Ease of reporting and standardized accounting practices realized.
Anne Ward, Chief Financial Officer at Indiana Legal Services shared her experience migrating from an on-premises accounting software program to the cloud accounting software solution Sage Intacct.
Tell us about Indiana Legal Services. What accounting challenges did you have?
Indiana Legal Services is a nonprofit law firm operating out of eight branches throughout Indiana. We receive funding from over 70 sources, with the main grantor being federally funded. ILS provides free legal assistance to low-income residents. As far as accounting challenges go, providing customized reports by project, by location, and by funding source takes a ton of time.
Why were you looking to upgrade your accounting software?
The software we were using, Microsoft Dynamics SL (Solomon), was installed on a dedicated server in our office which had to be maintained and updated. When updates were made, the server was down for a period of time. In addition, the support contract we had was with an out of state vendor, and we were getting less and less attention from them.
The major motivator to make a change came from our funding sources – they were requiring more granular reports which our current software simply could not produce. From a reporting perspective, people would be assigned to a project, and we were accounting for their time using full time equivalency. Our major funders required us to clock the hours each employee spent on the various projects, and that was hard for us to do with what we had. If we were not able to provide good data to our funding sources, that could impact funding decisions for the next year.
During the collaborative discovery process, Leaf and Indiana Legal Services identified the following major pain points with their current accounting software:
- Lack of multi-location support
- Insufficient feature set creates inefficiencies in accounting operations
- Cost of keeping existing on-prem system operating
- Duplication within Chart of Accounts
- Inconsistencies in coding of data
The following software requirements were identified:
- Consistent and standard accounting practices
- Create efficiencies in operations
- Satisfy internal and external reporting requirements
- Minimize use of Excel
- Ability to scale with organizational growth
What other pain were you experiencing around your accounting department?
We had a separate reporting software called Microsoft FRx that was installed on only one computer in the office, and only one person knew how to run reports. Even though we were going through some organizational changes, we had a keen understanding of the need to have something better in our accounting department. We understood the benefits of moving to a cloud-based service, so our eyes were open to change.
We had to bring our accounting practices in line. As an example, we were distinguishing our various funding sources using several 4000 level revenue accounts – which made our chart of accounts enormous. Some funding sources had codes, some didn’t, plus we had a sub account for every location. We also had sub accounts for projects. There was very little consistency with what we were doing. This worked fine if a funding source only applied to single location, but as we grew, the same funding source would span multiple offices, quickly creating quite a bit of complexity.
What accounting software did you consider on your journey?
We started with our current Dynamics SL provider – they were trying to introduce us to their cloud solution, but they missed a couple appointments, and we were not thrilled with the level of customer service they offered. We also looked at MIP Fund Accounting.
How did you learn about Leaf?
We attended an Indiana CPA Society conference for nonprofits and met the Leaf staff working a booth at the conference. We asked some questions, got their business cards, and started researching the solutions they provided.
What motivated you towards Sage Intacct?
Leaf and Sage Intacct invited me to attend the Sage Intacct customer conference in Las Vegas. Even though I only attended for a day and a half, I was connected to a lot of other people who were using the product. They set me up with other nonprofit accounting professionals who understood what I needed. That made a huge difference in my decision.
How did the Leaf sales and onboarding process set you up for success with Sage Intacct?
We had a lot of information from Sage Intacct, plus I spoke to other users who gave me the confidence to make an educated decision and confirm that this was the right direction to take. Leaf was very patient with us; they took the time to do things right. And even though we were stretched thin in our accounting department, Leaf accommodated our busy schedules.
While I have never been through a software change like this before, the whole implementation process was explained to us way in advance, so we knew exactly what to expect. It’s scary to say we’re going to switch everything over and go to a whole new system. Leaf made us feel comfortable – we knew they’d be right by our side while we made this change, and they gave us confidence it would be done right. Leaf had us attend whiteboard sessions to discuss all the options and alternatives and we decided together what was best for us. We collaborated and found the best route to take to meet our needs.
How has your life changed since making this decision?
Our accounting processes are much more efficient now. I’m running monthly financial reports within 10 days of the end of the month – which was unheard of in the past when I was running reports 3 months behind if I was lucky.
I am now able to provide the reports that people want. I was simply not able to do that before. Since our grantors are all different, and our grant periods are different, we had to create reports based on different periods of time. In the past, I’d manually cobble those together to get what we needed for the reports that were required. Now, I can run a general ledger report and get what I need in minutes. That has made my life much easier and much less stressful.
Sage Intacct Dimensions has enabled us to clean up our accounting. We now further classify locations and projects to a certain funding source. For instance, I can run a report on all the projects coming out of the Indianapolis office that were funded by a grant from the United Way. I know it sounds like a simple thing to do, but we were not able to do that before. We enter the information in a simple way, and then extract it in a much more sophisticated way without having to jump through hoops to get meaningful reports.
What else has switching to Sage Intacct allowed you to do?
Several things! Our year-end practices used to be a nightmare due to our lack of consistency. Plus, with the multiple funding sources creating over 30 revenue accounts (typically we should have had only 3 or 4), our revenue and expenses were very difficult to track. Additionally, we manually tracked all our A/R on a spreadsheet. Now, when we invoice our grantors, an automatic entry is made in accounts receivable.
Changing to Sage Intacct has allowed us to clean up our accounting processes. We’re practicing much tighter controls and processes around accounting. We now have consistency in the way we do things.
How else has your world changed?
Quite frankly, I’m way less stressed. I arrive at the office without being behind on my work. I can now handle requests from my coworkers, and I’m probably a lot nicer person to be around! I’m confident I can get my job done during the day without unfinished work hanging over me. I didn’t have that level of comfort before, so this software has literally changed my life.
Leaf Software Solutions Can Help You, Too
Ready to find out how Leaf can help you navigate through business change? Please schedule an appointment here. Our consultative approach ensures you’re getting much more than software. We’ll work alongside you as a true business partner.