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The monthly close is a dreaded task for many finance teams….what should take days often drags on for more than a week or two, especially for multi-entity businesses. A recent survey by Sage Intacct, providers of best-in-class financial management software, found that only 26% of respondents complete their close in less than one week—a length of time considered to be a best practice. However, 40% close in six to 15 days, and another 29% take 16 to 19 days.

The “Close the Books” survey from Sage Intacct also revealed some common frustrations when it comes to closing the books:

  • Time-consuming, manual processes
  • Short turnaround time
  • Lack of systems integration
  • Inadequate reporting
  • Manual entity consolidations

These all-too-familiar stresses may be impeding you from doing real, value-added work. Instead of manually shifting data around from system to system and struggling with outdated information, you and your team want to stay focused on strategic activities—such as analyzing data to forecast the future of your business and plan for growth.  

What if you could cut your close by 25% or more simply by moving to the cloud?

If your close is taking too long or you’re adding entities, it may be time to re-evaluate how you’re using your current solution or investigate alternatives. According to the survey, “The greatest influence for the length of the close was the solution that was used.”

Shifting their financials from an on-premise solution to the cloud has transformed the close for many businesses. The survey revealed that high availability, better reporting, and lower cost were the top reasons for moving to the cloud. Respondents wanted an instant, highly automated close that delivered faster visibility and insights.

The most satisfying parts of the close among respondents included:

  • Reconciling out-of-balance accounts
  • Greater efficiency, low stress
  • Better systems integration shortening the time to close
  • Real-time reports that track the right metrics and provide instant insights
  • Automated global consolidations

According to the survey, “Respondents on modern cloud solutions tended to be  more satisfied with reporting and automation than those with legacy or on-premise solutions.” And it’s no wonder…Sage Intacct users have cut their monthly close by 25%, 50%, even by two-thirds.

Image from Sage Intacct Close the Books Survey Cut your time to success with Dean Dorton and Sage Intacct

So that’s it—the best advice you’ll ever get for a faster monthly close is using a cloud-based financial management system such as Sage Intacct. Since cloud solutions typically deploy more rapidly than on-premise ones, you can enjoy the benefits of a faster close sooner than you may have thought possible: balanced accounts, automation, better efficiency, and real-time insights to the people that matter. 

Don’t waste another precious second on a clunky, slow monthly close. The accounting technology experts at Dean Dorton can help you transition your financials to the cloud today so be sure to contact us today!

The post The Best Advice You Can Hear to Cut Your Monthly Close appeared first on Massey Consulting.

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This blog is the June Edition of our CFO Minute: A Sage Intacct ERP Series.

THE DAY THE DASHBOARDS STOOD STILL— Integrations between systems are important- but they become even more crucial if your day-to-day tasks include taking on the looming responsibility of manually rekeying in data from system to system. Sound familiar?

When modern businesses face rapid growth, their reporting data becomes more complex. Their workload becomes more intense, and they suddenly need more answers at a faster rate.

JuneCFOMinute: LGFCU - YouTube

Growing companies need accurate data to keep their teams working in the present. But with so many options available, it can be difficult to prioritize what they need to stay on top of their company’s performance. Here are key highlights of what Sage Intacct’s innovative dashboards are able to bring to the table for businesses of any industry, of any size:

Real-time Visibility

Businesses, regardless if they are big or small, multi-entity or one location, need visibility – but not the visibility that means waiting weeks for answers. They need visibility into their metrics right now.

With the cloud, it’s possible for every company out there to see their data in real time, to drive their business at the speed of change, no matter how simple or complex.

Fast and Accurate Reporting

Growing companies need accurate reporting without having to re-enter data, write scripts or export their reports into Excel. They need to quickly gain insight into their performance.

They don’t need a system where they have to wait until the month-end to make critical company decisions with aging data. With the cloud, they don’t have to.

Sage Intacct, a cloud-based best-in-class financial management solution, has the tools that growing companies need to scale growth:

– Real-time Visibility on One Screen: Sage Intacct’s dashboard feature allows you to quickly drag and drop options to customize your view into your company’s performance. With graphs, charts and customized lists, the finance team and executives are able to sharpen their decision-making. Dashboards showcase only the metrics you need right now, with the option to change those metrics as your business changes in the future.

