Osman Page Cleans Up the Boothbay Region Water District: A Case Study

Organization : Boothbay Region Water District
Industry/market segment : Non-Profit/Municipal Water District
Business description : Provides safe drinking water for Boothbay, Boothbay Harbor & Southport, ME
Size : $2.5 million, 9 full time and 3 part-time employees
Term of client relationship : 4 years
Services provided : Full Service Hosted Accounting and Financial Consulting

The Boothbay Region Water District (BRWD) provides some of the best tasting drinking water in a state known for its water quality. Maintaining equally clean books, however, presented this non-profit municipal organization with a challenge. Management faced increasing pressure from trustees and auditors to establish proper separation of duties, increase internal controls, and institute a consistent financial reporting structure. Budget constraints and staff shortages were causing stress and draining the resources of the management team.

Osman Page was brought in to assess the condition of the organization’s financial operations and rectify the situation. Investigation revealed fewer internal controls than were necessary in order to ensure compliance with regulations. The first step was to clean-up the books themselves and institute improved accounting practices. Working with the management team they re-structured the BRWD’s back office business processes, resulting in increased visibility for the management team and a clearer financial picture for the board of trustees. Perhaps most importantly, Osman Page helped bring BRWD into compliance with regulatory requirements, saving considerable time and money and streamlining the annual audit process.

Under the new system, Osman Page provides accounting services including accounts payable, payroll, reconciliation, and monthly financial statements. Jon Ziegra, the BRWD’s General Manager, now has 24/7 access to regularly balanced books, banking and loan status, and a fully digitized archive of financial documents from his office, home, or while travelling via Osman Page’s secure portal.
The results were so successful that the district expanded the outsourcing agreement to include financial management of funds, grants, and construction projects. The cost savings and scalable business model enabled the acquisition of the Southport Water District, for which Osman Page provided due diligence and a smooth transition of assets.

This past year the BRWD again turned to Osman Page for assistance in facilitating a refinancing with the Maine Municipal Bond Bank, saving the organization nearly $1.5M over the life of the debt facility. The BRWD continues to improve processes for itself and its customers, positioning itself for continued health and growth.

“I’ve got the highest degree of confidence in the work of Osman Page. We’d been let down by a staff member, and went from having the worst utility audit that year to having the best audit the very next year, according to our auditing firm, due directly to bringing in Osman Page. Our books are on a different level, and their understanding of regulatory requirements and expertise with non-profit accounting practices gives me tremendous peace of mind. The hosted accounting service costs us less and produces better results than any in-house or part-time bookkeeper we’ve had. The financial transparency helps us demonstrate how every penny’s being managed, ensuring the highest levels of public trust. From my perspective it’s simple: I rely on Osman Page as my accounting department, and I’d recommend them without hesitation.”

Jon Ziegra,
General Manager, Boothbay Region Water District