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Nonprofit Budgeting Survival Guide: How JMT + Vena Can Ease Your Budgeting and Planning Woes

With JMT’s budgeting and planning services, you can say goodbye to past ways of budgeting that involve multiple spreadsheets and wasted time consolidating data from multiple sources. It’s time to innovate and create effective planning processes that will allow you to spend more time analyzing data and making strategic decisions. Join us for a 30-minute webinar where we will show you how:

  • Cloud-based software + JMT’s nonprofit expertise will get board-ready re-forecasts done quickly.
  • Vena leverages your existing Excel framework to enhance an interface you are already using every day.
  • You can be living this new reality by the end of the month with our 10-day implementation!

Interested in learning more about how JMT and Vena can help you operate more efficiently?

Megan Mendiola: Hello, again, everyone. Thank you all for joining us today. My name is Megan Mineola I'm a regional marketing Coordinator here at JMT.

We're very excited to have James. He's very own Andy Harlem in here with us to lead us in today's webinar over how JM t and Vanessa, can use your budgeting and planning lows.

I want to share just a couple of housekeeping notes with you all, before I turn it over to Andy. If you have any questions during the webinar today.

Please go ahead and submit those into the Q AMP a section on your control panel.

Will go ahead and save those all until the end of the presentation, but don't hesitate to submit those as we think of them.

Also, just a reminder that we will send you both the slides and recording for today's webinar within 24 hours after it has concluded.

And now I want to take a minute to introduce Andy Harlan to you all. And he lives in St. Louis, and he is the Director of Sales here at JM t

He also has an extensive nonprofit background as well. He helped found a social services agency and serve as an administrative director there.

He's also served on the governing board of a nonprofit in St. Louis. And he has been consulting to nonprofits since 2006. And so now, Andy. I'll go ahead and turn it over to you to get us started.

Andy Harleman: Thank you, Megan and just confirm you do see the picture of Me in the screen and everything.

Megan Mendiola: Yes, I do. Andy

Andy Harleman: Very good. And just for everyone's benefit all of us who have been, you know, working from home and dealing with coven I just want everyone to know that since March I have gotten up every morning and dressed exactly as you see me in that photo. So if you're not undressed that way now.

I promise.

Let me just get going. So the first thing I want to do here is make sure that everyone on this call understands who JMT is

And kind of frame the context for why we are recommending Vana and who you know a little bit about our background so you understand what our recommendation for venom means in the nonprofit world.

So JMT. First and foremost is an independent firm, whose sole mission is to work with nonprofit organizations. We have thousands of happy clients were known for rapid and affordable implementations of different

Finance and back office, as we say tools for nonprofits only. So, for example, accounting software, a year, P, as they call it budgeting and planning tools like what we've got to talk about today.

And the bottom line with JM t is all we do is nonprofit and we're small enough that we can provide exceptional and very personalized service, but we're large enough to handle any size or complexity of implementation.

We were built by a team of people. We are a team of people who are dedicated to nonprofits and it all starts with our founder and CEO Jacqueline Tito and the name JM t

Jackie was herself a finance person in several nonprofits back in her early part of her career. And then in the late 80s and actually 1991 January, I should say, because we're approaching OUR 30th year

Jackie said I'm going to strike out on my own. And I'm going to have my own firm that works just with nonprofits. She'd been a customer for quite a few technology implementations and

It's safe to say she was less than blown away by the service that she got it, she felt she could do better and she felt most importantly nonprofits deserve better. And so that was the founding mission.

And so we've been doing this, ever since. And we have been monitoring the unbelievable changes in the marketplace. Since then, think about what technology was like in those days, Jackie talks about

Dos based accounting software. She talks about going to a client's office with a pile of literally a box.

Of floppy disks that you would insert one after the other and you would have to wait all day, just for the computer to be able to read them and install them on its DOS operating system.

We started then. And here we are today in the world of cloud technology and I hope

For all of our sake that one day we'll look back and laugh at the primitive cloud technology that we all talked about in 2020 because technology.

Does incredible things and it's going to keep going. So we've always monitored it and we always want to bring to nonprofits, the very best of what we know is available. And that's really what our mission is.

So she founded the company in the New York area where she was working at the time since then we've grown. You can see we have offices all over the place. The green dots roughly approximate where our clients are but really

We can't show you the whole world we have clients all over the world.

And most of the time, what we do is we come to us. It doesn't really matter where our physical offices are we come to you and these days.