– Integrations: Unlike Netsuite and some legacy programs, Sage Intacct integrates well with many other best-in-class software solutions like SalesForce, ADP, and Paychex. This means your company can focus on growth –  not on trying to modify the way you do everything to accommodate your new software.

-Strong reporting customizations: With over 150 reporting options to start, teams can generate and deliver the latest financial and operations data more quickly and accurately, via email or the cloud, with more relevant data, and no waiting until month-end to see into your company’s progress.

Sage Intacct’s unique tagging feature allows you and your teams the capability to drill all the way down to the source transaction level for a more comprehensive view into your performance.

Sage Intacct’s Dashboards offers what growing companies need to work in the present and light a fire under growth.

Let Dean Dorton help you choose a financial management system that fits you, to help scale your teams and your business.

The post CFO Minute: The Day the Dashboards Stood Still appeared first on Massey Consulting.

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RALEIGH, NC, UNITED STATES, June 20, 2019 /EINPresswire.com/ — Dean Dorton, a full-service CPA and business consulting firm, has been named to the Bob Scott’s Top 100 VARs for 2019. The Top 100 resellers are chosen from organizations nation-wide that specialize in the sale and implementation of Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) and accounting software.

“We want to congratulate this year’s class of Bob Scott’s Top 100 VARs,” said Bob Scott, executive editor of ERP Global Insights (formerly known as Bob Scott’s Insights). “This selection represents recognition of leaders in this important field.”

The selection of the Top 100 VARS is based on annual revenue generated by each reseller. A special report that includes names of the organizations selected for this year’s Top 100 list, ranked by revenue, is downloadable at http://www.erpglobalinsights.com.

“It is an honor to be selected as a Top 100 VAR, as it reflects the knowledge and dedication of our ERP software consulting team and the firm as a whole,” says Philip Massey, Director of Software Consulting at Dean Dorton.

Dean Dorton specializes in both Sage Intacct cloud-based financial management software, along with MS Dynamics Great Plains accounting software. The Dean Dorton ERP team works with businesses every step of the way, from assessment and selection through the implementation of the software and continuous support.

“Our goal is to help clients strategize with their business plans in mind to ensure they select the best financial management software for their organization, both in regards to what they need now and what they are looking for in the future. We strive to provide our customers with a prestige solution that will scale with their company’s growth, accelerate their ROI, and guide them to overall proper financial accuracy.”

The firm has been a Sage Intacct Premier Partner since 2014 and was named Sage Intacct Partner of the Month in March 2019.

About Dean Dorton

Dean Dorton Allen Ford, PLLC (Dean Dorton) provides an integrated suite of audit, tax, business management, consulting and technology solutions to companies throughout the region, nationally, and internationally. The firm helps clients strategize, adapt, and change in every stage of business, from startup to growth and proper succession planning. Dean Dorton emphasizes smart technology, leading a cloud revolution of financial, operational, and compliance tools that are transforming the way companies do business.
Dean Dorton provides an array of full-service technology solutions to businesses of all sizes – delivering excellence in accounting technology from planning and management through implementation and continued support and improvement including software evaluation, selection, and systems integration. As a Sage Intacct Business Partner, Dean Dorton has the proven ability to provide sophisticated, value-added Sage Intacct solutions that deliver a high-quality accounting software experience for clients, including unique solutions for nonprofit organizations. For more information visit: www.deandortontech.com

About Bob Scott

Bob Scott has been informing and entertaining the mid-market financial software community via his email newsletters for 19 years. He has covered this market for nearly 28 years through print and electronic publications, first as technology editor of Accounting Today and then as the Editor of Accounting Technology from 1997 through 2009. He has covered the traditional tax and accounting profession during the same time and has continued to address that market.

Contact us:

Jelena Subasic
Dean Dorton
+1 919-508-6063

The post Dean Dorton Named to Bob Scott’s Top 100 VARS for 2019 appeared first on Massey Consulting.

