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Modern Budgeting & Planning: The Best Tools & Trends Every Nonprofit Should Know About

Automation, artificial intelligence, and cloud solutions are key drivers in the future of financial technology, but how do you know which tools and trends are worth the time and money to invest in for your nonprofit? During this session, we break down what you should pay attention to when it comes to your organization’s financial planning & analysis process.

Tools that promote automated processes will continue to allow nonprofits to spend less time on repetitive, manually-intensive work and more time making strategic decisions. Knowing the actuals and future trends of the organization gives management the closest thing to a crystal ball for guiding their programs. Unfortunately, several barriers stand in the way, including manual processes, multiple data sources, and data that is difficult to visualize and share across departments.

The best tools on the market today will allow your organization to:

  • House all data in a centralized multidimensional database,
  • Conduct effective collaboration and workflow automation,
  • Integrate financial and non-financial data, and
  • Manage governance & control

Interested in learning more about how Vena combines the best modern tools and trends to drive your organization’s mission?

Megan Mendiola: All right. Hello, again, everyone. Thank you all for joining us today. My name is Megan Mendiola and I'm a Regional Marketing Coordinator here at JMT.

We're very excited to have our very own Andy Harlem in here with us to lead us in today's webinar over modern budgeting and planning the best tools and trends every nonprofit should know about.

Also, just a couple of housekeeping notes before I turn it over to Andy to get us started.

If you have any questions during today's webinar, please go ahead and submit those into the Q AMP a section on your control panel.

We're going to go ahead and save those all until the end of the presentation, but don't hesitate to go ahead and submit those as you think of them and we will get them answered at the end.

Also just reminder that we will send you both the slides and recording of today's webinar within 24 hours after its conclusion.

And now I want to take a minute to introduce and the Harlem into all and he lives in St. Louis and is the Director of Sales here at JMP

He also has extensive nonprofit background knowledge as well. He helped found those social services agency and serve that isn't as an administrative director there.

yesterday on the governing board of a nonprofit in St. Louis has been consulting to nonprofits since 2006. And now, Andy, without further ado, I'll go ahead and turn it over to you to get us started.

Andy Harleman: Thank you, Megan. Can you hear me okay.

Well, hopefully you don't hear the barking dog, but this is the world we live in now, folks. So

I haven't been out of my house in seven months or something. So hopefully the dog won't be a distraction. But thank you for joining us all today.

Really appreciate it. And I know that everyone's busy and this has been a crazy year so

First, before we get started on the actual budgeting and planning to. I just want to make sure that anyone on the call here understands who JM t is who are these people who have invited me to

A webinar about using my budgeting and planning words so JM T is a firmware to independent consulting firm.

Who works only with nonprofits. So your mission at your nonprofit is our business. We have thousands of happy clients.

We are known for rapid and affordable implementations and you know we're small enough to provide exceptional and personalized service, but we're also large enough to handle any scope of any project that you may be

Needing to do so we, as I say, where we all we do is work with nonprofits and we were built.

We built a team of people who have this kind of background and experience and Megan mentioned some of my background with nonprofits and we were founded by a person Jackie Tito

Who was herself controller and CFO at multiple nonprofit organizations and back almost 30 years ago will be 30 years in January. Hard to believe she found in GMT with the idea that

Had she'd been through as a customer a few technology implementations that she was a

Less than impressed by and she believed the GMT could do better and she most importantly believe that nonprofits deserve better nonprofits deserve to be able to take advantage of all the cutting edge technology.

That's available to the for profit world and needs to have people help them implement people who understand nonprofit. So it was with that spirit that she found a JM t. And it's interesting because

In those days, what she meant by cutting edge technology probably had something to do with a box full of floppy disks and a Doss operating system, but

But now we've we've monitored the technology out there over the 30 years that we've been in business and we're always here to let nonprofits know what's out there today. So today we're going to talk a lot about venom, but

Before I get to that. I'll just finish up with J AMP T background, you know, we were founded in New York. You can see we have offices all over now.

And with this day and age with zoom and hasn't mattered. It hasn't really slowed us down at all with coven everything else because we were already doing a lot of work remotely. Yes. We love to come out and see you in person. If we can

But we haven't missed a step and we are still serving all of our clients, even in this

More remote world that we're living in these days. These are some examples of some of the happy clients that have worked with JM t over the years.

And I was like to use this quote Anthony was kind enough to give this to us and it just backs up what I'm saying. Having a nonprofit consulting firm that really understands

Nonprofit is critical. I've often use the analogy, it's

If you, for example, go to the doctor because you have an eye problem you typically want to go see an ophthalmologist any general practitioner knows a thing or two about the eyes.

