Nonprofit Success Stories & References
Below are some of our nonprofit success stories, a link to our work with The Atlanta Opera and references from past customers!
Nonprofit Success Stories: ACT Acts on Data with Abila MIP Fund Accounting
Alternative Community Training, Inc. (ACT) provides an array of programs and services throughout Mid-Missouri to approximately 400 individuals with disabilities annually, in the areas of employment, residential services, day programs and in-home services. Founded in 1975, ACT has evolved over the years as an established, nationally-accredited organization effectively meeting the needs of persons with disabilities and their families. With approximately 285 employees, ACT’s mission is to provide opportunities to individuals with disabilities as participating members of the community.
ACT provides both in-home and community-based living assistance designed to help guide individuals in acquiring life skills necessary for independent living and achieving maximum independence. ACT also offers a Day Program, providing daily activities to address individual goals in areas such as socialization, safety, communication, recreation and leisure skills, self-help, personal hygiene, and fitness. And lastly, ACT Career Services works with jobseekers to achieve their employment goals, while assisting a large array of local employers with their recruitment and retention needs.
Funding for the various programs offered by ACT comes from government entities, donations, as well as grants. Strict guidelines ensue with Medicaid funds, adding a layer of complexity to their already complicated nonprofit financial tracking and reporting process.
After a complete financial staff turnover, they lost a knowledge of the legacy accounting system. The new staff learned that the existing accounting software simply didn’t support the organization’s needs.
Abila Business Partner, 1st Choice Advisors, helped ACT implement MIP Fund Accounting to establish sound financial control.
Abila MIP has enabled the financial staff of ACT to effectively and efficiently manage its financial data. The integrated system delivers reports at the touch of a button, providing management with key decision-making information.
Staff Turnover Sends ACT Looking for Alternatives
During early 2015, ACT lost its Director of Financial Operations, who had been in the role for ten years. The replacement turned out to be interim, spending only six months at ACT before leaving. During that same time period, ACT lost the other financial staff members. Melody Troesser stepped in as the Director of Financial Operations in December of 2015 and began to sort through the financial disarray.
“It was the perfect storm,” states Troesser. “There was minimal in-house knowledge of the existing accounting system. The legacy software was designed for a $1million organization, yet ACT had grown to a $7 million budget. At the same time, ACT had a for-profit recycling program that was in the midst of closing down. The financials were more than four months behind. We had no solid financial data to develop a budget for the coming year. Essentially, we were flying blind.”
New financial team members were learning the software and discovering that it wasn’t working to meet the needs of the organization. Manual Excel spreadsheets were extensively used and multiple software programs were used to support the accounting records. Software coding tables had been changed with no audit trail as to when or why they changed. “We were on the phone with customer support all the time and getting no help,” says Troesser. “Those were some painful days! Staff time out for training wasn’t even an option, since we’d be even further behind. The lack of controls in the legacy software was scary.” Finally, an end-of-year audit cited a number of issues that had to be addressed and recommended changes to the Board of Directors.
ACT began searching for a nonprofit accounting solution, and soon thereafter interviewed 1st Choice Advisors, which offered the Abila MIP Fund Accounting solution. Troesser had experience working with 1st Choice Advisors in a prior position and was impressed with Abila MIP, which could be implemented quickly. “Our board approved the purchase in April 2016, and we immediately began implementation. Joe Wallach of 1st Choice Advisors managed the implementation. He was very patient and had a keen ability to access each user’s abilities and suggest when more training was needed,” explains Troesser. “We were up and running by July 1, 2016.”
Building on Success
“In our type of business, it is the monitoring and tracking that is so crucial. MIP has that capability built in. We can easily receive, track, and release funds for constituent services, since all data is integrated into the system. More importantly, internal controls can be set up to help prevent fraudulent activity – this capability did not exist with our previous system. We expect the Board members and auditors will commend our progress after our first fiscal year using MIP.”
