Like most nonprofits, Samaritan House works within a tight budget. The organization strives to commit the vast majority of its limited resources into providing “safety net” services such as food, clothing, shelter and healthcare to as many as 7,000 low-income people in San Mateo County, California.

A mission-first focus means that nonprofits often make do with entry-level software. Yet limitations in those applications can mean manual work and guesswork decisions that drive up cost and detract from social impact.

That challenge was compounded for Samaritan House and its five-person accounting team as the nonprofit serves as a fiscal agent for eight other agencies. Needing better efficiency and visibility, Samaritan House sized up accounting software from Blackbaud Financial Edge, Serenic, FUND E-Z, and Sage Intacct to upgrade from QuickBooks and Excel.

“Nonprofit organizations don’t always get the latest technology, or we get it last,” Samaritan House CFO Jolie Bou says in a Sage Intacct customer success video. “Sage Intacct was really the only one investing in developing that sector of the market. The solution is really geared toward the needs of the nonprofit world.”

Valuable Time Savings

Samaritan House selected Sage Intacct in July 2015 and worked with JMT Consulting, a Sage Intacct Premier Partner, to complete the implementation. Over the past three years, Samaritan House has seen transformative benefits in both time savings and insights that help it better fulfill its mission.

Payroll is one example. Previously, running payroll took 1½ days; now it’s complete in three hours with Sage Intacct. Payroll accuracy is also improved, while staff has more time to devote to more value-added tasks.

Samaritan House is also much more efficient in audit processes. Auditors can log in to Sage Intacct and select the information they need, sparing the accounting team from several days of manually pulling files. Plus, staff is avoiding many days of putting together an audit-ready financial report based on cumbersome data exports from QuickBooks to Excel.

“We’re now able to get our financial reports out of the box exactly as we need them, in nonprofit format, and that probably saves at least a week and a half of time,” Bou said. “Overall, Sage Intacct is letting us do more analytical work that we didn’t have time for before.”

Flexible Reporting, Informed Decisions

It’s not just the accounting team that’s reaping the rewards of Samaritan House’s switch to Sage Intacct. Dashboards enable managers and other staff to easily access information on demand, rather than waiting for accounting to produce reports.

“They can go in and get the information themselves on a regular basis,” Bou said. “They can monitor their budgets, they can drill down, they can see what's going on. They’re asking more questions about the data they see, and it’s creating conversations that are way more timely than after-the-fact.”

That’s leading to better programmatic decisions, stronger budget visibility and controls, and more effective management of funds for eight partner agencies. Real-time data through Sage Intacct has been a “huge lifesaver” in preventing spending overruns for the partner nonprofits and Samaritan House itself.

“We lived with QuickBooks for a long time and struggled with formatting and spreadsheets,” Bou said. “The flexibility of reporting in Sage Intacct and being able to get any information the way you want it has really been amazing for us.”

Learn more about Samaritan House’s transformation in the customer success video.