A non-profit whose mission is to empower journalists and engage citizens with new technologies and best practices. The organization's programs enable reporters and media entrepreneurs to use the latest digital technology, increasing the flow of quality news across the world. Over the past 30 years, they have worked with tens of thousands of professional and citizen journalists and media managers from nearly every country in the world.
A growing nonprofit organization, that had doubled operations over the past 6 years, was stretching their disconnected, paper-based systems to the breaking point. When their new Vice President of Finance and Administration joined them, she saw immediately that change was needed. “Every month the finance team was working long hours creating reports manually,” she said. “Program reviews took far too long. Preparing and supporting the audit took more than three weeks. It was unacceptable.”
Working for nonprofits since 2005, the new VP was familiar with multiple accounting and financial management systems that serve the industry, including Microsoft Dynamics, Financial Edge and Intacct. As she worked through the evaluation process, selecting three solutions as finalists, Intacct kept rising to the top. Attending an AICPA conference, she learned that Intacct is the only preferred provider, meeting the organization’s highest standards.
Intacct met all of the requirements that the new VP needed to support the organizations financial management now and into the future. “I was looking for a system to connect everything in one place, for my entire staff, with workflows to drive consistent processes,” she reported. “With Intacct, I can build our policies and procedures within the system. Approvals are all done in the system without going anywhere else. And most importantly, Intacct gives us the simplified, flexible reporting that we need.”
As she searched for an Intacct solution provider, she rediscovered Intellitec, who she had worked with previously. “They are professional, they are responsive and they understand how budget conscious nonprofits have to be. I had full confidence in selecting Intellitec.”
Meeting the unique needs of grant, program and fund reporting
As with all nonprofits, reporting impacts the productivity of the financial management team more than any other activity. Efficiently creating reports for grantors, program directors, the board of directors and other stakeholders—each requiring different data—requires, simple yet powerful reporting capabilities.
With over 50% of their funding coming through government grants, Intacct has significantly helped improve the productivity of the organizations financial team. “Every grant is unique in some regards but federal grants are especially specific in their requirements for grouping and managing expenses. For example, State Department grants require the total of category overruns to be under 10 percent of your entire budget,” explains the new VP. “Through Intacct we’ve been able to create a template report for federal grants that allows us to monitor those variances closely.”
Intacct has also completely transformed the way that the finance team works with Program Managers. Previously, program review meetings took hours of preparation and follow up. The finance team had to manually pull together program data from the general ledger and build spreadsheets. Questions from the Program Managers had to be researched, often digging into paper files to find individual invoices.
With cloud-based Intacct, the new VP can meet with a Program Manager anywhere and have access to all the information she needs instantly. “Now when I meet with a Program Manager, I bring my computer and run the report that gives us a clear summary,” she said. “When questions come up, all I have to do is drill to the source. In a matter of seconds, I have the detail of that transaction to share with the Program Manager.”
The flexible reporting from Intacct has simplified operations for various teams through:
- Tracking restricted and unrestricted funds – Previously, the finance team had to manually reconcile restricted funds in Excel. The auditors had to merge those spreadsheets into financial data to convert their financial statements to a standard non-profit format, incurring up to $10,000 in additional charges each year.
- Streamlined expense reports – Expense reports have been simplified, entered into Intacct as a bill to be paid. In the next phase of the solution roll out, the full functionality of Intacct Expense Reports will automate the approval and payment processes.
- Managing vendor advances – the organizations requirements included tracking vendor advances through ACH payments plus supporting document attachments. The Intellitec team created a report that provides the data needed, replacing a manual process of digging through the general ledger to enter information into spreadsheets.
- Allocations of indirect costs to programs – To manage the allocation of indirect costs to programs, Intellitec created a report to provide the data need for journal entries.
A simplified audit process
Intacct will significantly reduce the time that the finance team needs to commit to the annual audit. In the past, it took the team at least three weeks to gather the information for the auditors. Then there was the additional time spent researching questions and supporting documentation requests. “We are looking forward to spending less time on audits,” said the VP of Finance. “With Intacct, we can give them access so that they can find the information they need without interrupting our work.”
The cloud makes technology invisible
Moving to cloud-based Intacct has eliminated the technical challenges that the finance team faced in the past. Slow connections when working from home and trouble tickets when users can’t run a report are a thing of the past. “Technology no longer holds us back,” said the new VP. “We just don’t think about it. Intacct works the same no matter where you are.”
The cloud delivery of Intacct helps the finance team stay focused on work instead of technology through:
- Operating the same way no matter where they work. A web connection is all users need to get same information and performance they would have in the office.
- No downtime waiting for internal IT support issues to be resolved.
- Automatic upgrades and enhancements that deliver the latest functionality of the software as soon as it is available.
Guidance from partners with nonprofit expertise
The deep nonprofit experience that both Intacct and Intellitec brought to the project allowed Lopez to improve processes during the implementation. Intacct offers white papers, like “Outcome Metrics: Measuring What Matters on the Nonprofit World” to provide specific guidance on best practices in financial management. “Intacct has a good understanding of nonprofit financial arena. They have developed help documents that tell you exactly what to do and they work. It’s magical.”
Intellitec’s consultants, with hundreds of nonprofit implementations under their belt, provided suggestions that guided many decisions. “Intellitec would explain the options and best practices that allowed me to make the determination of what was best for our organization. I found Intellitec to be extremely responsive and very helpful.”
For organization, the initial implementation of Intacct is just the beginning. They plan to continue to improve operations across the organization taking full advantage of the solution functionality. Working with Intellitec, will provide for continuous gains in efficiency and productivity for the finance team and the rest of the organization.