As the off-reservation economic development arm of the Hopi people in Northeastern Arizona, the Hopi Tribe Economic Development Corporation (HTEDC) runs seven diverse service entities. The organization gets several revenue streams from its motels, restaurants, and shopping centers, and also manages about two dozen non-operating, undeveloped proprieties.

After a decade of using QuickBooks, the finance team needed better financial management tools to help run this complex business and deliver more meaningful, timely reports to the CEO and board of directors. HTEDC worked with Sage Intacct partner Joseph Eve to implement the system, configure it to the organization’s specific structure and requirements, and seamlessly integrate it with ADP payroll software.

We discussed a bit of this in a blog last fall; now that the Hopi Tribe has seen additional benefits and growth, it seemed timely to do a blog update!

With access to current financial data about the operating entities, HTEDC recently reconsidered the economic potential of the tribe’s dormant real estate holdings. Larry Chank, CFO of the Hopi Tribe Economic Development Corp, commented, “We had done some feasibility studies years ago, but at the time the board didn’t have enough confidence to move forward with our development ideas. Thanks to the visibility we now have in Sage Intacct, they’ve approved several stalled projects, like a 200-acre multi-use retail and housing development adjacent to a new casino property.”

Today, the HTEDC board and management believes and trusts the accuracy of their financial statements and forecasts. As a result of the success of the conversion to the Sage Intacct accounting system, HTEDC upper management is looking more towards the future of the organization, rather than spending financial cycles worrying about the accuracy of their historical numbers. Larry noted, “This has resulted in millions of dollars of increases in the return on investment of our operating properties and businesses.”

With faster, and more accurate reporting from the Sage Intacct system, HTEDC is able to monitor or net margins and gross profits on diesel fuel, gasoline, C-Store items, and restaurant menu items, and identified areas of theft, misappropriation of funds, inventory balancing, and portion control. Once addressed, this increased the bottom line dramatically.

General managers and on-site personnel, although not accountants, are utilizing Sage Intacct to report daily operating information and perform month end account analysis. This has saved the company hundreds of thousands of dollars and helped the enterprises stay on budget.

Additionally, the productivity gains HTEDC has seen have helped the finance team meet expanding needs. Now that the finance team no longer has to spend weeks preparing reports using Excel spreadsheets, they have cut HTEDC’s monthly financial close from 20 days to just five days. Larry can begin writing his board report on the 1st of each month and finalize it four days later.

Larry also notes, “We now have three years of financial information in the Sage Intacct system allowing us to fully use the historical files and create very accurate annual budgets, and three and five-year forecasts. Board presentations are a breeze.”

Further results with Sage Intacct include:

  • Reduced the audit time from audit report being issued in July after calendar year close to audit report being issued March 23 after calendar year close
  • Reduced audit cost from $65,000 annually to $32,000
  • Software directly led to over $10M in added value for the business
  • Increased overall gross margins by 20%
  • Improved cash flow by over $500K

Check out the full case study of the Hopi Tribe here.