We already were doing a lot of remote work prior to march, but with coven

We have really perfected the craft of doing a lot of the stuff on zoom. We can't wait for the day when we can come back and see our clients face to face. But until then, we're not gonna let this disrupt us so we we work with you wherever you are, and

This is just an example of some of the organization. Some of the logos. You might recognize some organizations who have been trusted GMT over the years.

And I always like this quote because this is a one of our clients in a nonprofit in the New York City area who talks about the fact that

The very fact that GMT understands nonprofits and solely focuses on that and knows the needs of nonprofits really informs all the decisions we make in our recommendations for how we set these systems up for you and that to him was the most important thing

So as I mentioned, and as I've been saying JM t is an independent firm. We're not a software publisher and here's why that should be important to you.

A software publisher is in the business of doing incredible innovative work creating software and selling subscriptions. Right.

Their commitment is to that and they want to have great customers, of course, but our commitment is to you. We have to take that software and not just quote sell it to you.

But we have to live and help you implement it, too. And so that means that we're able to really focus and get to know you better than any software publisher ever could.

We curate. So what we do is we monitor all the software publishers that are out there and we curate the best solution, even if it's a combination of different software technology.

For example, we're a big partner with Sage intact er P and with Sage with the community brands at my MIT fund accounting as an example.

But we're also here to talk today about vendor solutions. We work with all those tools. So if you have a stage in tech, for example, and you're happy with that as a general ledger, but you want to look at

Another tool like benefit your FP AMP a. That's what we're here for. We have, we believe in a best in class approach.

And so we assembled. What's really the perfect for you combination of these different partners. So essentially JM T helps nonprofits across the vast spectrum all of all the things

In the back office that may affect you as you can see it represented here on this circle and then of course plugging in the partners that we currently work with we're here today.

To talk about this one. That's why I made it bigger than us. But as you can see, we work with you across a broad spectrum. So for those of you that I would say to sum it all up a big empty, we really

Are here for nonprofits and we work with more than one tool we understand all these back office processes and

And it's really that informs how we help you on board into this tool. And as you can see here, one of our great clients john talks about the onboarding process and how he couldn't imagine implementing some of these great technology tools without GMT.

So let's talk about that technology we've all been through. Well, a living nightmare really since March, and I think it's safe to say that we all understand now in 2020 there is no excuse.

For working without data technology, day after day, I talked to nonprofits who are still on an on premise system.

I just spoke to someone, this morning, due to the fact that they were on an on premise system. They literally were never able to go and work from home and they've been very lucky because they're in a remote area and there aren't

That just aren't very many coven cases near them, and no one in their offices tested positive but they literally their finance team has been working in the office.

Nonstop just like a regular year because they had no choice. They simply couldn't get to their accounting software from home. So there's an excuse. I think they all know there is no excuse, I should say.

They're all acknowledging look we've got to get on something different, because we don't want to go through this again. And so

Really technology is at the bottom at the foundation. I shouldn't say of what we're talking about here today.

So let's talk about how this technology can help. But first, let's back up and talk about what we have seen in our many years in business.

With nonprofit organizations, we're going to talk about your nonprofit budget process as we have seen it. We're going to talk about

Sort of some averages and we talked first with usually the process of creating a budget. We've seen an average, about four to six months. We also see what people in nonprofits call collaboration. I put in quotation marks is really just emailing spreadsheets around in many cases.

And you know basically everyone gets a spreadsheet. I always say, you can always make a PowerPoint deck better if you throw a picture over in there somewhere.

So let's stop here. We're going to try to make this a little bit interactive Megan has a poll question for you, and I believe it is about how many people

Are involved in your budgeting process at your organization. Let's just have a little fun and get some interaction going and see

What we're saying, I'm talking about people that might need to contribute to the creation of the budget is where I'm going with this question be interesting to see what kind of results we might get

Megan Mendiola: Yeah, and besides just saw chat poll. You should see on your screen. And we have a good number of votes coming in already here. So we'll give that a couple more seconds for people to cast their votes.

So far, the overwhelming number is 10 plus

Andy Harleman: Well, well, that's not surprising, I would say, maybe, maybe next time we should make the question more like 10 plus 20 plus 30 plus to see how big it gets because we do

We do talk to a lot of organizations. It's really fascinating.

When they talk about one spreadsheet being emailed to 40 different people and and that's the kind of thing we're going to talk about fixing here in the rest of this webinar here today. So how's the how's the results look and now am I getting ready to post them.

