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Consumer Directed Choices: Making Accounting Smarter and Easier By Replacing QuickBooks

The disabled are some of the most marginalized members of society. Consumer Directed Choices (CDChoices) restores some of their independence in a subtle but significant way. The nonprofit provides resources to individuals who rely on personal assistants, helping them become the legal employer of those assistants. As an employer, individuals can hire, train, schedule, and terminate the assistants they depend on. By providing training, mentoring, and administrative support, CDChoices helps people take control of their care and reclaim some of their autonomy in the process.

When Brian Frasier, Financial Operations Manager, arrived at the organization in 2018, he was immediately tasked with finding a new accounting system. Since its founding in 2000, CDChoices had relied on QuickBooks. And like most organizations that outgrow their first accounting solution, they needed something better suited to their current conditions.

According to Frasier, “For everything we really needed to do, we had to take the information out of QuickBooks and then manipulate it in Excel. It required a lot of extra work in order to report to the board or perform any kind of analysis.” Frasier estimates it routinely took one week each quarter to prepare financial statements, so it’s not surprising that CDChoices was looking for a replacement to their 18-year old QuickBooks solution by the time he arrived.

On the Hunt for Something More Than Basic

Frasier knew what he wanted from a new accounting solution:

  • A system that didn’t force a hard close. Being able to change entities that have already been booked makes accounting errors easier to resolve.
  • A system that could report in different dimensions. CDChoices practices granular budgeting and needs a precise way to track how funds are coming and going.
  • A system that was affordable. Frasier was looking for a system that could deliver broad and deep functionality without costing drastically more than QuickBooks.

Several options were up for consideration. Great Plains was an early contender as well as NetSuite. But Frasier was most impressed by Sage Intacct, a solution he was first introduced to by JMT Consulting. “I liked that I would have an implementation partner. I also liked how Sage Intacct could upload a huge journal entry instead of having to retype the same numbers each month.”

“My implementation specialist was great. She walked us through every step, but she didn’t do the work for us. We had to learn things on our own, which made everyone more comfortable with the product.”

brian frasier
Financial Operations Manager
Consumer Directed Choices

By Spring 2018, Frasier had selected Sage Intacct and decided to partner with JMT Consulting. The implementation kicked off in April and finished by October, but CDChoices wanted to finish out the calendar year before decommissioning Quickbooks. With every obstacle out of the way, Sage Intacct went live on January 1, 2019.

Reaping Rewards in a Matter of Months

Replacing an 18-year old accounting system with something different is bound to cause some trepidation. Still, Frasier and his team felt well prepared for Sage Intacct thanks to the training efforts of JMT Consulting. “My implementation specialist was great. She walked us through every step, but she didn’t do the work for us. We had to learn things on our own, which made everyone more comfortable with the product.”

Frasier has been equally pleased by what Sage Intacct has done for the nonprofit. He singles out a few features as having the biggest impact on CDChoices and its underlying mission:

  • It’s easy to pull data out of Sage Intacct, making the insights within more apparent and accessible.
  • The ability to slice and dice accounting information gives Frasier the flexibility to adapt the system to his needs instead of adapting his needs to the limitations of the system.
  • Complex tasks like recording salary accruals and complying with New York state’s gross receipt tax became significantly simpler with Sage Intacct.
  • Frasier has been able to build his own reports, giving him the exact perspective he needs into CDChoices’ financial performance.

A year into the implementation, Frasier says it’s too soon to quantify how much Sage Intacct has improved accounting and the organization as a whole. But he’s completely confident he’s fulfilled his first mission at the company – finding a worthy replacement for QuickBooks. He’s equally optimistic about working with JMT and even called on the consultants to implement Adaptive Insights, a comprehensive budgeting and planning solution. With the right technology and the right partner, CDChoices has everything it needs to continue thriving.

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