Before GL Suite
When Executive Director Viki Windfeldt arrived in 1995, the Board of Accountancy had a legacy system staff did not use. As a result, managing licensure and enforcement for the state’s certified public accountants and accountancy firms – roughly 2,200 at the time – was a largely manual process. Most of the work done by staff, from applications and renewals to enforcement and continuing-education monitoring, was accomplished with paper files, ledgers and traditional mail.
The system “was not efficient whatsoever,” says Windfeldt.
Take renewals. Staff would mail renewal forms to licensees, who filled them out and returned them with a check. Upon receiving completed forms and checks, staff marked renewals as complete in a paper ledger. It was a slow and tedious process for office staff.
Verification of license status involved plenty of staff effort, too. If a member of the public wanted to know whether an accountant was active and in good standing, they would call the agency. For each inquiry, staff would pull the accountant’s paper file and check his or her status.
Conducting continuing professional education (CPE) audits was no easier. Every year, the agency conducts audits on 10 percent of all licensees. Without software automation, the agency had to count out files, generate and send letters manually.
Why software automation?
The Board of Accountancy hoped to accomplish several goals by implementing GL Suite and building out the system over time.
The first, says Windfeldt, was to reduce staff workload through software automation. Processing applications and renewals and conducting CPE audits manually required staff time the agency wished to preserve.
Another key goal involved the accurate tracking of information such as license status and CPE credits. Not only is tracking such information manually slow, but it’s far more prone to error than tracking in a database.
GL Suite has helped the agency to operate much more efficiently and contain staffing costs. The board decided years ago that it would do as much as possible with software with the expectation that the system would act as another person, says Windfeldt. And it has. The agency continues to have only two full-time staff, though the number of active licensees it manages has grown to 4,000.
How the Board of Accountancy uses GL Suite
The Board of Accountancy has added to its system consistently since the 1990s and has developed what Windfeldt calls a “truly customized software system.” The agency uses GL Suite in all aspects of its operations, including:
- License applications
- License renewals
- CPE audits
- Program compliance
- Processing of examinations
- Peer review and enforcement
- Financial monitoring
- Licensee status verification
- Communicating with licensees
Nevada’s was one of the first accountancy boards in the nation to do examinations, renewals and CPE management online, says Windfeldt. Now, she says, 99.5 percent of licensees renew online.
And those CPE audits that used to take so much time and effort? GL Suite automatically selects 10 % of licensees for annual audits, weeding out new and recently audited licensees, then allows batch email notification of the lucky 10 %. Auditees then log on to their online accounts and proceed.
The agency’s public website also works with GL Suite to allow members of the public to verify licensee status. Licensees themselves can even log in online and change their status from active to inactive.
The Board of Accountancy’s investment in software automation and in public websites proved its value during the coronavirus epidemic, which forced staff from many public agencies to work remotely. This was not a problem for Windfedlt and her staff.
Long before the epidemic occurred, Windfeldt designed her system to support remote work. In a small office with only two full-time staff, it was necessary to plan for working absences, whether because someone had to stay home with a sick child or needed to work remotely while at a conference.
Windfeldt has spoken recently with other boards that are not set up to work remotely and is “so appreciative that we worked as hard as we did to get to that point.”
At a glance:
Agency: Nevada State Board of Accountancy
GL Solutions client since: 1998
Number of staff: 2
Number of active licensees: Approximately 4,000
License renewal frequency: Annual
License types: Two (CPA and firm)
Licensees audited for CPE annually: 10%