But you really want to go to someone who specializes in the eyes if you're dealing with something that important. And that's how it is with implementations as well. You really want to work with someone who knows like JM t

Now we are independent will not be a software publisher and this is why that should be important to you. Our commitment is to you into the project going well.

We are able, because we're independent. We're not beholden to any one software publisher, we're able to curate the best solutions for our clients and we really assemble a solution that may be multiple pieces.

Multiple publishers to create the right ecosystem for you. So we work really across the spectrum of all of these areas of nonprofit. Today we're going to focus of course on

The budget management and the Vienna solution that we're going to get to. But you can see we work with other tools as well.

And some of you on this call. I noticed are already existing clients. So you're familiar with some of our work. Others of you may not have worked with JM t before, so this is what we're going to focus on today. This little red piece of the pie.

Within I forgot I put that really cool graphic in and I'm sure everyone is really impressed.

Another quote that I like to use is from john here who just talks about how the implementation, the onboarding process was really

Critical and and our crowning achievement. So, you know, software is just software right but setting it up and implementing it correctly, is what really makes the difference.

So we've been through a rough year nobody all of us have horror stories of what we've lived through over these last seven, eight months.

And one of the things that I think it's universal is that everyone agrees. There is no excuse any longer for working with outdated technology.

I've talked to people who are who went through terrible situations where they literally couldn't you know cut checks, because they had the only way to do that was to go physically to their office.

And they couldn't get into their office because it was shut down, things like that. And I think we all agree that modern technology is critical. Now, and so we're going to talk today about Vienna.

And how that it's modern technology can help you with your budget process now even long before coven, as I said, we've been working with nonprofits for 30 years

We've really familiar with the typical nonprofit budget process that we see. And so we've compiled some data here, the average nonprofit budget process is four to six months.

Although I have heard some terrible outliers. I'll never forget one person who said 10 months of the year, she's working on building

The budget for the next year, there are only two months of the year when she isn't building a budget for the next year.

And during those two months, I guess she's just taking a breather before she gets back up, but the average is about four to six months.

When we talk in nonprofits. When you talk about collaboration. I put that in quotes because collaboration usually means just email and spreadsheets around

And I always like to use a picture of Oprah. Hey, everybody gets a spreadsheet.

In the typical nonprofit budget process. So with that, that leads me into we'd like to keep these things interactive. So I hope everyone's on their toes. Now, Megan, we have a poll question. Do we not, it doesn't involve special

Megan Mendiola: Yes we do Andy. I'll go ahead and launch it now should show up on your screen here now. And the question is, how many people in your organization contribute to budget creation.

So if you wouldn't mind just answering, so we can just get a, get a feeling for what everybody's answers are around here. We do have a lot of votes coming in already Andy will give it a few more. Few more seconds let most people get their votes in

Yeah, we'll give it a moment.

So far it looks like the five to nine people range is leading with about 60% of the vote so far. Wow. Well, that's

Andy Harleman: That's good. I've seen some we did this poll question on once before, I think it was like 15 to 20 was the effort. So now, yeah.

Andy Harleman: I guess.

Yeah, exactly. Exactly. Alright. Have a good number of the votes and I'll go ahead and share that in that poll and share the results. So you can just see

See what the results look like there but you can see five 960% of the votes, but we also have 25% of people say 10 plus people contributing to budget creation.

Andy Harleman: Very good. Well, thank you, Megan.

And we'll do another poll question. So everyone keep on your toes. The next one you will be graded on and we're going to submit the answers to your CPA and will be part of it. I'm just kidding.

Let's see here. Let me move on online. Whoops.

Okay, so many of you on this call are the unfortunate people in your organization who have to now take these spreadsheets and piece them together if we if you think even five or 10 people

Sending around spreadsheets and often I've seen some really awesome spreadsheets with, you know, 1520

worksheets for every workbook. So you could multiply that five times multiple sheets and get cumbersome. As you all know, so

Instead of budgeting to your strategy, let's spend our time determining which spreadsheet cell is not linking correctly. And isn't that the case. I mean, but Excel.

Is a great tool. Actually, I love Excel. And in fact, then it uses the good stuff in Excel.

But when you start having broken links and version control problems. That's where budget where XL really BECOMES A NIGHTMARE. So then, on top of all of that work you do.

This idea of recasting your budget based on changes in the world around you. Earlier this year, we all saw

One of the most dramatic changes we've ever seen, which is co bit and I'm sure many of you were in a situation

Where your board needed a new plan and they needed it quickly. And so when the board or your CEO or whoever needs a new plan you

Have to quickly change your previous assumptions, you have to collaborate in this case earlier this year with a suddenly remote workforce.

