Founded in 1990, the Institute of World Politics is an accredited, nonprofit graduate school of national security and international affairs located in Washington, D.C. Students are offered a highly specialized curriculum and a distinguished master's degree program with direct access to U.S. government leaders. The Institute's unique courses provide an exclusive professional education and prepare students for success in high-ranking positions within government service, including the CIA, FBI and the U.S. Army.
The Institute had been using an integrated Datatel system (now Ellucian) to manage their student database as well as their accounting. The software is commonly used by large universities and colleges, but the Institute found it extremely cumbersome to use and very expensive to maintain. The primary challenges were in the areas of financial reporting, accounts payable and the inability to drill down into their data.
"The accounting side of Datatel simply didn't fit our needs and required time-consuming workarounds to do even simple tasks like processing checks and creating invoices," explains Elaine Pinder, the Institute's Chief Financial Officer. "We had no way to drill down into our data or export it into Excel so creating financial statements and reports took hours of manual research and entry."
In April 2013, Elaine began evaluating accounting software packages that would better match the Institute's needs and budget. Feeling a cloud-based Intacct solution would be an ideal fit for their mid-sized nonprofit, she reached out to Intellitec for a demonstration. "I've worked with Intellitec for more than fifteen years and know firsthand how knowledgeable and responsive their people are. I was confident they could help us find the right solution," said Elaine.
Working with the Institute's finance team, Intellitec assessed their processes and requirements and agreed Intacct would be an excellent solution to streamline their accounting processes while significantly reducing licensing and maintenance costs. Intellitec assisted in the migration of their financial data into Intacct and setup the chart of accounts, General Ledger and several features for optimal efficiency.
Additionally, the Institute implemented an independent student database system and needed to have that information available in Intacct. In conjunction with their student database vendor, Intellitec was able to automate the process of uploading and importing the new student data into Intacct, taking staff only about 30 seconds per day.
"A cloud-based Intacct solution was absolutely the right decision for us. You don't need extensive accounting or technical knowledge to use the system. It's very user-friendly and works great for nonprofits and mid-sized organizations like us without a lot of customizations," Elaine said.
To correspond with the start of their new fiscal year, Intellitec helped the Institute fully convert to Intacct in August 2013. Staff were personally guided through the transition and trained on advanced features and tools. Elaine and her team are extremely pleased and report numerous benefits from their solution. "We are ecstatic to have streamlined our processes and create more efficiencies so we can work on things that need our attention more than having to spend half an hour keying in a couple of invoices. We love Intacct. It's so much easier to use and it's in the cloud which has saved valuable time and costs we can now use to directly benefit our students."
Savings of $81,000 per Year
The return on investment for the Institute has been "phenomenal" according to the financial team. By choosing a cloud-based Intacct solution, the Institute no longer has to allocate budget for outsourced IT support or to maintain expensive hardware. The result is an annual savings of 62% per year in software and IT costs.
Integrated and Searchable Data
Intacct has given the Institute expanded capabilities to access, search and manage their information. Now, they have all of their information at their fingertips with the ability to drill-down how they need to and import/export into Microsoft Excel which they couldn't do before. Intellitec worked with their student database vendor to setup an automated way to integrate their daily transactions from their seperate student database into Intacct in a matter of seconds.
Simplified Invoicing and Check Processing
Before Intacct, processing checks took multiple steps and it took around 15 minutes just to create one invoice. There was no way to allocate costs to different departments so staff had to manually key in and allocate costs in spreadsheets and then enter them as separate line items on invoices. With Intacct, checks can be issued in a couple of clicks and an invoice takes just a couple of minutes to produce.
Expansive Financial Reporting
Coming from very limited reporting capabilities with Datatel, the Institute is thrilled with Intacct's wide array of built-in report templates. With the ability to export their data and intuitive custom reporting features, creating financial statements and month-end reports is intuitive and fast. In addition, they can confidently report who created, modified and approved every journal entry ensuring compliance with auditing requirements. These new capabilities have been a major benefit providing improved insight and accelerated reconciliation while saving staff hours every month.
Accurate Expense Management and Budgeting
Nonprofit organizations are under a considerable amount of pressure to make the best use of their resources and funds. Utilizing flexible dimensions within Intacct, the Institute has gained control of their chart of accounts and can better manage direct and indirect expenses. Department heads can accurately budget for their department and leaders can effectively allocate funds across the organization.
No Costly Downtime
The Institute is extremely pleased with their entire experience from both Intacct and Intellitec. The cloud environment has worked flawlessly and doesn't require any outside IT support to maintain. Any questions or issues are handled immediately by Intellitec ensuring maximum performance from their technology and their people.
Elaine adds, "Having the personal support with Intellitec is wonderful. We used to have to call or email the software company if we had a problem only to wait sometimes 24 hours for a response. Now, we call Intellitec and talk to someone who takes the time to help us right away. We are always able to get assistance when we need it and have had no downtime whatsoever."