Denver, Colorado-based Westerra Credit Union is a $1.7 billion asset-sized institution that ranks among the top 250 credit unions in the United States. At Westerra Credit Union, its more than 120,000 members are owners and shareholders. Westerra Credit Union was looking for a solution that would significantly improve efficiencies in its performance management processes, particularly financial reporting and budgeting. It was critical that the platform they chose was a long-term solution, and scalable so that the credit union’s finance team could truly champion it and expand its use over time. Additionally, Westerra Credit Union wanted to maximize user adoption by selecting solutions that required minimal staff training and maintenance.
Prior to implementing Axiom, Westerra Credit Union relied on Microsoft Excel® spreadsheets for its monthly financial reports and profitability measurement. Westerra Credit Union also used a separate budgeting tool that not only lacked the robustness the credit union needed, but also required time-consuming, manual integration with its core system.
Improved efficiencies surrounding financial reporting
Since implementing Axiom software, Westerra Credit Union has realized significant improvements in its financial reporting by eliminating the use of one-off spreadsheets.
The software has drastically reduced the time it takes for the credit union to produce monthly financial reports. It is now incredibly easy for the credit union to make adjustments right before the monthly close, as well as add new data points to the system.
In addition, Westerra Credit Union’s monthly reports are more accessible, as individuals throughout the organization receive their own unique link to access reports. “It is not uncommon for us to come across a change that needs to be made while we are finalizing our monthly reports. Previously, making adjustments was a painful and time-consuming process,” said Jennifer Meyers, Chief Financial Officer at Westerra Credit Union. “Now changes take ten minutes or less, whereas in Excel, it would have taken several hours or more.”
Streamlined budget data for more forward-looking analysis
Westerra Credit Union has completely streamlined data collection and consolidated budgeting data with Axiom. As a result they now see the impact of strategic changes much more quickly. Westerra Credit Union has also rolled out a standard process to facilitate budget accountability reporting by department. Axiom software now serves as a central repository to submit comments on budget variances. This process will be particularly helpful with the next round of budget planning.
“Now our analysts spend the majority of their time on strategic analysis and running ‘what if’ scenarios versus creating and fixing reports and Excel spreadsheets, which is a much more impactful use of their time,” said Meyers. “We’ve already seen significant benefits from the ability to leverage one single source of truth.”
Actionable and accessible profitability insight
Westerra Credit Union also uses the Axiom FTP & Profitability solution to broaden accessibility and insight across the institution. Previously, the credit union relied on manual processes to produce profitability reports. Westerra Credit Union can now integrate its branch, member, and product profitability within one system. Using Axiom solutions, Westerra Credit Union improves efficiencies by producing more timely profitability information that the organization can act upon.
“Understanding how our profitability looks across various products and services will really help us identify opportunities to make our institution an even better organization for our members,” said Meyers. “Every dollar we save by improving efficiencies is an extra dollar we can return to our members.”
Financial industry expertise and support
In addition to committing internal resources to implement the new solutions, Westerra Credit Union attributes the smooth implementation to the knowledge and experience of the Syntellis team. “The people we’ve worked with at Syntellis have experience in finance, specifically within the financial services industry. They truly understand our business and they speak our language,” said Meyers. “Their team has offered us best practice suggestions which have proven to be extremely helpful.”