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Not-for-profit financial management software helps VisitDallas save time

The team at VisitDallas is enjoying benefits from their new implementation of not-for-profit financial management software. Their legacy system could not properly reflect the organization’s true structure and reporting, and was time-consuming and error-prone. Read about how the team worked with Baker Tilly Digital to automate their processes, bolster internal controls and actually start enjoying their integrated not-for-profit financial management software.

Legacy system was struggling

When Jill Larsen, CFO, took over the finance function at VisitDallas, the organization was running an older implementation of a legacy software. “It was hard to navigate; hard to get information; hard to do research,” said Larsen. In addition to outdated technology, she also saw opportunities to improve the organization’s processes and internal controls.

Their legacy software also struggled to reflect the true structure of the organization. Multiple entities weren’t reflected properly, and it was difficult to manage the organization’s chart of accounts. As a result, the team didn’t use the project dimension as they wanted to, were reusing projects, or using summary projects because of how difficult it was to administer them. This contributed to the system’s reporting issues. 

Challenges

  • Needed to improve internal controls, both systems and processes
  • Outdated system contributed to several inefficiencies
  • System could not properly reflect the organization’s true structure and reporting was therefore time-consuming and error-prone

They knew they needed to make a change. Larsen and others on her team had a lot of experience with other solutions at previous positions but decided against that solution because of limitations with the tool’s reporting function. A different evaluation showed that solution to be too expensive for the organization. They decided instead to collaborate with Baker Tilly Digital to implement integrated not-for-profit financial software that includes Sage Intacct and Nexonia.

Baker Tilly Digital has helped VisitDallas add efficiency to the finance function by implementing a best-in-class accounting system that allows invoices to be connected to vendor payments, allowing for simple, efficient research into transactions. Larsen and her team can drill from reports and dashboards all the way down into the supporting documentation and invoice images.

Along with the implementation of Sage Intacct, Baker Tilly Digital helped VisitDallas migrate from Concur to Nexonia to improve the end user experience for the finance team. As the staff received training on the new systems, they were excited about the change – something that in Larsen’s experience is unusual with this kind of system migration.

“The transition was seamless,” said Larsen. “The end users loved it from day one. They had to learn new coding for transactions, but it was easy to access, visually easy to see and understand, and easy to track. I was surprised at how seamless it was to get department staff and end users trained. We have people doing their own invoices now that never would have before.”

The dimensionality of Sage Intacct not-for-profit accounting software, which Baker Tilly Digital implemented and configured for the organization, enables Larsen and her team to slice and dice data across departments, projects, and funding sources. The latter was a dimension missing from their legacy implementation.

When asked if there are specific metrics she can point to that show improvements since finishing the project, Larsen highlights an improved AP process. Baker Tilly Digital customized their system so that the team at VisitDallas can easily see what funding source is associated with a bill so that the appropriate bank account can be selected for payment. “We were spending a big chunk of two difficult days per week sorting this out,” said Larsen. “Now we can do it in less than half a day.”

Asked whether she feels the team and the systems are now ready to scale with the future growth of the organization, Larsen responded confidently, “Without a doubt. The design, structure, and capabilities of the system have us set for years.”

“I had a vision for what I wanted and plenty of experience to know how things should work,” said Larsen. “What Baker Tilly Digital was able to do was to take that and know exactly how to map it into the system.” According to Larsen, Baker Tilly Digital’s experience, the infrastructure they’ve built for their implementation team, and their project management process was crucial to the success of the project.

“I’ve done five or six GL conversions in my career,” said Larsen. “This was by far the easiest and the one where I felt like I had the best understanding of the overall plan and where we were along the way.”

Benefits

  • Improved internal controls
  • Better, dimensional reporting
  • Happier end users
  • Seamless transition
  • More efficient AP and reporting processes
  • Scalable system with plenty of headroom for future growth
Allison Webb
Director, CPA
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