Hudson -- The Parent Teacher Association is looking for volunteers for an upcoming seventh-grade health class program at Hudson Middle School.

The PTA needs four or five extra folks to help with the Reality Store, which was postponed from Oct. 23 to a later date which will be announced soon.

Its a budgeting workshop for them, said Judy Hamilton, PTA treasurer.

The students pick the career they want to have in their late 20s and are given a yearly salary.

From the salary the students must budget for a place to live, furnishings and day-to-day expenses.

Its amazing how fast the money goes, Hamilton said.

An added attraction is the wheel of unexpected expenses. The students pick a color from the wheel. Along with the color comes an unexpected monetary loss or gain.

They could win the lottery or need four new tires, according to Hamilton.

The goal of the program is to give students a glimpse into their future and become aware of basic skills which will be needed in financial planning, goal setting and career planning, according to the PTA.

Hudson Middle School Principal Kim Cockley called Reality Store, which is making its second appearance after the initial pilot program in 2013, a meaningful program.

The students engaged with community members to learn lifelong financial decision-making skills, Cockley said. Through the simulation activity, students came to understand real-life concepts such as income, expenses, wants versus needs, childcare costs, and benefits of higher education.

Cockley said she remembered several a-ha moments among the students last year.

One student, for example, shared that he finally understood what his parents were going through when they had to make tough decisions about money, Cockley said. We are so thankful to PTA and the community volunteers for creating this meaningful learning experience for our students.

For more information or to volunteer call Hamilton at 330-622-0824 or visit

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Phone: 330-541-9435

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Pittsburgh, PA -- Aptech Computer Systems announced American Liberty Hospitality, Inc. will implement Aptechs Targetvue Enterprise Planning system in 22 properties. American Liberty operates Hilton, IHG, Choice, Wyndham and other brands and full-service independent resorts. The company also uses Aptechs Profitvue® and Webvue® Enterprise Accounting. Aptech is the leading provider of hospitality software for business intelligence, budgeting, and enterprise financial accounting. Click here for more on Aptechs products and services.

American Liberty worked with Aptech to implement Profitvue and Webvue centralized back office accounting earlier this year. The systems and reporting are excellent. They enable our hotels to automatically upload property performance data and generate standardized reports for ownership entities and corporate analysis, said Robert Sponaugle, vice president and CFO for operations and development at American Liberty Hospitality. We will integrate Targetvue for budgeting and forecasting for all properties in Q4 14.

Targetvue is Aptechs hospitality-driven budgeting and forecasting solution. Aptech joined forces with PROPHIX to develop a totally new budgeting and forecasting application fully-integrated with its Profitvue accounting and Execuvue business intelligence systems. Targetvue eliminates the need to correct and recombine multiple spreadsheets for enterprise planning, consolidating, and reporting.

We are installing Targetvue to integrate with Profitvue to create accurate, updated budgets during the year and to generate timely reporting for our ownership entities, Sponaugle said. Targetvue budgeting and planning will let us compare performance against budget and create forecasts. Property data will move between Aptechs systems without intervention. Our goal is to deliver the most profitable performance for our owners, and Aptech helps us do this.

Aptech VP Jill Wilder said, Targetvue will let American Liberty select the budget and forecast data it wants to modify as a plus or minus percent, dollar amount, or other measure to evaluate the changes impact on profitability. These what if simulations will help managers see the best way to achieve forecast. Aptechs unique financial tools will give American Liberty an advantage over other management companies.

Targetvue will give American Liberty the ability to automatically send property managers and stakeholders links to their budgets. Each of American Libertys properties is unique with its own market factors, and utility costs, Wilder said. Targetvue will be an excellent system to give property managers guidance on how to make plans and develop best practices that increase profitability.

About American Liberty Hospitality, Inc.

American Liberty Hospitality, Inc. has a three-decade track record of developing and operating hotels of its own and for others. The company offers hotel owners experienced, professional knowledge and a commitment to success - from the most challenging operational details and financial hurdles to a resourceful, proven sales and marketing strategic plan. ALHs team of professionals, many of whom have 20+years of tenure, is prepared to handle your project. Whether you own a hotel under construction, a conference center on a lake, or a hotel that needs a new perspective and a gentle nudge to start realizing your financial objectives, we stand poised to launch an innovative solution for your project. American Liberty Hospitality can confidently handle your hospitality management needs. For more information, go to

About Aptech Computer Systems, Inc.

Aptech Computer Systems, Inc., based in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, is the only provider of a fully integrated enterprise accounting, business intelligence and planning ecosystem to the hospitality industry. All of its clients are companies like yours, which own or manage hotels. Its solutions help customers at both the corporate and property levels understand their financial and operational data for faster goal achievement.

The company is renowned for introducing business intelligence into the hotel industry, and offers a solid resource of hospitality professionals. Aptech is an IBM Software Value Plus partner and Premier Solution Provider.