Megan Mendiola: Yeah, yeah. I will go ahead and share them now. But you can see, you should see the polling results on your screen 67% of people said 10 plus. No one said, just one and there was 17% of two to four and 17% of five plus

Andy Harleman: Yeah, not surprising at all. And maybe next time we'll try to do with will break that down more than just 10 plus because I would be really curious to see if anyone on this call is like 50 plus or anything like that.

We do see that sometimes

So let's keep going then.

You have to someone in your finance department. I'm guessing. Many of the people who have chosen to attend this call here today.

I saw some names of people I already know and I happen to know for a fact that some of you are the very ones who are the lucky ones who get to take those spreadsheets after they've been emailed to 20 program managers.

And 20 different versions or emailed back to you and you're the lucky one who gets to spend your time linking it all together right into your master giant Excel workbook. And so, you know, if we we make light of it with this cartoon. But that's really not funny. And in a major way here.

This is the kind of inefficiency that we really want to help.

You solve today and it really just comes down to those spreadsheets, so

You know, What we have found this year. That's very interesting, of course, is it always happens that Things change right you lose a grant or you get a grant or all kinds of things can happen in the world that make you need to recast your budget, but

This year we've seen it with code that has just been intensified in so many ways.

We had a client back in March. Tell me, hey, listen, we were very fortunate we got some PPP funds and we also got some other extra funds to help us. But we already had.

Those expenses were already allocated to be paid for by a different grant. We had which expires June 30. So while it's great to get new money if I don't spend that other money.

Then it goes away. And it was a nice problem to have. For this nonprofit certainly better than the nonprofits who aren't surviving but still this required a lot of manipulation of The plan to be able to figure out exactly how to move things around to preserve all that funding.

And so that's really the kind of question that we're looking at, help you answer today. And so, as things change. And you know your board might need a new plan as soon as possible, and you

Are the person who has to quickly change all the previous

Assumptions collaborate with your sudden suddenly remote workforce and many of us, thankfully, are able to start, I'm hearing more and more

Of our clients, getting back to the office, but it really depends on where you are, what state you're in. I know in, you know, certain places the hot beds like New York, you're just not seeing it as much.

But you also can't afford to waste your time on data collection or data entry and you really want to be spending your time making strategic decisions and recommendations on that data.

But yet, sometimes. Another assumption changing. You have to do it all over again. We were seeing through the coven times that literally some of these assumptions were changing our early. It was ridiculous.

Sometimes for the better. But still, you get the idea, doing all of that with a big Excel workbook. So I'm gonna let me go back. Let's do our second poll question here. Megan, let's ask the question.

And this question is about number of Excel sheets and what I mean is not workbooks but sheets within workbook. So if you have one workbook with 15 tabs that would be 15 so just curious, how many again.

People on the call. How many Excel worksheets. Does your budget contain and we have a little bit more granular granularity to

The questions and the numbers on this particular one. But this is all we've done this similar poll question before and out. Let's see how you compare to previous groups that we've asked this question. It's a, it's one of those things where we we always say, look,

Microsoft Excel is probably the most ubiquitous widely used tool in any finance department and certainly I haven't met a nonprofit finance person yet who isn't a real expert in Microsoft Excel.

Give it a few moments for Tim. How's the polling so far. Megan.

Megan Mendiola: It's going well I think last time we did have a couple of 50. Plus, I'm not seeing any of those yet, but we do have majority is intend to 20 and it looks like we've had a majority of our boats come in now. So, and if you're ready for me to share

I will share it before.

Yeah, so you should be able to see the results. Now we have majority of 10 to 20 where sheets, but we also have 20 to 30 has a couple of those and then one for zero to five, so think their results are a little different than last time. But still, so pretty similar, Andy.

Andy Harleman: Yeah, well, Congrats to whoever zero to five, because that's on the low end and that is a lot more manageable than the
four people who are in that 20 to 30 range. But anyway, thank you. I hope this keeps a little bit interactive and fun for you. But obviously this is what we're trying to solve for you today.

It's more than just, hey, how do I get rid of Excel problems, but that's a big part of the inefficiency that we see.

In a nonprofit budgeting process so Let's get on with my presentation here. So the back to the question you have to do all those things we were talking about, well, no problem with Them.

Then it basically takes all the good things about Excel and gets rid of all the bad things.

I was just talking about one of the good things, everyone already knows how to use Excel. We always say if you know Excel. You're 50 60% of the way there with men.

