Pioneer Telephone Cooperative, Inc.
Business Issues that Led to Need for New System
Results of Implementing Sage 500 ERP
Impact of Relationship with CS3 Technology
“Because the telephone industry is regulated, there are some unique accounting rules. CS3 Technology took Part 32 telecommunication accounting classes just to understand more about our business. Now that is what I call commitment.”
– Brenda Walta
Since 1953, Pioneer Telephone Cooperative, Inc. has been a leader in rural telecommunications services. Pioneer started out providing local phone service and now has grown to offer a variety of products including high-speed internet, cellular, digital television, long distance phone service and yellow pages advertising. Superior, personalized service is why more than 140,000 customers in 76 communities throughout Western Oklahoma and Southern Kansas rely on Pioneer. Pioneer has 25 local community offices where customers can come in and pay their bill in person, ask for help or learn about Pioneer’s products and services. “Our employees give back to the communities that they work in,” said Brenda Walta, Pioneer’s accounting manager for nearly two decades. “This commitment fosters a fantastic relationship between our customers and our company. It is what sets us apart from other providers.”
Pioneer stays competitive by being on the leading edge of technology, both in the products they offer and the systems they use internally. In the mid 90s, Pioneer implemented Platinum for Windows and Sage Payroll to replace the home-grown systems they had been using. During a user’s conference, Brenda met CS3 Technology and it was apparent they had a deep understanding and knowledge of accounting and human resource systems. “We started working with CS3 Technology for support and upgrades on our current systems,” said Brenda. “Whenever we called for help, they either had an answer or could get us an answer quickly. I liked that they allowed me to be as self sufficient as I wanted.”
Over the last decade, Pioneer and CS3 Technology continued to work closely together. Pioneer routinely attends CS3’s user conference where they are introduced to new technologies and strategies to improve internal effectiveness. “Our accounting system was incompatible with current Microsoft technologies and this was becoming an issue for us,” said Brenda. Additionally, the regulated telephone industry requires complex allocations that Pioneer was doing manually. “We turned to CS3 Technology for guidance. Since we have been a client for so long, I knew CS3 Technology really understood our business. I relied on their expertise and trusted their recommendation of Sage 500 ERP,” said Brenda.
Pioneer and CS3 Technology worked together on the implementation and system conversion. Sage 500’s SQL database allows Pioneer to easily integrate their billing system with Sage 500’s general ledger. “Our allocations are so much simpler now,” said Brenda. “We set up the allocation rules once and each month process the allocations. Plus, Sage 500 allows for cross-company allocations, which saves us the time of having to do it manually.” Brenda can process more data in the same amount of time, thus improving her productivity.
An unexpected benefit of moving to Sage 500 came from the Active Planner module. “We saved a month’s time when we rolled our budgets to the new year,” said Brenda. Pioneer feeds their budgeting information to Sage 500 and uses BizInsight’s financial report writing tool. Once in BizInsights, reports are easily pulled and distributed out to supervisors in the field. “We used to do a lot of this manually,” said Brenda. “We no longer have to re-enter information and our supervisors have more useful reports that are easier to understand. They use these reports to manage their expense budgets.” Pioneer also seamlessly converted hundreds of financial reports to BizInsights, which saved a significant amount of effort.
“CS3 Technology customized input screens based on our roles,” said Brenda. “This has been life saving! I don’t worry about users getting into something that they don’t need to be in, plus the system is now tailored to each person’s responsibilities. CS3 Technology also created customized Crystal Reports for us. This helped us still see the information in the format that we were used to.”
“I greatly appreciate the relationship that we have with CS3 Technology. I can tell that they are interested in continuously improving their service and that they have the same commitment to service that we do,” said Brenda. “We have an open and honest relationship and I am proud to recommend them to other businesses.”
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