Incorporated in 1970, Aptechs state-of-the-art back office, true business intelligence and enterprise planning solutions are 100% hotel specific. Solutions include Profitvue®, Execuvue®, Webvue® and Targetvue. Clients comprise over 3,200 properties - including large chains, multiple-property management companies and single-site hotels. Execuvue and Profitvue are registered to Aptech Computer Systems, Inc. All other trademarks are owned by their respective holders. For more information please visit

SURVEY: Iowans Good When it Comes to Budgeting

Updated: Monday, October 27 2014, 06:35 AM CDT
CEDAR RAPIDS, IA (CBS 2/FOX 28) - Some new numbers are showing that when it comes the balancing the checkbook, Iowans are doing a pretty good job.

Three Iowa cities cracked the top ten for balancing and budgeting personal finances. ranked 150 metropolitan area throughout the US.
Cedar Rapids came in at number 6, Des Moines followed at number 7, and the Siouxland area rounded out the top ten.

For the rankings, the site counted in 16 factors, including average credit score, bankruptcies, and how much folks keep in savings.

The nation foundation for credit counseling says three in five American say they dont keep a balanced budget, while 13-percent of Americans say they couldnt tell you what they spend on everyday expenses such as food and gas.
SURVEY: Iowans Good When it Comes to Budgeting

Charlotte Wynn from Cheshire West and Chester County Council says public sector organisations needing to collaborate in unprecedented ways can only do so if everyone is working from the same, up-to-date, accurate financial data


The full impact of the governments decision to cut funding by £11.5bn for 2015-16 will soon be felt by the majority of local authorities. These measures will add more pressure on already stretched council services which are edging closer to breaking point.

Absorbing these additional cuts, while trying to guarantee the protection of critical frontline services, is going to be a significant challenge due to tighter budgets and reduced resources. This is further exacerbated given how frequently requirements can change.

If local authorities are to continue to succeed in delivering more with less, maximising budgets must now become a problem shared across all individual departments, services and teams rather than resting with finance managers alone. To do this operational staff must be made more accountable for their own budgeting, planning and spending.

This doesnt mean that finance departments should be absolved of any responsibility. Arguably, finance now has an even greater role to play in ensuring that operational teams can appreciate the impact of their expenditure, while sharing the burden of identifying areas for reduced spending so that efficiency targets are met.

Now more than ever, local authorities need a clear line of sight across all financial activities to share information with operational managers. Yet many still use Excel as their default tool of choice for planning, budgeting and forecasting which creates several issues.

Manually entering data into spreadsheets invariably leads to inaccuracies and formulas have to be verified and rechecked, adding more unnecessary hours/days to an already protracted budgeting process. Having a number of budgeting spreadsheets in existence at any one time can also lead to confusion around version control resulting in more duplication of effort.

With so many opportunities for errors to creep into the budgeting process, this inevitably raises questions over the integrity of the financial information. Even if errors are avoided, there is a high probability that local authorities are basing vital decisions on information which is essentially out-of-date.

Like many public sector organisations, Cheshire West and Chester County Council was battling these common challenges in the midst of undergoing funding cuts while needing to reduce costs. A key priority for our consolidated finance team was to improve productivity, increase council-wide collaboration and provide tighter controls around spending. This was never going to be realistic while ever we were reliant on spreadsheets and manual quality-checking, consolidation and analysis tasks.

After evaluating the market, the organisation decided to invest in a budgeting and forecasting solution, after viewing a number of alternative products.

The chosen solution, Advanced Business Solutions Collaborative Planning, uses data from the councils financial management system and has simplified the entire budgeting process by making it easier to input and analyse budgetary data. Budget managers anywhere in the council can access financial and budgetary information and compare budgets with forecasts through the single web-based system.

The improvement in our budgeting and forecasting capabilities has been vast; financial information is quick and easy to download; forecasts easy to enter and the resulting outturn position readily available. This has helped to reduce the budgeting reporting cycle by over a week. The ease-of use, combined with the systems flexibility, has also been instrumental in ensuring maximum take-up by budget holders which was a key requirement as responsibility for budgets becomes more devolved.

Since implementing the budgeting and forecasting system, the council has delivered £1m in savings by automating financial processes with further efficiency savings to follow.

When reflecting upon the scale of our transformation two areas have been critical. Abandoning spreadsheets and investing in a tailored budgeting and forecasting solution has streamlined the entire process whilst ensuring that budgets can be managed more closely. Operating from a single version of the truth that everyone can access has also increased collaboration between council directorates. Staff now find it easier to query spending and are more willing to proactively address potential issues with accurate and timely data to hand - they have become more cost-conscious.

Public sector organisations are being called upon to collaborate in unprecedented ways to provide more joined-up and efficient services by improving transparency and devolving decision making. Most local authorities seem willing to embrace this vision by moving away from established ways of working in preference for creating greater clarity and control over forecasting, planning and spending.

However, this can only be achieved if everyone is working from the same, up-to-date, accurate financial data so that directorates are empowered to deliver changes with a clearer view of their budgets. Budgeting, forecasting and planning solutions are becoming increasingly commonplace among local authorities to drive new control over spending, and at a level that exceeds beyond the parameters of an individual department.

Transformation cannot come from technology alone. There are a number of intelligent budgeting, forecasting and planning solutions on the market which offer a powerful alternative to spreadsheets. In our experience, the investment we made has paid for itself many times over and has helped to transform efficiency, in addition to the way we manage all other spending.

Charlotte Wynn is Finance Manager at Cheshire West and Chester County Council