And so essentially the problem with Excel is things like you don't have workflow. You don't have real collaboration. You got version problems and audit trail problems. You can't really scale it

It doesn't integrate its data is stored in the cell of each sheets. Each cell of each sheet and not really tied to a secure cloud database. Well, all of that is what changes within

You can have workflow. You can have collaboration and have version. There is one version of the truth and that is it. You can do complex modeling and so forth. We're going to get into that here in a moment.

It also allows you to do to make it much easier for your staff. This is an example of an actual annual budget.

Plan in the event, a system where you're able to set up workflow. As you can see some of these things here. Desi Dino workflow.

You're actually able to set up workflow, you actually able to make it very easy for staff to understand what is in their

Responsibility and what isn't. And you can then monitor as will show you later how things are going.

Finally, it allows you to take all of that this isn't just about making a budget, we're going to focus on that today, but this is far more about the strategic decisions you make.

Based on that data and able to report in ways like what you see here, this is an example of an actual board ready report right out of the vendor tool so

Let's let me get into that, let me go into the system. Now,

Bear with me while I pull this up, make sure I've got it. Here we go. So I logged into Venice solutions.

And I just have to, I went to their browser, you can go to any web browser you prefer. I use Google Chrome. That's what I'm in right now. So I'm going to go ahead and login as you can see here there's a login Screen.
Now it I use Google Chrome. It remembers my name and password. So I'm logging in.

And now this is our demo system. And I'm going to click on this contributor tab first

So as a contributor. I'm going to have certain things that I can do and I'm going to show you that, but I'm going to start sort of with the end in mind.

I'm going to start with an example of a report. Actually, I could see the same report from a manager, but let's say I'm trying to get a sense of some data.

Let me look at this expense variance analysis report now what I'm going to do if you're looking quickly, you'll see at the bottom left of my screen. It's going to take

And take an Excel data table and populated for me. So it's downloading it very quickly here and it's using the internet to do that, of course, now I'm just opening this Excel book. Here it is.

It's now it's essentially what it's doing is it's it's loading this Excel template with data straight from the secure vendor database.

So I'm going to go ahead and look at one little messages to report. I'm going to look at one little section of data. Think I can just keep it where it is.

So it's going to load that data because I wanted to ask me. It was using dimensions.

To sort my data if I wanted to. So let's just say I'm going to go through a simple exercise here to illustrate the point of how it can work for you. Let's say I'm looking at my operating expenses here.

And I come down and I find my general operating expenses, and I go down here to recruitment and I see that I've got a bunch of blanks for these different areas. And let's say for my forecast for Q2. I've got a certain amount there.

Let's go in.

And I want you to just remember that, well, how this looks. And then we're going to go back over to the vendor cloud.

And I'm going to change something, and then you'll see what happens. So remember, that's a, that's a reporting system. But back to being a contributor. Let's say instead of getting

A Microsoft Excel nightmare workbook emailed to me, I'm a Program person and my job. I am asked by finance to populate my budget my expenses.

In this case, we're going to focus on expenses and then it needs to flow back into the cloud database and be available for everyone else. So instead of getting an email with an attachment that I download and

My own version of Excel that I have to save as an email back. I'm just going to go to this detailed objects input. Now watch again.

See it has, it says, you want to check this out. What this means is that I am when I check this out. I am the only person in this organization who now has a certain piece of the data.

That I am touching, so no one else can change this data as long as I've got this checked out. Think of it like a library you check a library book out

Nobody else can read it while you've got it checked out. And that's good controls here because you don't want multiple people changing the same kind of data, of course, in your budget. So I'm going to check this out.

And again it just loaded it so I'm pulling this up now. Now this is an Excel sheet as you're going to see in just a moment.

But it is pulling the data from the secure cloud now.

Make sure I choose my dimensions that I need for this particular

Demo. And, you know, dimensional chart of accounts in this works very well with a tool like in tech that has a dimensional Chart of Accounts structure or MIT, you might call them segments.

But it really dimension allies is your data. I'm going to focus on my forecast scenario. And I'm going to focus on my San Francisco entity.

And hit OK. Now it's loading that day while I was living. Let me point out something. This is actually my Excel on my desktop. The difference if

keen eyes may have noted this tab up here, this vendor tab you you load one plug in into your Excel, which takes about 60 seconds to load. And then from then on, you've got it and all it's doing

The analogy I would use is when you go to a regular website for anything. Let's say you go to, I don't know your favorite online commerce website and you buy something, the web page you're on.

Has fields that you populate maybe here's I want to buy a blouse. That's size L.

purple color or whatever you're populating those data points into fields on your web browser. And then when you hit enter, refresh, or whatever it ties into the cloud database, wherever that might be. This is the same thing. The only difference is the front end, the place where you're entering that data happens to be Excel.