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Access to Sage Intacct’s new Action User Interface has been available for a long time now and customers who have already been working inside the Action UI are ahead of the learning curve.

So far, the choice to use the new Action UI has been optional. However, on July 12th, Sage Intacct will be switching their entire customer base to the new Action UI. This means that individuals can still go back to the old UI (which we don’t recommend!), but when they log into their Sage Intacct instance, they will automatically see the new interface instead of the old one.

Why Is it Important to Make the Switch?

It is essential to know that at some point in the future, the new Action UI will be a permanent switch, so if you haven’t familiarized yourself with the new interface’s capabilities, now is the time. Additionally, some of the latest Sage Intacct innovations and features are only available in the Action UI.

Here’s how you can make the switch:

What Users Can Expect with the New Action UI

Once the old user interface is terminated completely (although there is still no set date yet), all users will be on the new Action UI. The Action UI was created by Sage Intacct for stronger efficiency, personalization, and innovation that will drive productivity and growth across your organization. Users can expect easier accessibility to features and modules and seamless communication and drill-down within the platform.

Improved workflows, a new look and feel, organized menus, entity pickers (and entity color pickers) are just a few of the advanced changes customers can expect to see.

Please keep in mind that that is enhanced functionality that you can take advantage of ONLY IN ACTION UI:

Pay Bills AP Workbench offers features such as granular bill filtering, including creating and saving customized filters; an outbox that acts as a holding area for draft payment requests that you aren’t quite ready to process; easy, intuitive credit application; and much more.
Interactive Custom Report Writer Create custom reports based on your company information, export that information for use in other applications, and create executive reports that can be output as documents or added to dashboards. You can see your data in real time as you create and make changes to the report.
Global Consolidations Perform global consolidations across all wholly-owned entities and locations that use the same chart of accounts structure. View consolidated reports and get real-time totals for key performance indicators (KPIs), by location or entity, in their operating currencies.
Bank Reconciliation In addition to easy importing and matching, get features such as separation of duties, column sorting, granular filtering of transactions, including filtering for voided and reversed transactions, and checks within a certain check number range or date range.
Enhanced Reports Menu You can find everything you need to create or build a report in the Reports menu, including all dimensions. In addition, you can go directly from the Reports menu to Reports Center.
Viewing Reports When viewing any report, you can select the specific density that meets your readability needs: CompactModerate, or Relaxed.
In the Reports Center, you can open up any number of reports. Each report appears in a separate browser window, making report comparison a slam dunk.
Dean Dorton Can Help

Overall, we encourage Sage Intacct users to start moving forward with learning the ins and outs of the Action UI- before it’s too late. For more information on any of the details of Sage Intacct’s new Action UI, visit “Transition to Sage Intacct Action” or “Moving to Sage Intacct UI”.

If you have any other questions about the new interface or would like to learn more about Sage Intacct and Dean Dorton, please reach out to us!

*Image source: Easier Accounting

The post Top Hacks for Sage Intacct’s New Action UI appeared first on Massey Consulting.

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Nonprofit organizations depend on charitable donations to fulfill their mission and achieve maximum impact. That’s great news, since charitable giving in the United States is at an all-time high, surpassing $400 billion in 2017. In the past decade, giving increased by nearly $100 billion. What’s more, contributions increased across all types of givers, especially from individuals, foundations, and corporations. And eight out of nine nonprofit subsectors benefited from increased giving, with religion, education, and human services receiving the most charitable dollars.  

How tax laws are affecting your nonprofit

There’s more good news for nonprofits. Tax reform has significantly reduced tax liability for corporations—from 35% to 21%—which will allow them to become even more profitable. Nonprofits will benefit from this in a number of ways, including more earnings to earmark for charitable giving programs. (Charitable dollars receive a 50% write-off on corporate taxes.) Both individual and corporate tax cuts, along with a strong economy, should increase the levels of individual, corporate, and foundation giving.

