to be able to stipulate which managers can read which reports, and who has permission to change reports or the database. Wasechek says “I am able to easily pick and choose who, at either a group or individual level, gets rights to specific areas, or even a specific report. The system is intuitive and makes perfect sense when it comes to security and access.”

Partnering for consistent support and expertise

A strong business relationship with Axiom Software was important to the Oregon State Credit Union team, particularly during the transition eriod from SRC. It found Axiom personnel to be knowledgeable and efficient, with a leading edge consulting team that helped take the firm’s performance management platform to the next level during implementation. The Axiom team also worked to ensure that the change from SRC to Axiom Software was as painless as possible for managers, who are infrequent users. Wasechek says: “The Axiom team recreated our planning documents so that when end-users opened them for the first time, they found the system to be entirely familiar, and that got us all off to a great start. It was also very straightforward to transfer and import data from our old system. Axiom Software grabs blocks of data as queries instead of gathering thousands of pieces of individual data, which meant we had all of our reports up and running quickly and efficiently.”

The decision to invest in and partner with Axiom Software was made by a team including Oregon State Credit Union’s accounting department and its CFO. Today 37 members of Oregon State Credit Union are Axiom Software users, including members of the Accounting team and managers with budget plan access. “It’s important that the team responsible for reporting and budgeting, the one that works with the system on a daily basis, has ownership right from the decision to buy,” adds Wasechek. “Axiom Software directly enables that critical financial ownership.”

RESULTS

Wasechek stated that “in accounting and finance, there is so much data that can be entered into numerous reports in numerous ways. It can be easy to find yourself chasing numbers – but not with Axiom Software. Working with Axiom has enabled us to add source documents to our central database and then simply pull the data into multiple reports from there. Automatic updating via a central database not only saves us time, it has allowed us to build and be more efficient with a wide range of financial reports, from trending to using individual collateral codes to streamline data collection and reporting. Collating all that data used to take us several days, but now it’s just a few hours.”

Wasechek now says that Oregon State Credit Union would recommend Axiom Software to any organization with similar needs. She feels that Axiom works logically, enabling data to be easily manipulated and modeled with a high degree of accuracy and reliability – crucial qualities for budgeting, planning and financial reporting. Oregon State Credit Union is now very happy to have a system that can be modified to fit its precise needs. Wasechek concludes: “That flexibility and trust are qualities that you rarely find in software. With Axiom Software we are now able to dissect data in a whole new way. It’s not about just dividing it up and putting it in a one-dimensional report, we can now categorize and see data in any way we choose. We have the confidence that when industry, consumer or business needs arise, we will be able to use Axiom Software as a truly centralized, enterprise-level modeling environment to meet the challenges we face.”

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