Waterloo Catholic District School Board

Disability Care Software for Organizations | Sparkrock

Customer Profile

Waterloo Catholic District School Board began as a one-room schoolhouse in 1836 and has become the 8th largest Catholic school system in Ontario. Their mission is that as disciples of Christ, they will educate and nurture hope in all learners to realize their full potential to transform God’s world.

The Challenge

Waterloo Catholic DSB began their journey with Sparkrock over 10 years ago. They faced increasingly complex financial reporting requirements, and the school board struggled with its aging ERP software, which its staff found difficult to use.

As a public sector organization, Waterloo Catholic DSB prioritizes transparency and accountability. As a result, the organization’s demand for financial reports was and is high. Its reporting needs were also becoming more complex due to changing accounting standards and new legislation promoting accountability. Technology tools had played an essential role in helping the school board meet these needs, but the aging BAS technology it was leveraging began creating challenges for the board as it grew.

“We were using technology implemented in 1983. It was functional, but we continually had users complaining about how difficult it was to use. Our users also had difficulty reading the data that was generated by the system. As our reporting needs grew, we found ourselves up against the wall in terms of what our old system could provide. Clearly something had to give.”

Shesh Maharaj
CFO/Superintendent of Corporate Services and Treasurer

The school board was also concerned about security issues around its existing solution. The product had been slated for an upgrade for six years. As the upgrade was yet to materialize, they felt the DOS-based solution was not providing the level of security Waterloo Catholic required for its confidential information. Considering these needs, the organization sought a business application solution that would be easy to use, cost-effective, and meet its complex reporting requirements efficiently and securely.

Selecting Sparkrock 365

In 2004 Waterloo Catholic began working with Sparkrock (then Altus Dynamics) on implementing a business application solution.

Nicola Dickinson, one of Sparkrock’s founding partners, commented, "As with many education organizations, Waterloo Catholic had strict budgetary parameters for its new solution. This only reinforced the fit of the Microsoft Dynamics technology to their needs, as the solution is very economical.”

The Sparkrock implementation team worked alongside the Waterloo Catholic project team to ensure the solution precisely fits the school board’s needs. The seamless integration between Sparkrock and Waterloo Catholic’s other IT systems also helped ensure that financial information was easy to access at any time. Drill-down functionality and on-the-fly filters in the Sparkrock solution helped Waterloo Catholic transform budget tracking documents from passive summaries to practical instruments that offer precise statements with fully updated information.

The school board now has complete financial insight across the organization to make timely and informed decisions—with data from the current fiscal year and previous years. But the feature of the solution that made it stand out furthest above competitive products was that it works like other familiar Microsoft products, helping reduce the time required to learn how to use the software and fuel Waterloo Catholic’s productivity.

The Outcome

Waterloo Catholic immediately felt the benefit of their new solution in 2004.

“With the help of Sparkrock we have revamped our budgeting process. Tasks that used to take days to complete now take only hours. The difference is truly amazing. We got our weekends back!” 

Shesh Maharaj
Executive Superintendent of Corporate Services & Treasurer

Budget management was simplified for Waterloo Catholic with the help of Sparkrock’s Finance solution and the cash management features. The solution automates bank account management tasks and the entire check-writing process. The school board has more visibility into its budgetary processes with bank reconciliation tools and bank account statistics reports.

With the ability to automatically import cleared cheques into the business management system, tracking budget spending has become easier for the organization, while data entry requirements have significantly decreased.

Waterloo Catholic can now email purchase orders, which allowed them to eliminate the need for a dedicated fax line, a modem, and software used to manage the faxing process under their old system. Simplifying the process has helped the school board realize cost and time savings as administrative staff can now focus on more strategic tasks.

Additional Benefits

The ease of use of the new solution allowed the school board’s staff to generate more reports in a significantly streamlined and quicker way and helped them make sense of the results. Where previously, staff members looking for specific types of information would have needed the assistance of an experienced report writer to generate a more complex report, today, they are comfortable performing such tasks independently.

“The user-friendly interface is the biggest immediate benefit we’ve seen. With our new system, transactional data is easy to read, budgets are easier to monitor, and users’ understanding of financial data is increasing across the organization. Our staff are now comfortable generating reports on their own to find the data they need—it’s a huge step for us.”

Shesh Maharaj
CFO/Superintendent of Corporate Services and Treasurer

Waterloo Catholic DSB has not looked back since their original purchase from Sparkrock in 2004. Over 10 years later, Waterloo Catholic still believes Microsoft Dynamics, provided by Sparkrock, is still the right choice for a sound financial and accounting management system for their board and the 55 schools they service.

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