What we’re discovering about external impacts

The National Development Institute recently surveyed major donors to determine why they give and how to better engage them. Interestingly, getting a tax write-off was not listed as a motivator. Donors give because they respect the mission, campaigns, and/or leaders of a nonprofit organization. They believe in the good that that charity is doing in the world. It’s clear that nonprofit organizations must focus on giving greater visibility to their story and results, so donors can share in the success of their mission.      

As we mentioned, a strong economy supports giving, and the U.S. economy is doing very well. As long as the economy remains robust, giving from both individuals and corporations should continue to grow. In addition, high stock market levels support increased giving from foundations. The current economic environment offers an excellent opportunity to sustain—and even strengthen—revenue.

Next steps: How can nonprofits sustain and strengthen revenue growth?

To illustrate your organization’s story and engage donors, you’ll need to know exactly what your nonprofit spends, how it performs, and where it makes the greatest impact. A modern fund accounting solution from Sage Intacct automatically tags and tracks your data by key dimensions—giving you instant visibility and insights so you can proactively manage performance, locations, programs, members, and funds. The automation of processes helps you strengthen stewardship, and added efficiency frees up resources for strategic initiatives.

Moving to Sage Intacct will strengthen your story and make your organization’s impact more visible. With modern fund accounting from Sage Intacct, you can:

  • Reduce the month-end close cycle by 50%
  • Reduce hours/days spent manually reporting
  • Improve cash flow with automated grant management and billing
  • Gain instant visibility into the key performance metrics of your organization
  • Show donors the impact of their gifts
Seize the day with Dean Dorton and Sage Intacct

With a strong economy and charitable giving at an all-time high, now is the time to sustain revenue and grow funding. To tell your organization’s story to donors effectively, you must show how the dollars they give turn into results—whether that’s meals served, artists supported, or animals protected. A modern nonprofit financial management solution from Sage Intacct will help you measure and report on key metrics in real-time, thereby increasing visibility into stewardship and outcomes.

The post Charitable Giving: How Your Nonprofit Can Sustain and Strengthen Revenue appeared first on Massey Consulting.

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It’s a new era in accounting and finance for horse farms and equine operations. The cloud has created better financial management options for all types of industries, and cloud accounting software from Sage Intacct is ideal for farms, offering specific insights to monitor the performance of equine operations across multiple locations. In addition, cloud-connected systems—from expense management to payables—simplify business processes so employees can be productive. And cloud technology offers a scalable, reliable, secure, and cost-efficient platform on which to grow the business.

Here are just three reasons why equine managers and owners are moving their financials to the cloud:

1) High availability. The phrase always on applies to the equine industry. It’s a round-the-clock business, and today’s cloud financial management systems offer that anytime-anywhere access to data and systems that you and your employees need to get the job done. What’s more, automated backup and disaster recovery mean your farm will have less downtime and disruption. And as your business grows, Sage Intacct’s cloud-based architecture gives you the robust platform to branch out into new regions and activities quickly and easily.

2) Better reporting. The ability to track costs and profitability for each and every horse throughout their lifetime is essential for effective financial management of horse farms. Sage Intacct’s revolutionary general ledger design moves away from outdated account segments to dimension values, allowing simplified, accurate tracking of performance across business drivers, from individual horses to farms, funds, or any other entity. And regardless of the business complexity and geographic dispersion of your farm operations, Sage Intacct delivers immediate and accurate financial reports. Real-time, roll-up reporting gives you instant visibility into your operations from the consolidated and local perspective.

3) Lower cost and greater ROI. By eliminating upfront capital expenditures such as hardware and providing easier implementation, cloud financials offer a lower cost of entry than on-premises solutions. Ongoing costs are much lower, too, because you don’t have the burden of hardware and software maintenance and upgrades—nor do you have to pay a dedicated IT staff to manage it all. The cloud provider assumes all the responsibility of IT infrastructure maintenance, upgrades, security, and more. A lower total cost of ownership (TCO) and a higher ROI mean more resources to invest back into your business.

Dean Dorton / Sage Intacct Testimonial: Stonestreet Farm - YouTube

Dean Dorton: Your partner for the new age of horse farm and equine operations

At Dean Dorton, we share your passion for the equine industry, and we understand the business of the horse–not just its accounting and tax rules. We also have the expertise to help you put the power of cloud financial management software to work for your unique business.