Really had no time for wasting on data collection or entry and ultimately you're trying to make strategic decisions and recommendations on that data.

But then the data might change again. I mean, earlier this year when Kobe was really just rapid fire changing things

Just one day you might open up a set of assumptions and the next day, things would be completely changed. So

It was a crazy year and hopefully we'll never experienced anything quite like that before. But I think it's shined a light on just you know how difficult it is to roll with any changes that go on in the world around you so

All of this though, really is not a problem when you use that and so

What we like about venom in a nutshell GMT, is it uses all the good stuff in Excel and gets rid of all the bad, and I'll show you in a moment how that works.

But essentially, you're able to take advantage of all the green check boxes you see there on the screen, but

You still get to use the familiarity of a tool like Excel that we that most of you already know how to use and use. Well, and that's a really great thing about it. The other thing about it is it. It allows you to make things very easy for your staff by creating your own workflow and and

Data direction really for your process in your organization, using a tool like this, and even get you board ready reports right out of the system.

Even if you're on an antiquated general ledger system and you don't want to go through the hassle of changing a general ledger system right now. You can get data fed into Vienna and use it for board ready reports. So I want to get to. I'm gonna close this now for just a moment.

And pull up my actual Venice system. So this is I'm logged into my demo data base and and I'm going to show you that. Now, before I do, though, let's do our other pole Megan isn't I thought one of the questions was about how many spreadsheets, you have is that the one we got lined up now.

Megan Mendiola: Yes, it is. Let me pull it up real quick. Andy guess. Okay, I'll go ahead and launch it. Now it is

How many MS Excel worksheets. Does your budget contain. So, this one has launched. As you can see, and a number of different options there. So we'll, we'll give everyone a few seconds to answer this one as well. We are the

Worksheet, really good.

Andy Harleman: We mean work you know that the actual sheets, the actual tabs in your Excel workbook of course

I've seen some fun ones over the years, I've always joked that

The average nonprofit CFO or controller.

God forbid if you lost your job today, you could probably get a job. Tomorrow tree teaching people how to use Excel because I've seen some pretty incredible spreadsheets created in your average nonprofit organization over the years.

Megan Mendiola: Of course, yeah. So it looks like. I'll go ahead and share these results. It looks like most of our votes are in here, but it does look like

Angels are really all across the board. We have some zero to five being the top answer choice, which is really great. But we do have some, you know, five to 10 to the 20 2030 and 50 plus as well. So hopefully everybody can see those results on their screen.

Andy Harleman: Yeah. Well, thank you, Megan. That's interesting stuff so I my best wishes to the person or people who answered 50 plus truly. That must be a lot of fun.

Andy Harleman: So here it back even over here in the venous system and I'm logged into this is a web browser. And this is a cloud-based tool. I happen to use Chrome. That's just my personal preference, but you can use any of the browsers that you want.

I logged in to this demo Venice system and this first thing I want to show I'm logged in as the manager here in this manager. This is, I think I showed a screenshot similar to this a moment ago.

But this is where you can set up your actual budget workflow for you and your people and then each of these. This isn't just a fancy little diagram underlying all of this are actual rules and processes.

That that define you know all the particular personalization that you want to have for your process in your organization. So this is one place where you can really

outline your process and make it easy, but what's nice is let's let's show you where it really makes a difference.

First thing I want to do is I want to pull up and actually do show you how data gets entered. I'm going to hit this detail objects and good now. Remember when I said

That Vienna uses Excel. And so what it essentially does is it uses Excel as the framework.

But the data comes from the Vienna cloud, which of course resides. As you can see here, I use the browser to get to it, but a revived resides in the Venice servers.

And an Excel is just the front end way that you look at that data, just as a web browser is the front end way that you sometimes look at data as well.

So in this case, I'm going to switch over to the browser, excuse me, from the browser over to

The Excel template chat works. It says, check out because what this means is, think of it almost like when you go to the library. If anybody goes to the library anymore.

When you check out a book. Nobody else can check it out because you have it well.

Depending on your role in the organization, you're going to have one unique slice of the organization's budget that you are now going to be working on.

And of course, you do not want anyone else in the organization working on the same data at the same time. And so when you check it out.

You are locked locking anyone else out of any of the data that you are working on of course you're going to set security parameters pretty strictly so that people aren't

You know, checking out the entire organization at once, or anything like that. So when I check it. You might notice down here. It's simply opened up an Excel file it downloaded it, and now I'm opening it.

