For our latest Intacct Industry Insights post we spoke with Jacqueline Tiso, CEO and Founder, of JMT Consulting Group. JMT focuses on back office automation systems, delivering finance, development, and productivity solutions that many nonprofit organizations require. Founded 23 years ago, JMT Consulting empowers its clients to meet their goals of sustainability and mission effectiveness.
Jacki uses her industry experience to select the right solution for every non-profit organization that relies on JMT and provides them with a custom-fit service. As a frequent speaker on financial management and Cloud (SaaS) technology, Jacki is regularly called upon for her expertise by the media and as a conference speaker. We had the opportunity to cover a multitude of topics with Jacki, including nonprofit organizations shifting to cloud-based systems, the state of the cloud financials market today, and what may be the next big technology breakthrough for the nonprofit space.
INTACCT: You founded JMT Consulting over two decades ago; in your experience, what have been the biggest changes in how NFP’s have utilized technology?
JACKI TISO: The move to the cloud has absolutely been the biggest game changer for our clients. Historically, nonprofits were typically 5-7 years behind in their technology compared to for-profit firms, simply because they couldn't afford the IT infrastructure and solutions that they needed. Cloud solutions have totally changed that and are the great equalizer. For the first time, our clients can afford the system they need with the functionality they need. This is because they don't have to invest in servers, operating systems, and all the other overhead associated with that.
INTACCT: In the cloud financials market, what are some challenges for adoption right now amongst nonprofit organizations? How do you work with them to overcome these obstacles?
JT: The biggest challenge is planning for their technology strategy, whether it is cloud, hosted, or on-premises. For many nonprofits, technology is the last item on the list when it comes to planning. Often their planning is limited to some dollars allocated in their budget based on historical costs, so there is no plan around long-term technology direction. In working with clients, we help them evaluate where their technology is today, what their needs are, what their long-term goals are, and what systems and solutions are needed to meet those goals. And of course, looking at total ongoing cost to the organization is huge.
INTACCT: Could you describe some of the top benefits your clients have seen using cloud technology? How are these specifically important to the nonprofit organizations that JMT works with?
JT: The biggest benefit for our clients has been their ability to automate processes—getting out of their spreadsheet nightmares, eliminating redundant data entry, and shortening their month-end processes. All of which has improved visibility into their operations. In addition, users love being able to now work with current technology. Outside of their offices, they are used to using today's technologies such as online banking, Facebook, and Google—but not at work. Cloud financials have now changed all that.
INTACCT: What do you view as the next big breakthrough for how nonprofits utilize technology?
JT: As nonprofits move more and more into the cloud, I see being able to have real-time visibility into key indicators to an organization's mission as being the future. This means not just financial dollar information, but real-time operational information side-by-side with those dollars. Imagine a program manager having a dashboard that has real-time information on the number of meals served, what days, type of meal, location served, etc. Their ability to manage their program and make strategic program decisions for the limited budget dollars available to them would be significantly improved.
INTACCT: JMT has its annual Innovate 2014 this week; what were your goals when you started this event and how does it help your clients?
JT: Our first Innovate event was in 2005 and it has been a favorite conference for our clients ever since. We only work with nonprofits, so one of our main goals has been to provide an opportunity for our clients to get valuable training on the products they use in the most cost effective way. We also wanted to provide a single source for nonprofits to be able to see what current technologies are available, as well as changes and trends that are happening in the nonprofit space. And of course, my personal goal is for our clients to have fun while they are learning and networking.
INTACCT: How about a few fun questions so people can get to know you a little better…
What’s your favorite fun thing to do on a night out?
JT: I love going to the movies, so it would be dinner and a movie. For me there is nothing like seeing something on the big screen, while enjoying movie theater popcorn. My husband and I try to have a weekly date night and I always tease him about what a cheap date I am.
What’s a must-see restaurant for those visiting NY?
JT: Max Brenner. I am a chocolate fanatic and this is a great place that has a nice menu and fills my chocolate addiction—plus its lots of fun.
If you had an open ended ticket, all expenses paid vacation, where would you visit?
JT: Africa. It is such a beautiful continent and one whose beauty is being challenged every day by the same environmental issues many countries face such as pollution, deforestation, over-population, etc. And having my entire family with me on that trip would be a dream come true.
Have additional questions for Jacki? Feel free to post them in the comments section and we’ll track down her responses. To find out more about JMT Consulting, please visit their website. You can also connect with Jacki on LinkedIn.