*Image source: Cowgirl Magazine

The post 3 Reasons Why the Equine Industry Is Choosing Cloud Accounting appeared first on Massey Consulting.

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This blog is the May Edition of our CFO Minute: A Sage Intacct ERP Series.

CLOUD ACCOUNTING FOR THE HEALTHCARE ABYSS– Today’s healthcare organizations—from large health systems to small physician practices—are under pressure to achieve growth amid tightening regulations, consolidations, and other business complexities. It’s essential to monitor performance in real-time and keep financial processes running smoothly across multiple locations.

A challenge common to all healthcare CFOs or other finance decision-makers is “trying to gain visibility and transparency of information across the organization in order to better manage costs and link cost to outcomes and industry performance—without negatively impacting revenue and growth,” according to an industry whitepaper.

To manage costs without sacrificing growth, healthcare organizations must find a way to cost-effectively scale their IT systems. Many healthcare organizations are looking to the cloud for answers.

For one thing, the cloud is highly flexible, so healthcare “providers can scale resources up or down as needed,” writes Nick Ismail, editor of InformationAge. “The cloud provides real-time and remote access to applications and resources in a way that’s easy to use. Additionally, it reduces the total deployment time of rolling out new applications.”

May CFO Minute - YouTube

Easing the pain of financial management with cloud accounting

Financial management is better in the cloud. Sage Intacct, the industry’s only HIPAA-compliant cloud accounting solution enables finance teams to automate for greater efficiency while providing the visibility needed to make operational improvements. With Sage Intacct, you can:

  • Safeguard your protected health information (PHI). You can use Sage Intacct’s financial solutions with confidence, knowing that proper tools, security, and agreements are in place to support HIPAA compliance. The software’s advanced audit trail allows you to monitor and audit PHI to support HIPAA requirements. What’s more, Sword and Shield, a leading national cybersecurity firm, has certified Sage Intacct as HIPAA/HITECH-compliant, which means your data has the appropriate security safeguards. Sage Intacct also enters into business associate agreements with eligible organizations.
  • Automate key finance and accounting processes, including procure-to-pay and the monthly close. Multi-location organizations can centralize payables and eliminate manual processes for payments and inter-company accounting. WIth Sage Intacct, you can save time, improve accuracy, and accommodate growth without adding staff.
  • Get speed and agility for your organization. With the ability to create consolidated financial statements or summary roll-up reports at any time, not just month-end, you can quickly adjust strategies and operations to respond to performance trends. And with browser-based access, your remote managers can access approvals and conduct transactions anywhere, anytime.
  • See your operations clearly. Sage Intacct allows you to track your financials as well as operational metrics and ratios, like available capacity and revenue per treatment. You can quickly compare financial performance and ratios across your locations and share best practices to improve performance.
Dean Dorton, your cloud financial specialists

The choice is clear—cloud accounting from Sage Intacct is the financial management system that healthcare organizations need to grow in a rapidly changing industry. Rely on the accounting technology experts at Dean Dorton to assist your every step, from system selection to implementation and ongoing support. Contact us for a free consultation today.

The post CFO Minute: Cloud Accounting for the Healthcare Abyss appeared first on Massey Consulting.

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Each quarter, Sage Intacct conducts a quarterly release update. The second release of 2019 came out on Friday, May 17th. There were two main themes emphasized in this release, including saving time and reducing risk.

Sage Intacct Release 2 Highlights and Overview - YouTube

Check out some of the minor and major changes that are featured in this new release:

Accounts Payable: Filter, then pay

Administration: More control over content security policy

Consolidations: Update to historical rate calculation

Projects: Transaction rules filter

Reporting and Insights: More out-of-box dashboards

Workflow: Post sales and purchase transactions to user-defined books


  • Categorize contracts with new contract types
  • Estimated variable consideration for Time and Materials projects
  • In this release, we provide the infrastructure to defer estimated time-based revenue for Time and Materials.
  • Bill projects at percent complete threshold levels


  • Manage seasonal and variable demand forecasts
  • Demand forecast by fluctuating values
  • Replenish based on forecast, current stock, and actual orders
  • More visibility into actual landed cost distribution details

Bank Reconciliation and Cash Flow Management

  • Stronger segregation of duties
  • Separate permissions for reconcile, review & finalize, reporting
  • Enhanced match handling
  • Manually select and match voided and reversed transactions within Intacct when reconciling via import.

