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American Office Takes Strategic Approach with Abra Suite

Special Advertisement: With personnel files dispersed throughout multiple locations, the ability to generate accurate, timely reports was limited.

May 29, 2004
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Since 1932, American Office has provided office environment solutions in the Baltimore, Washington, D.C. and northern Virginia area. One of the most financially successful, stable contract office furniture dealers in the U.S., the company represents more than 300 manufacturers of quality freestanding furniture, seating and office systems for a wide array of business environments.

To provide clients with a complete office solution, American Office handles sales, project management, delivery, installation and customer service. The company also operates six locations, including a 60,000 square foot distribution center, a 30,000 square foot warehousing facility and several showrooms throughout the region—as well as its own fleet of delivery trucks and vans.

Throughout much of its history, American Office maintained employment records manually. With personnel files dispersed throughout multiple locations, the HR department's ability to generate accurate, timely reports was limited. In 1999, the company sought to automate its HR processes.

After investigating several software solutions, American Office selected Abra HR, part of the Abra Suite Human Resource Management Solution (HRMS) by Best Software. A few months later, American Office added Abra Payroll to the Abra HR module, implementing a seamlessly integrated Abra Suite solution.

According to Barbara Surran, American Office's director of HR, Abra Suite has put information at the fingertips of the company's HR and payroll staff, enabling the company to instantly report on all types of information and improve productivity.

"We've gained the power to automatically track and prepare reports on standard government requirements and issues specific to our organization," says Surran. "For example, I prepare a regular census report on the number of employees at each location, and track important certifications for our truck drivers, as well as property issued to employees. Using Abra Suite, we have a better level of control over all employee-related information, and spend less time trying to maintain it."

Abra Suite's powerful reporting capabilities have rescued the HR staff from tedious manual counts. "The health insurance census report is one we look at several times per year," says Surran. "Because we have six locations, it used to take about five hours per report to collect the information for our insurance broker. Using Abra Suite, it takes a matter of seconds."

Abra Payroll has helped American Office streamline several difficult payroll tasks, such as year-end W-2 preparation.

"Using Abra Payroll, we've significantly reduced the time it takes to process W-2s. At the same time, it has increased accuracy. Plus, we've gained better product support and flexibility," says Michael Kuntz, CFO at American Office.

Additionally, by keeping payroll in-house American Office saves the time and budget that would otherwise be spent managing an outsourcing relationship.

With Abra Suite, American Office has improved productivity, gained control over valuable employee data and avoided costly service bureau fees. "Abra Suite is so rich in functionality that we continue to find ways it'll enable us to further improve productivity and reduce costs. We're excited about our future, and look forward to growing with Abra Suite."

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