Children’s Tumor Foundation Achieves International Growth Thanks to Upgraded Accounting
The Children’s Tumor Foundation (CTF) is on a single-minded mission to end Neurofibromatosis (NF) – a genetic disorder that causes tumors to grow throughout the nervous system. About one in every 3,500 children is born with NF, which can lead to blindness, deafness, disfigurement, and cognitive delays, among other symptoms. There is no known cure, but CTF is leading the fight to change that. The group is one of the primary funders of NF research, as well as a peerless organizer of families and communities invested in the cause.
In 2009, CTF relied on Financial Edge from Blackbaud to handle the organization’s accounting requirements. As Sarah Bourne, vice president of finance and operations recalls, the system was adequate but never ideal. “People couldn’t pull their own reports, which got to be frustrating because as the only accountant, I had to pull them myself. I was just inundated.”
In addition to being inefficient, the reporting process lacked depth and detail. According to Bourne, “We couldn’t code things the way we needed to get the information we wanted. There were some reports I couldn’t pull at all because of how the system was set up.” It created a situation that would have been annoying at any nonprofit. After CTF experienced significant growth, however, it was clear to everyone that a new approach to accounting wasn’t just preferred – it was required.
Seizing Opportunities as They Appear
By 2014, CTF had expanded its size and mission significantly, necessitating changes throughout the nonprofit. Like lots of organizations on an upward trajectory, CTF decided to implement Salesforce to streamline parts of its operations. Unfortunately, Salesforce couldn’t easily integrate with the existing accounting solution, which limited the utility of both. Needing something more compatible, Bourne saw this as the perfect chance to upgrade to a smarter, stronger, more streamlined accounting solution in the process. She turned an obstacle into an opportunity.
“I wanted something that enabled self-serve reporting and provided a better audit trail – a system where if I made a new journal entry, it was automatically sent to my supervisor to approve or deny. Financial Edge offered some of these features, but everything about it looked and felt old school. I also wanted something on the cloud so I could work from anywhere, especially since we were traveling more as CTF grew.”
“JMT just kind of rolled with the punches. They were there from beginning to end and gave us great training. When we finally went live with Sage Intacct, I felt like I knew exactly what I was doing.”
vice president of finance and operations
Children's Tumor Foundation
As Bourne reports it, the decision to switch to Sage Intacct came quickly. “We went to a lunch demo hosted by JMT Consulting, and Sage Intacct immediately felt right to me. It had everything that I was looking for, and we didn’t consider any other options beyond that. From there, I went to INNOVATE (an annual conference hosted by JMT) to get more hands-on experience, and when I left, I knew it was the right choice.”
Having selected Sage Intacct as their new accounting solution and JMT Consulting as their technology partner, CTF dove into the onboarding process. Due to some internal setbacks, set-up took longer than initially expected, but that didn’t deter their implementation experts. “JMT just kind of rolled with the punches,” says Bourne. “They were there from beginning to end and gave us great training. When we finally went live with Sage Intacct, I felt like I knew exactly what I was doing.”
Laying the Groundwork for Continued Expansion
Five years after the implementation, Bourne has no regrets about switching to Sage Intacct. “The audit trail is one of our favorite features. Our accountant can create journal entries that automatically go to me for approval. The bank reconciliation feature is also much better than what we had before. And with the dimensions feature, we can code things in a very granular way and get much more from our reports, especially when we’re analyzing our fundraising activities.”
Moving to the cloud has also been a benefit. “We never have any issues getting into Sage Intacct – you literally go to the website, and there it is. A lot of our development staff travel, too, so they can access dashboards wherever they’re at and not worry about connectivity issues.”
Bourne doesn’t regret the decision to work with JMT Consulting, either. “It’s been great. The thing I like working about JMT is that everyone is completely coordinated with each other and with their clients. They truly become a part of your mission – one of their fundraising teams even came to a recent CTF event. As a client, they make you feel special.”
The partnership has proved to be so productive that CTF entrusted JMT to implement a new budgeting solution called Vena. When Bourne tried the product hands-on at the most recent INNOVATE, she concluded, “I definitely need this software” Afterwards, “We hit the ground running with the implementation.” Having JMT lead the way only helped expedite that process.
As accounting has improved at CTF, the nonprofit has continued to grow, reaching new heights. They’re in the process of establishing a European branch and extending their influence into Asia as well, giving CTF the reach it needs to fight NF worldwide. Thanks to smart planning and the right partnerships, this is one nonprofit doing everything possible to fulfill its mission.
An outdated accounting system was creating inefficiencies and obscuring financial insights. After a period of growth and a decision to move to Salesforce, CTF needed accounting software tailored to its future, not it’s past.
Implementing Sage Intacct – a cloud-based financial management solution – and partnering with the nonprofit experts at JMT Consulting.
Reporting, auditing, bank reconciliations, and coordination have all improved, and the partnership between CTF and JMT has expanded. Thanks, in part, to their refined accounting and administrative capabilities, CTF is on the brink of global expansion.
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