And here we go. So I'm pulling this up and it is actually going to ask me a couple of questions. It's going to prompt me to ask me about

What kind of data I want to look at in my sample demo database. So when I'm going to do today is I'm going to look at two things. I'm going to grab just my San Francisco area.

I'm going to look at 2021 and I am going, I think I'll do 21 and then I'm going to grab forecast my forecast version instead of my budget person. And when I do this, it's going to populate the sheet accordingly.

And now looks and you can see

That I've got all these. This is a lot of combination. There are some actions in here that we pulled

Straight from an accounting system, but then you also notice there are these Blue Fields and these blue fields are fields that I can change. So let's say for example I want to do recruitment.

And I'm going to put in my number for July I need a in July next year. I'm going to be hiring some folks. And I've got to put in some recruitment expenses. So I guess I'll just do

99 999

And type that in. So this is actually all I'm doing is entering this data.

And it's going to, it's going to flow back into the cloud. Now I can also make a note, like, hey, we need to hire some folks. I can also do things like a look around at my actions and see where they might be from previous years, for example.

I can look down on the actual transactions here, oh man, oh man, oh, I'm sorry. I'll do that on another one. But this is where you would enter that data. And now I will simply check this data back in

It says, Do I want to save it to the vendor database. And I say, Yes, I do.

And it's warning me I have put in a soft warning that if I exceed the budget by 20% or more. I got to add a comment. And I'm just going to

Say yes. So as you can see, that was a soft morning but you can lock people out of doing those kinds of changes if you'd like. And now it's asking me again. Do I want to check this file and because you might notice if you are watching earlier.

Once I've checked it out this button switched over to check back in. And so, yes, I do want to check it back in.

And now you can see it went back to check out here on the vendor cloud and that op X template is is back and can be checked out by someone else for their own kind of data.

So, so that is how you enter data and I just did one cell. Obviously you can use Excel and you can do lots and lots of different cells, but I just want to give you a sense of how that works. And then

Let's come over here and take a look at some of these reports. So if I come down to this expense variance analysis report again, same thing. It's just going to open it in Excel is that now finished downloading

And when I pull this up.

This is for my entire organization.

But you should be able to see I am on forecast and I am on

should be good to go. Let's just see if this shows my data entry and it's loading my data for me.

populating it

And you can see now this is the actual. This is the report showing all of the

The different areas of the organization and I pulled the wrong cut here, but the 99 999 would flow back and if I had entered. If I had

Limited this to just San Francisco, what I did was I pulled the whole organization up and it's rolled into that number.

But this is then where you can start looking at that at some of the detail on these reports. So this is also where I want to demonstrate a couple other things. So if I come down here to say

I click on a cell and I hit drill down to my actual transactions. These are the actual transactions that fed in from my general ledger.

And so obviously these are the kinds of things you can't do with straight up Excel so you can get a lot of the detail there and open up this little this little sheet and then here's back the report back over here, there are other things you can do, such as you can look at

At the intersection between the bottom level intersections and roll up to it. If you want to do that. And so that's what you have here.

And so on and so forth. So we only have a half an hour here today for this webcast, but I wanted to give you this sense of just how powerful some of these things are, but

That's a little bit about just data entry and how you can look at the data and massage it. But there are other things too. And so if I click back over here and I want to look at something like let's say I want to look at this executive dashboard.

In the system.

This is where we talk about

Board reports. So I have a very simple one setup here I'm using PowerPoint online viewer. This actually takes

The data from the vendor cloud. All you have to do is set it up once if you have a PowerPoint, say for your monthly board meeting these numbers here.

Are pulling live data from the vendor cloud. So as users just save new data, it just updates. You don't have to

Go and manually assemble board reports anymore. You are able to just hit the refresh button when you need to make sure you have the latest, greatest cut of data and use this to really be strategic.

In looking at things with your board and not waste your time on the low value tasks like assembling all of these things.

So again, in the very brief time we had today. Our goal is to let you see a very high level glimpse of what the tool can do for you and really

It comes down to that point I just made about the where you spend your time.

Do you want to spend your time gathering data or do you want to spend it being strategic. Well, of course you don't want to have to spend your time emailing and receiving

Versions of spreadsheets and doing what we call Excel gymnastics looking for formula errors or checking on the progress of staff and where they are.

In the whole process, and most importantly, you certainly do not want to put off your executive director or you're bored because you're too busy with these low value tasks.

And JMT can make this a reality for you. We have this year come up with a way that we are able to help you get in a tool like this for a monthly fee.

