Tim Childress is the CFO of Rare Inc, a nonprofit, environmental conservation company that is motivated to inspire change so people and the environment can thrive. Rare provides social behavior approaches to local communities so that they are able to change the way they react or interact with their local environment so that it benefits both the community and both the environment.
Tim recently shared with Wipfli/Brittenford why Rare, Inc. went looking for a new financial management solution, why the organization chose Intacct, and some of the immediate and long term benefits they see.
Wipfli/Brittenford: Can you set the stage of what was happening at Rare and why your organization was looking for a new cloud ERP solution like Intacct?
TC: For sure…A lot of exciting change is happening at Rare and the company has been growing year over year about 15 percent annually. Our financial system just was completely inadequate to keep up with that pace of growth. We were very paper-laden, experienced slow closes, and a lot of manual work in Excel. So that was the inspiration to get out and find something that could get us through a close quickly and provide us financial information a lot faster.
Wipfli/Brittenford: Can you share a bit about what you were looking for in a new financial management system?
TC: We were attracted to Intacct because it is cloud-based and we felt it would provide the functionality needed to help our small business. Rare is actually quite complex because we're international, and we found the dimensionality, the workflow, all of the automation that comes with Intacct, to be really the main drivers in terms of what we were looking for and what we felt we needed.
We considered cloud and on-premise solutions. Being a nonprofit, we are very resource constrained and I didn’t want to hire into my IT department. Also, since we're an international organization we needed access the system from all around the globe. That was a key determining factor for us; at that point the cloud was clearly the direction we wanted to go.
Wipfli/Brittenford: Once you decided to go with a cloud-based solution, what attracted you to Intacct specifically?
TC: When we were going through the selection process and considering a variety of different solutions, what impressed us most about Intacct were the people. They seemed to know accounting, they thought the way we thought, the solution that they had, the way they broke down the modules, the flexibility to be able to brand it or rename things to match the way we talked about accounting within the nonprofit culture was really important to us. So there seemed to be a lot of flexibility and that was something that we felt we needed.
One of the things that also really impressed us with Intacct was the community of different tools and different vendors that we could choose. We liked the overall Intacct solution, yet we really like the opportunity that it gave us to pick other vendors like Wipfli/Brittenford.
And as we were trying to pick a solution implementation provider we found the Wipfli team to really suit us. They were really a member of our team, we felt, when it came time to actually picking who we were going to work with.
Wipfli/Brittenford: How did your implementation go with Intacct?
TC: I've done many implementations, different organizations, and different tools. The Intacct solution fit well with us so instead of trying to actually bang ourselves into a certain fixed solution, we were able to just really flow with the way Intacct had set up their accounting process flows. We found the Intacct processes to be really leading practice, with good internal controls. We were relieved to be adopting what was been thought out and built into the Intacct solution.
The whole process of implementing Intacct and working with Wipfli has had a very positive impact on my finance team. They're very motivated now, they're very engaged. Through the implementation process they could see the prize at the end—that they were going to get a new set of modern tools that would really impact and change their lives.
They also saw that the implementation had a career-building opportunity as well. Having the ability to talk about and say that they have worked with Intacct and put that on their resume is seen within my team as a real positive impact, a real positive effect of this whole process.
Really the whole Intacct implementation has really had a transformational impact on my finance team. Before the finance team was probably spending 80%-90% of their time just filling out Excel spreadsheets and grinding through the data and providing really basic set of financial statements with very, very limited analysis.
Now, being able to just drill down into reports and not spend the time creating these reports has freed up an enormous amount of their time–probably 60%-70%.
Wipfli/Brittenford: Are there any other benefits you’ve seen that you would like to discuss?
TC: We've been live just coming on a month now so it's really early days for us. But the fact that we were able to pick Concur for our travel and expense management, we've seen like immediate benefits there. Being able to bring that data over seamlessly into Intacct has provided us insight into our travel and expense, even after one month that we've never had.
The data that now flows into our general ledger, we're able to see how we're spending our travel money in a way that we've never had before. We're looking forward to how that will allow us to mold our relationships with those vendors.
As well, being a nonprofit, we're very focused on our spend management and our budget owners now have at their fingertips, they can see exactly where they are in terms of over and under spend and it allows them to change the way they manage their business so that they can come in within their budgets. So benefits have been immediate, we're looking forward to seeing even more as we grow with the system.
Also, we are funded mainly through grants and some donations. The project management module we use for our grant management provides us an immense amount of detail into how we're spending money and it's really great in terms of how we're able to put it up on a dashboard. Our donors also love the ability of us being enabled to provide transparency in terms of how we're spending their funds.
Wipfli/Brittenford: That’s great! What else are you looking forward to down the line?
TC: We're really eager and looking forward to accumulating a lot more data and seeing what insights we'll gather from those. And then as we move forward we are now able to do our spend management with Intacct as well and we are pretty excited about seeing how the people within the organization, our budget owners, how they respond to being able to have the data at their fingertips on demand.
We've seen some early wins and are expecting a lot more.