“We’re able to provide financial information so much faster for our program directors. I can take my laptop into meetings and answer financial questions on the spot,” continues Troesser. “With the old system, monthly financial reporting covered data that was four months old. Now we have up-to-date financials completed by the 18th day of the following month – this is an 85 percent improvement on our delivery time! Reports are generated at the touch of a button, and supporting documents are quick to find. If we have a question about how to do something in MIP, the CHAT feature provides instant answers. My staff members tell me, ‘I love MIP!’”
Already one of our nonprofit success stories, ACT has plans for additional Accounts Receivable training scheduled in the coming months. They are also considering further expansion of the system by automating Payroll and Human Resources. “We need to look into these modules now,” concludes Troesser, “in case funding is possible in our next budget year.”
PDF Form: ACT Success Story
Nonprofit Success Stories: Managing Growth at the K’ima:w Medical Center
The K’ima:w Medical Center, founded in 1973, is a small clinic providing high-quality health care to people in the Hoopa Valley Indian Reservation and surrounding area. It has since grown to include dental services, urgent care, a pharmacy, ambulance and outreach services, and a Senior Nutrition Center. Today, the Center serves over 7,000 people each year and has an annual budget of over $8,000,000.
Managing such steady growth presents unique accounting challenges. Fortunately, the Center made the right choices:
- Choosing MIP Fund Accounting to manage their financials.
- Working with a Native American advisor such as Scott Lewis from 1st Choice Advisors.
Accounting Manager Lois Avery had been with the Center since the manual bookkeeping days in the ‘70’s. Since the implementation of MIP, her efficiency has increased dramatically even with the growth the Center has experienced. She first appreciated the ease and flexibility of MIP as her assistant, who was not an accountant, could easily assist with the data and accounts payable transactions. One of her favorite features is the Payroll Module. “It is crucial to our work! We love that you can set it to print out so much information on the pay stub, such as leave balances and other benefit details.”
Scott Lewis, a Partner with 1st Choice Advisors and Lewis Consulting, had originally helped the Center with their audits and board reports. He understands tribal finance and how to set up the GL so that creating reports is easier through the system (no need to export financial data into a spreadsheet)! Avery says, “Scott is a delight to work with. He knows what he’s doing and is always available when we need him. Whenever we need to know where our spending level is, that report is available with the click of a button and we trust the integrity of the report.” Scott is also a member of the Grand Traverse Band of Ottawa and Chippewa Indians and lives on the Peshawbestown Reservation in Michigan.
Thanks to MIP and a good partner, Avery stays on top of her workload and continues to be one of our nonprofit success stories. They no longer dread their annual audits or funding source reporting requirements! Avery laughs, “Without MIP and Scott, everything would still be a mess!”
Nonprofit Success Stories: The Atlanta Opera
Nonprofit Success Stories: Personal Quotes
“We’re able to provide financial information so much faster for our program directors. I can take my laptop into meetings and answer financial questions on the spot. With the old system, monthly financial reporting covered data that was four months old. Now we have up-to-date financials completed by the 18th day of the following month – this is an 85% improvement on our deliver time! Reports are generated at the touch of a button, and supporting documents are quick to find…My staff members tell me they love MIP!”
Melody Troesser, Director of Financial Operations, Alternative Community Training
“1st Choice Advisors helped us think our implementation through so our transition was as smooth as possible for the whole team.”
Doug Kolasinski, CFO, Associated Colleges of the Midwest
“Payroll is crucial to our work! We love that you can set it to print out so much information on the pay stub, such as leave balances and other benefit details.”
Lois Avery, Former Accounting Manger for K’ima:w Medical Center on Hoopa Valley Reservation
Why use a Business Partner?
1st Choice Advisors is a Select Business Partner for Abila products and services. Our consultants also have over 30 years of experience working with nonprofits; real-world experience with a variety of different types of fundraising needs and requirements as a result. We rigorously train on Abila products. Why? We spend up to 90 hours each year reviewing new functionality and training procedures. We are your go-to for service, providing user groups, both online and in our offices. All things considered, your satisfaction and ability to get results is our main goal!
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