5 Ways Cemetery Software helps to Save Time in Cemetery Management
By Ken Munday
With the busy world we live in, saving time is critical to accomplishing all our tasks. Here are 5 ways you can save time using cemetery record management software:
1. Recording Data Only Once
With paper records, documents and spreadsheets, you may be recording the same information multiple times. For example, the deceased name could appear on a lot card, a paper map, an interment certificate and a sales invoice. Recording this data takes time initially, but also can cost you time later, if spelling errors need to be corrected or if a lot card is filed incorrectly and has to be moved. Often errors are introduced when the same information is copied from place to place, but incorrectly. Also, over time, the way records are kept changes with changes in staff. This shows up most in our industry since cemeteries retain records forever.
Cemetery record management software saves you time by enabling you to enter data only once, which minimizes errors, standardizes the way the records are kept, and eliminates copying errors.
2. Ability to Quickly Search for Data
Before Stone Orchard Software was even thought about, the founder visited a cemetery to help them purchase a computer. A family came to the cemetery asking for information about their loved one. The search took 2 hours while the staff looked up the name in various ways, going from one filing cabinet to another. It turned out that the loved one was in the veteran’s section, but the family had forgotten that information. Everyone was happy at the end of the day, but a lot of time was spent searching. We’re sure most of you have, or have heard, a similar story.
Record management software for cemeteries is a great time saver because you can do a search using one piece of information, and find everything you are looking for at the click of a button, including the deceased, next of kin, location of the plot, etc.
3. Complying with Legislation
When the government comes in to do an audit, it can often be very stressful and time consuming to access all the records they need. Creating reports can also be very time consuming, especially if they need to be done manually. Lastly, records mismanagement in cemeteries is a hot topic in the news, which can lead to public outcry and lawsuits. Even large cemeteries are not immune, as evidenced by the mismanagement issues that Arlington Cemetery has faced.
Using cemetery software on a consistent basis not only prevents errors in data, but also easily shows the lots that are available for sale and those that are on hold, which ensures the right person is interred in the right lot. In addition, many cemetery software packages have reporting functionality which generates reports quickly and can be customized to your needs.
4. Preventing Deterioration, Loss and Damage of Records
Paper records are subject to deterioration over time, can be misplaced or lost, and can be easily damaged by fire or flood. Some are simply unreadable, because they were hand-written in the 1800’s! Replacing these records is not an easy task. It often requires reaching out to the public for information, or ground penetrating radar if maps are involved.
You can save a lot of time by having all records computerized. It will not only save a lot of physical space, which can be easily damaged, but it will also prevent old records from deteriorating, and there is a much lower chance of lost records. In addition, you can back up your data and take it offsite to create redundancy. To take it a step further, many cemetery software companies have taken advantage of cloud computing and are offering a web-based or subscription option, which is hosted on the internet and is backed up by them on a regular basis.
Often, cemeteries will scan their paper records and link the scanned image to their cemetery software in order to preserve the original records.
Lastly, many cemetery software companies interface with other software, such as financial systems or CRMs, by direct integration or a software export. This saves everyone’s time by eliminating the need to manipulate information into a format needed by other staff or departments, or re-entering the information altogether.
These 5 Tips not only save you time, but also ensure that records are accurate, standardized, up-to date and comply with legislation.