Purchasing and Order Entry

  • Additional GL Posting to User-Defined Books
  • Purchasing: Track spend commitments and automate reversal when booked to AP
  • Order Entry: Track expected incoming funds and automate reversal when booked to AR
  • Visibility into net commitments for spend management

Dynamic Allocations

  • Automatically “true up” post-period changes to eliminate blind spots
  • Simultaneous reversal and correction to eliminate blind spots
  • Recurring allocations- “self-driving allocations”
  • Expanded basis options
  • Complete automation- shift from hours of manual calculation to oversight and analysis

Action UI

  • Enables greater productivity and ease of use
  • Entity picker
  • More company preferences, including entity colors and menu navigation updates

The post Sage Intacct 2019 Release 2 Highlights appeared first on Massey Consulting.

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The modern CFO has to balance ever-increasing business complexity with the need for speed. Tracking multiple entities with multiple regulatory frameworks and multiple currencies make the job of finance leaders complicated enough. Add in the factor of constant change, and suddenly a periodic financial check-in is not enough. You need the agility to make decisions on demand—and those decisions have to be based on real-time financial truth.

Given today’s complicated business climate, is your accounting software helping you grow and compete—or is it holding you back? As you consider a new financial management system, one primary factor stands out: which option will provide the highest ROI for your organization?

Read on for a high-level comparison of the leading systems in the marketplace.

Sage Intacct

An award-winning, cloud-based financial management system, Sage Intacct has a proven track record of customer success and has earned significant industry recognition. Sage Intacct:

Considering QuickBooks?

QuickBooks works great—to a point. Sooner or later, however, most growing businesses run into the frustrating limitations of QuickBooks, including:

– Hours inside of Excel and manipulating spreadsheets

– Time-consuming consolidations

– Slow, unreliable, and unsecure reporting

– Complex charts of accounts

– Slow, error-prone manual processes

The fact is, QuickBooks simply isn’t designed to provide the robust financial-management and accounting functions your business needs.

Considering Oracle NetSuite?

Oracle NetSuite offers “one unified business management suite, encompassing ERP/Financials, CRM and e-commerce” with solutions for every business size, every industry, and every role. In today’s complex business world, one size does not fit all. When Oracle announced its intended acquisition of NetSuite back in 2016, Rob Reid, MD/EVP of Sage Intacct wrote, “For the long term, Oracle’s strategic focus is on delivering breadth to large enterprise customers; meaning NetSuite technology is going to drift even further from what mid-market companies need: business solutions that are easy to use but handle the complexity and dynamic nature of your business, without requiring huge IT resources or expensive consultants” (emphasis added).

Microsoft Dynamics GP (Great Plains Software)

This Microsoft solution for small to midsize business includes applications for financial management and accounting, inventory, sales/service, human resources/payroll, and business intelligence and reporting. Users often run into roadblocks with the software, however. They quickly find that best-in-class software such as Sage Intacct that delivers what Microsoft Dynamics GP can’t:

  • Access to integrated management and financial reports across their business entities–in minutes not days–to grow and drive their businesses.
  • Automation and controls around billing, accounting, and reporting needed to reduce errors, stay audit-ready and scale the business.
Thinking About FinancialForce?

FinancialForce calls itself the “the only customer-centric ERP to streamline, simplify, and automate your financial operations on the Salesforce Platform.” Yet a comparison between FinancialForce and Sage Intacct on TrustRadius reveals some issues with FinancialForce.

Once verified user wrote, “There are many lacking features so if your company is looking to grow, FinancialForce will not be able to scale along with your company. If your company is already past its growth stage and there aren’t too many transactions to record, then FinancialForce may be suited for your company.”

