In a step toward further collaboration with the school district, the town of New Canaan is acquiring the same financial accounting system used by New Canaan Public Schools.

The Town Council approved Sept. 17 a resolution authorizing an appropriation of $470,000 for acquisition and implementation of a Munis financial accounting system.

First Selectman Robert Mallozzi called the change an "incredible benefit to our financial system," which will allow the finance departments of the town and schools to "run parallel" with each other.

"It will eliminate the phone calls," he said. "It will eliminate the double entries which we all know about."

Jeffrey Ziplow, a partner at Blum Shapiro and consultant for the town, said the new system would create a "foundation for synergies" between the town and school district.

"It's going to provide you with much, much better financial reporting and a much more granular level of detail and allow you to get good solid financial information for the town," he told the Town Council. "Then, through synergy and harmonization, if you will, between the town and the schools, we can share things."

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Ziplow said the town could save about $120,000 over the next five years with the new system. One way to save money, he said, is by offering Munis training to the schools staff while training town employees "so that we make sure they're up to speed on all the nuances and capabilities of the system" with no additional charge to the district.

Town Council members seemed pleased with the initiative.

"I'm very happy we're moving in this direction," Councilman John Emert said. "I think it's an excellent idea to try to improve workflow and develop synergies between the town and the school district."

Interim Superintendent of Schools Bryan Luizzi agreed, noting that having the same system "would enable us to share data" with the town, which he said would help cut down on multiple points of entry.

"The opportunity to share data between the two systems would be beneficial to both of us," Luizzi said.

Munis is used by at least 60 municipalities and 38 school districts, according to Ziplow.

The implementation of the system will be broken down into two parts. The town's Finance Department will have Munis by July 1, 2015, while the Human Resources Department would have the system by Jan. 1, 2016.

Ziplow noted that the town's payroll is currently "a very manual process. After this new cloud-based system is installed, employees will be able to access payroll information online."

Councilman Penny Young said integrating the town and school through one financial system is "a very healthy direction."

"As we do work in parallel, we will see that there are crossovers that create even more efficiencies," she said.

Mallozzi told the council that one of the main benefits will be easier access to the schools' numbers. "There's money savings and then there's time savings," he said.

The town's current system, Colorado-based Enterprise, was implemented in 2011.

The Munis implementation will be paid for through funds the town recently received from an asbestos litigation settlement., 203-330-6582, @olivnelson