Nonprofit Foundation Transforms Processes with Grant Management Integration to Microsoft Dynamics GP

The Russell Sage Foundation
Customer: The Russell Sage Foundation
Website: www.russellsage.org
Location: New York, NY
Industry: Nonprofit

Customer Profile

The Russell Sage Foundation is the principal American foundation devoted exclusively to research in the social sciences. It is a grant-making institution, research center and publisher.

Download  Nonprofit Foundation Transforms Processes with Grant Management Integration to Microsoft Dynamics GP– The Russell Sage Foundation

“It took two days each month to enter and re-enter payments in two systems. Now it takes just five minutes.”  Nora Mitnick, Senior Grants Operations Manager

The Challenge:

The Russell Sage Foundation, the principal American foundation devoted exclusively to research in the social sciences, has 35 people on staff and rewards approximately 100 grants and 20 fellowships per year. Although the foundation is over 100 years old, it runs modern grants management and financial systems. But until recently those systems did not talk to each other.

For several years the inability of the two systems to share data required a tremendous amount of double entry, wasted paper, and difficulty with reporting. Limitations in the systems meant that every department was speaking a different language, often using their own numbering sequence and terms for the same projects. It was difficult to look at information across departments and see how much money had been spent.

The Solution:

When the foundation decided to replace their grants management system, one of the main requirements was the ability to work more efficiently with their existing Microsoft Dynamics GP system. They knew that the ability to import/export payment data from the grants management system to the finance system would impact the productivity of the entire organization. It was time to develop a program hierarchy that could be matched to the general ledger chart of accounts.

Once a new system was selected, Russell Sage worked with their Dynamics GP partner, CAL Business Solutions to facilitate the import/export between the two systems.

Nora Mitnick, Senior Grants Operations Manager and Will Paoletti, Accounting Manager, explain the benefits:

The Benefits:

“Once we selected a grants management system and developed our program hierarchy we took that to the CAL Business Solutions team. We have the accounting experience, but creating a custom integration and an important import/export process was something that we could never have done in-house. CAL spent two days here on site with us, really learning our processes, listening to all of our pain points and figuring out how we could do what we wanted to do in Dynamics GP. They made a complex integration possible with a positive attitude.”

System Integration

“In the past, one of the accountants would print out all of the payments that we’d made, hand write the check numbers, and then walk it over to me in the grants management office. It took 2 days each month to enter and re-enter the payments in both systems. Now it takes just five minutes.

I also used to spend so much time printing out documents for the finance team, and now they can log in to the system and view them. It saves us a lot of time and a lot of paper. The import/export also reduces the risk of manual error.”

Analytical Accounting

“Using Analytical Accounting with Dynamics GP gave us so much more flexibility to improve and better utilize the existing Chart of Accounts. Now, everyone is using the same terminology and data for all of our grants. Analytical Accounting also helps the finance department keep tighter control over the chart of accounts by eliminating the need for additional ledger accounts that may be utilized on a short term basis. This also has an added benefit of retaining and reviewing financial records. I think sharing vocabulary, sharing information across departments, and being able to better report on data are extremely useful for the entire foundation.”

Management Reporter

“The transition from the previous financial statement platform to Management Reporter has given the finance team a better ability to run financial statements on the fly, access more useful analytical tools and is a much easier way to share and communicate information across the foundation. We are able to more easily create ad hoc or specialized reports, drill down to entry-level records, answer questions and resolve any problems.”

Reconciliation and Audit Trails

“It used to take us a long time to reconcile payments from the grants management system to the accounting system, and now, with the import/export, I am confident that the reconciliation will be much quicker. Plus, we now have an electronic audit trail of approvals in the grants management system.”

How CAL Helped

“Our CAL consultants now understand exactly how we work. They were there for us during every step of the way and the knowledge built from this project will continue to be helpful going forward.

I would definitely recommend Dynamics GP and CAL Business Solutions to other companies. The CAL team members we worked with were very creative thinkers, and they are, I think, real experts. We couldn’t have done it without them. I’m very grateful for them.”

The Russell Sage Foundation has transformed their business processes to save time and improve communication throughout the organization.

“Our CAL consultants now understand exactly how we work. They were there for us every step of the way, and the knowledge built from this project will continue to be helpful going forward” Nora Mitnick, Senior Grants Operations Manager