Dean Dorton—the easiest choice you’ll ever make

Choosing a financial management system is a foundational decision, an investment that requires careful consideration and planning. Fortunately, there’s one decision that’s a no-brainer—relying on the accounting technology experts at Dean Dorton to help you evaluate and implement the best solution that fits your business.

Contact us for a free consultation today!

The post What Competitors Don’t Want You to Know About Sage Intacct appeared first on Massey Consulting.

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By Jim Norton, Senior Technology Consultant at Dean Dorton

“It’s not that hard.”

“It’s not so different from any other kind of accounting.”

“I’ve never worked in a nonprofit, but I have 20 years of accounting experience, so how hard can it be?”

Having dedicated much of my professional life and passion to specializing in the nonprofit space, these attitudes were prevalent in more than a few cases. Each time is as frustrating as the next. Accounting and Finance leaders in nonprofit organizations face these comments and attitudes every day from all different stakeholders. I’m here to remind you of something important: you are not crazy.

The new complexities for nonprofits have just begun

The financial requirements of a nonprofit organization have arguably never been more complex than they are today, and the future of the industry is only headed toward increasingly rigorous and granular reporting requirements. Already, FASB issued Accounting Standards Update 2016-14, 2018-08, and ASC 606. Surprise – all these standards can and probably DO impact your nonprofit organization!

It’s feasible that many of you in the nonprofit world have just wrapped up or are about to wrap up your first fiscal year in which these new standards apply. These are the first major changes to nonprofit accounting standards in decades and they have transformed the way we have to report our financials.

Transactions that occur within a nonprofit entity cover such a wide range that these new standards could apply to different transactions all during the same period. Where else but in a nonprofit environment will you constantly have to ask yourself “is this a contribution transaction or an exchange transaction?” Where else but in a nonprofit will you find yourself having to break up and track the restrictions on funds that have been given to you on the face of your statement of activities?

There are new nonprofit accounting standards– What?!

Many people think of nonprofits strictly in the “traditional” sense – organizations that receive contributions and grants. These types of organizations do represent a good chunk of the nonprofit community and their challenges have certainly increased with the new accounting standards. You know those grants you’ve been reporting on your Balance Sheet as deferred revenue for the past umpteen years?

Under the new standards, it’s possible that those same grants are now treated as if they are essentially contributions and you have to account for them on the statement of activities with the release of restriction as appropriate. How about the tickets you’ve been selling to your annual gala? Have you been appropriately bifurcating your revenue to separately report the contribution portion from the portion which represents an exchange transaction?

However, nonprofit financial activities don’t stop in contribution and grant land. What about Chambers of Commerce and Membership Associations? These are nonprofits, too! They may or may not receive contributions, but they charge dues. Many of these organizations also sell their members a “package” for the entire year, made up of various event sponsorships and other benefits. Under ASC 606, that’s what we call a “Multi-Element Arrangement.” There are complex rules about how we have to account for the revenue (and the expenses associated with that revenue) in those packages.

You’ve read this right – it means that as a Nonprofit Finance and Accounting professional, you need to know multiple sets of accounting standards, determine which set applies to your transaction, and then apply it correctly! Does it still sound “not so hard” or “not so different from any other kind of accounting?”

So what’s next?

You need a solution that brings a greater level of automation to handling a diverse portfolio of transaction types under the same roof. It’s not good enough anymore to slam all your transactions into an accounting system and then export them out to manipulate and calculate. Think about the package from the Chamber of Commerce/Membership Association example. What if you had hundreds or thousands of members? What if your business development people did what business development people so often do and custom negotiated/discounted every package they sold? What if your business development people are also really good and upsell their members throughout the year on additional sponsorship or benefit opportunities?

I worked as a CFO in a large regional Chamber of Commerce. This really happens all the time. You scramble to find a sponsor for an unfilled slot and your business development people are willing to beg, steal, borrow and discount to fill that slot. In comes a sale for a discounted event sponsorship, added onto a member’s already existing package. Now you need to recalculate your revenue allocation for the member’s entire package and record entries to reflect those changes in your financials.

