United Methodist Homes is a church-connected, not-for-profit organization committed to providing a diverse selection of high-quality living environments and communities, primarily for seniors. They provide a continuum of long-term care services, from independent living to 24-hour skilled nursing. Founded in 1951, the Binghamton, NY-based organization currently operates 13 facilities located in four campuses in New York and Pennsylvania
The accounting software United Methodist Homes originally used was a "home-grown," highly customized accounting system built from the ground up and maintained by staff programmers. The system interface was character-driven, not graphical, and numerous manual processes were required to collect and enter data and generate reports. UMH used the system for many years, and eventually it became increasingly difficult to maintain, with extended periods of downtime required for maintenance.
When United Methodist Homes made the decision to identify and implement a new accounting package, they above all wanted a turnkey, out-of-the box solution that required no customization and would be easier to maintain. To evaluate their options, they created a list of "deal-breakers" against which they could compare various vendors and solutions. These critical must-haves included reporting, general ledger, and accounts payable functionality, for which they identified best practices. In addition to their desire for a system with a modern, easy-to-use, graphical user interface, UMH was interested in a solution that could automate as many manual processes as possible.
United Methodist Homes chose Microsoft Dynamics GP as their accounting solution. Dynamics GP easily supports their GL, AP, and intercompany-transaction requirements. The system's user-friendly, graphical user interface includes simple checklists that can be used to perform many tasks. The management reporting capability allows them to build familiar-looking financial statements in which they can drill down to whatever level of detail is required, something they could not do with their old system. And Dynamics GL's multi-entity management functionality makes it easy to bring together and share information for all their facilities.
Of course, identifying the software solution is only half the battle. Choice of an integration and implementation partner is equally important. United Methodist Homes also evaluated vendors against their "deal-breaker" list, eliminating one VAR from consideration because its implementation pricing was too high. Intellitec Solutions, to whom they were referred by industry colleagues, impressed UMH with their knowledge of the long-term care business and their "great insights."
When UMH went live with the Dynamics GP system, the implementation went smoothly, with a few hiccups, but nothing serious. They considered their project to be very well-managed by Intellitec, who did a great job of holding them to the implementation timeline. To support their January 1 go-live date, Intellitec consultants also helped UMH with the closing process for the previous year and made themselves available when UMH needed help.
Although no system customizations were made, Intellitec did help UMH implement numerous integrations with Microsoft Excel, which their various facilities use as an interface to Dynamics GP for entry of accounts-payable information. Excel is automatically populated with data from Dynamics GP, and staffers use drop-down lists to enter information. This data is then loaded into Dynamics GP with the click of a button. Staffers don't need to get into Dynamics GP, and no extra licenses are required for the different facilities.
Among the lessons learned by UMH as a result of their implementation: "Work in groups. Have a good plan. Stay on task with the project list. And do a few test runs before the actual go-live run to reduce your anxiety level."
UMH says that operations have been very smooth since Dynamics GP went live. They regard their system as "well-balanced" and report little downtime. The high level of task automation delivered by Dynamics GP has significantly reduced data-input errors. They are usually able to solve the few problems that come up on their own, but when they do need assistance from Intellitec, they say that the service has been great. Response is fast, within a couple days at most.