Columbia Southern University and APS are working together to provide quality and affordable education.

The Arc Caddo-Bossier

About Columbia Southern University (CSU):

Columbia Southern University (CSU) was founded in 1993 by Dr. Robert Mays in Orange Beach, Alabama in order to meet the demand for alternatives to the traditional university experience. As one of the nation’s first completely online universities, CSU provides students with a quality education that includes the flexibility they need for success.


APS Solutions Used:
Payroll | Core HR | Time & Attendance


  • Platform to support growing administrative needs.
  • Inefficient and ineffective systems.
  • Controlling payroll costs.
  • A complex system that was difficult to use.
  • Lack of support.

We saved over $200,000 the first year by making the switch to APS. With the old system, we were paying more to get less.

Vicki Barnes, PHR

Director of Community Relations & Events


CSU’s goal was to move forward quickly to reduce costs. During their search, CSU administrators identified the follow criteria to be of greatest importance:

  • Mid-quarter implementation timeline.
  • Price quote must demonstrate significant cost savings.
  • Established track record of customer service excellence.
  • Eliminate a digital certificate operational requirement for the payroll system.
  • Easy-to-use online system that could be accessed from any location.
  • Enhanced reporting functionality.


Implementation anytime of the year.

CSU selected the complete APS Payroll, HR, Time & Attendance and Reporting platform in May of 2010.

“Even though we changed systems mid-quarter, the APS process was seamless,” noted Barnes. “We have employees in 17 different jurisdictions, but they made it so simple. APS was very thorough and prepared us for a smooth transition. During implementation, APS even discovered that we had a credit in one state which exceeded $100,000.”

Significant cost savings.

Barnes said operating costs have also reduced significantly, and that APS customer support continues to impress.

“We saved over $200,000 in the first year by switching to APS. With the old system, we were paying more to get less. What APS says they will do, they do in every area from customer service responsiveness to compliance accuracy.”

Usability anywhere on any device.

Because the APS system does not require a digital certificate, it has exceeded CSU’s functionality expectations and satisfied one of the key criteria they needed.

“We are a technology-driven university,” said Barnes. “Our students can access courses from anywhere in the world. APS provides a parallel to our level of technology with a payroll system that I can access on my smartphone. I can receive a call or text with a question, access the system, and respond in less than three minutes from any location.”

100% paperless payroll.

CSU is currently in the process of going paperless to further reduce operating costs.

“With the APS system, we can upload all our company documents to eSELFSERVE,” explained Barnes. “We can scan and upload documents such as performance reviews, which makes managing and organizing the documents so much easier. The system is so easy to use, and our employees have access to all their information online including previous W-2s and paystubs.”

Intuitive reporting and dashboards.

Reporting functionality and intuitive design were also important factors for CSU in making the switch to APS.

“I was surprised to be able to run all the reports without any help,” said Barnes. “I have never worked in a system where you are provided with so many options for formatting and manipulating data into the specialized reports you need.”

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