Don’t forget, by the way, that all of your direct expenses associated with that sale must be capitalized and amortized so that expenses are reflected concurrent with their related revenues. The amount of work you would have to do to handle this manually and get it right is astounding; it could easily get into hundreds upon hundreds of hours.

A better way to lead your mission- say goodbye to the spreadsheets!

How do you, as a Nonprofit Accounting and Finance professional, break down and accomplish all the implicit reporting requirements triggered by these complexities? I bet the answer to that question has “Excel spreadsheet” written all over it. I understand that approach, but the fact of the matter is that with the increasingly complex reporting requirements, a flat and/or declining funding environment, and the constant push by people everywhere to be able to obtain and consume data faster, that answer no longer works to meet your needs without leading to team member burnout and/or increased risk of errors.

What if there was an accounting solution that handled all different kinds of nonprofit accounting transactions seamlessly? What if it automated the exact pain points I’ve described (from lived experience, by the way) and could significantly reduce or entirely eliminate your reliance on Excel spreadsheets to produce accurate, audit-ready financials?

More and more nonprofits are taking their finances to the cloud

That solution does exist, and it’s called Sage Intacct. This solution is a market leader in nonprofit, and for good reason. The Sage Intacct community is full of experts in the nonprofit community – people with real-world industry experience who understand the developments in the accounting standards. We’ve taken that expertise and used it to tailor our software to produce the reporting requirements that nonprofit organizations need. Having worked in several financial leadership roles in the nonprofit community, I wish I had this kind of power in some of my previous roles. I think about all the time – no exaggeration, probably 20-30 hours per month – that I spent building Excel calculations and priding myself on how much work I did to get month-end done and produce what I could have done in an hour or less with Intacct. Then I spent another 5-10 hours per month doing all kinds of expense allocations needed for different grants. How much more timely insight I could have provided if I’d had a solution that did all these calculations for me and automatically posted all the necessary entries to my financials. To take it a step further, all the logic and details behind each and every calculation in Sage Intacct are supported by drill-down and a fully transparent audit trail. That could have been another 15-20 hours of my time saved during the annual audit! Without diving into even further layers of what I could have automated, I’ve already identified up to 500 hours of top-level accounting/finance team that could have been freed up for higher value, more strategic initiatives. Meanwhile, these higher value, more strategic initiatives were the very things that suffered – financial and cash flow forecasting took the back seat because getting the financial statements out by the board meeting had a hot deadline.

What would you do with an extra 500 hours in your year? Maybe find a way to implement cost efficiencies that let you provide more services to your constituents with the grant funding you have. I was once able to help my Meals on Wheels program grow its service offering and contribution by in excess of 10% in a year, taking over service for and feeding homebound seniors in a whole new geographic area. Maybe work on implementing that tiered dues package structure that’s so hot and bringing massive benefits to everyone onboard in the Chamber/Association world right now. Organizations that can pull this off are seeing double-digit percentage revenue growth over the old, tired structure where everything is sold a la carte. This happened at the Chamber where I was CFO and our average new member sale jumped almost instantly.

What are the general takeaways from all this? There are a few:

  1. Nonprofit finance and accounting are NOT easy, nor is it straightforward, nor can proficiency in it be translated seamlessly from any other industry.
  2. Nonprofit finance and accounting professionals need to be intimately familiar with an ever increasing number of accounting standards.
  3. Your job as a nonprofit finance and accounting leader extends beyond closing the books; you also need to find time to deliver high value, strategic initiatives. How do you do that when all your time is caught up with other necessary but less strategic work (i.e. closing the books)? The answer is – you automate.
  4. Sage Intacct has automation for all the critical areas that a nonprofit needs to automate – from tracking and releasing restrictions on revenue, to handling and recognizing deferred revenue, to full compliance with ASC 606, to handling dynamic expense allocations, and a host of other features that we haven’t even scratched the surface on – the solution is built and ready to shine in the nonprofit space. With the level of automation you can achieve here, you may even surprise yourself at the value you can deliver and the force with which you can help propel meaningful, effective financial change and growth to your organization.

The post Stronger Financial Management Means Stronger Stewardship for Nonprofit Organizations appeared first on Massey Consulting.

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