And we can even handle the administration of the tools that all you have to do is know how to put data into your system and we can have you up and running in as quickly as 10 days.

So this could be your reality and the next step would be for you to talk to. Megan, who can do a quick assessment and set you up with a with a call with us. And so, Megan will be able to help you with that next step. Now, before we go there, though I do want to

Pause And as we said we wanted to have questions if anybody has any questions they want to type into the chat window.

That would be great. Well, while you're while we're waiting to see if any questions come in. I do want to emphasize one other quick thing which I forgot to point out to you when I was in the software back over here, you can

Whoops. It's here. You can actually go in

And look at things like

Dashboards task managers task management stuff and you can actually see where people are will see here on their

On their tasks, because my processes in the system and so

This is it. I'm sorry. Click along status tracker. So this is where you can actually check to see

The people you've assigned. Have they done it. Have they started. Are they still working on it. Have they completed it. Have they done nothing

This can really enable you to be able to

To help people to

To know where people are and

Graciously and courteously keep on top of them to make sure they get things done. So that would be one of the things the other things that I wanted to mention to you about making it easy on yourself and staff with your process making, do we have any questions coming in.

Megan Mendiola: Yeah, thanks. Andy. It looks like we haven't had any questions.

Come in. So far, but we'll give it just another minute or two to see if there are any questions that come in on near the end of today's webinar. If you did think of a question after the webinar ended today and didn't get the chance to ask it.

Just know that I will be following up with everyone. So you'll definitely have the chance to ask my question then. And I'll make sure I get an answer for you then.

And just while we wait for any last-minute questions to come in all expand for a minute or so about what Andy said about our follow up process after the webinar.

So I'll be reaching out to everyone through a phone call following today's webinar this afternoon for a more personalized discussion over your organization budgeting and planning needs.

And then as Andy said, from there we can move into the quick assessment that Andy talked about. So just be looking out for that phone call from you this afternoon and India, I think I did see a question just come in.

Andy Harleman: I see. What about the question was asked about accounting systems because that has been asked on almost every one of these webinars. So first off, Vana has pre-built integrations with several of the leading systems out there, including sage intact which JM t is also a partner with so it has a pre-built integration with Sage intact. It also has pre-built with a couple of other major deals that you've probably heard of out there, but the beautiful thing about it is it's very easy for us to map the vendor database to any GL as long as you can get your typical GL reports into a format.

Like an Excel or CSV that we just point it to then it pulls it all in. So we also at JM t have supported for example community brands.

MIP fund accounting for many years. And so we have clients on MIP who are were able to, it's not as pre-built integration, like it is within tech, but we're able to pull data from MIT.

For those clients as well. So essentially any system as long as it isn't some old mainframe system from the 80s, where there's no way to get an Excel or CSV feed out of it.

Any system, we can pull that data into the cloud. The other question I see is, what should I budget to buy this well.

The beautiful thing about Vienna is is scalable. And we can actually have you can be a very small organization.

Or a very large organization and the tool will work for you. So I wish I don't mean to be evasive on that question.

Because it really depends on how many people you've got using it, but I can tell you this, we have clients very small clients who are able to get in to a vendor solution.

For a monthly payment of just a couple of hundred dollars a month now again it scales from there if you have 30 people using the system, your price is going to be a lot different than if you have one or two.

And we'll be happy to talk to you personally after the Megan and I or whoever else wants. We can talk with you about your personal situation and very very quickly get you a good faith estimate as to what it would cost to get into a system like this.

Any other questions. I don't see any more. Megan.

Megan Mendiola: Yeah, I don't care anymore either. And like I said before, if there are any other questions after you can definitely asked me when I follow up.

Megan Mendiola: And before, before we did close out today. I see. We only have a couple minutes left in our a lot of time. I did want to tell everyone that we do have another webinar coming up.

On October 20 over audit-ready financials for nonprofits using sage intact so we definitely recommend getting signed up for that one as well.

It's free. Like all of ours are and you can register on our website at JMT consulting com

And that looks like that's all the questions that we had. And so I'll go ahead and close this out today. Like I said, I am looking forward to connecting with you all.

This afternoon, just to get your thoughts and next steps for the webinar. So Andy. Is there anything you want to say before we close out today.

Andy Harleman: Just thank you again to everybody for joining us today. Really appreciate it. Again, this has been a rough year. We hope that tools like this than a tool can help you navigate the uncertain waters that we all have in front of us. But most importantly, I just wish for everyone to have a great rest of your day and stay safe out there.

Megan Mendiola: Yeah. Great. Thank you so much, everyone. Have a great rest of your day. Bye.

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