But, but it ties in securely to the cloud, if that makes sense. So I'm going to go on here and I'm going to enter my data. So if we go back to what I was talking about before.

With recruitment. I'm going to do recruitment and I'm going to go to this one here. I'm going to put in a number like let's say I don't know, let's say I'm going to do 97 854

As my recruitment expenses. Now that's a big change, isn't it, I can make an a comment here. We need to hire some folks.

And now I will save this to make it very simple. I'm just going to do this one entry. But imagine if you have dozens and dozens of entries that you want to make. So because I saved this data when I actually lose it first.

Well, this is user error. I am not sure what I did. I'm in edit mode. Oh, I know what I did. I opened it. That's an Excel function that I did wrong, but you saw before on that other report that I had up

Which is the this one here.

Where I had my might have been this one, sorry.

Same one, sorry.

It is this one. Okay, where I was looking at my recruitment expense and you saw before this at 8888 well that was entered in the same thing here. In a previous meeting. And so I was able to very simply just simply save it and then it flows through automatically

To this report where it resides. I don't have to pass this thing around. It's tied in directly to the van a database. Now another thing that happens. It's really cool is once that's in there are there are other things you can do. So again, remember this is actually a secure cloud database. So it populates actually from previous periods, because I'm able to actually integrate this with my general ledger. There are some tools like intact that have a pre built integration with Vienna.

But there are others that are more even the older on premise tools, we can simply point to an Excel output file from one of those and pull the data in. So you're actually populate if I go back over here to my

My actual Sorry I keep opening the wrong one. I apologize for that. And if I go back over here and I look at some of these other numbers. Let's say here some other things you can do. You may have. You may have noticed that I have some

Ability to look into some certain other data. And so I can say, click on one of these and look at an audit trail.

In this case, there

There aren't any things showing but you have your actual ability to see the, the numbers that are in the system, you have the ability to do drill saves and drill down. So let's say I want to see the same let's say who's changed this data over time.

Now on that cell.

And then we have the ability to do transactions, we can see actual transactions. These came straight from my general ledger system.

Right into the system. So all of this is happening on an Excel sheet because it's really happening in the cloud.

On the back end again. Apologies for the user error here. I didn't check. I had too many security restrictions set up on my Excel before this. And that's, that's my fault. I was supposed to turn some of those off.

The top of the hour in my mistake. But I hope you get the idea. This

This thing can do a lot more than simply emailing around spreadsheets. The other thing that we want to make sure we highlight in this brief time that we have together. If I go back over here to this manager role, you can see

Something like here's my NFP budget creation process.

This is the actual workflow that I've designed, I can actually move things around and set up different steps and so forth. And this this really gives you a visual graphic, but also sets the rules for how your budget is created.

We also have our status tracker and this is the part that I think is really interesting. All those things that you've assigned you can check on how people are doing. So you send out your, your

You ask, you know, your 20 program people to enter their data was some of them maybe haven't done it yet.

Some of them have and you can see where it stands, you can see any tests that are overdue and so forth. So this is a way for you to really monitor it, and keep on top of this to make sure that you're not spending your time.

You know, chasing around people who don't need to be chased around to that you are giving a little nudges

Were needed to help manage the staff. So what it really comes down to, with all of this is that we're, we're, we really want to help you spend your time on the high

Value tasks, you know, we always have this stuff about the burrito principle and 80% of your time and 80/20 rule. So right now, far too many nonprofit finance people we talked to our spending 80% of their time on data gathering and only 20 on that analysis.

With this, you would be able to flip that and you won't have to spend your time emailing and receiving versions are doing an Excel gymnastics or looking for those dreaded formula errors.

Or checking on the progress because you have a status tracker, and most importantly, you won't have to put off your executive director or your board because you will be on top of the stuff and you will be in that analytical and strategic

So how do we, how can we make this be your reality JM T has figured a way in the last few months. What we've realized is that we want to make this as easy as possible for organizations. Typically, this involves, you know, an annual subscription and GMT and implementation fees.

What we've done now is we have a way that we can do all this for you for an affordable monthly fee. We will handle the administration of the model for you. We can get people up and running in a very

You know, keep in mind, this would be a very bare bones sort of system, but we could get you up and running in as quickly as 10 days.

Some of our clients want to take a little bit more time than that, but we don't want you to feel like, oh gosh, it's going to be a six month implementation. Now we can go very, very quickly. And we can make this be your reality so

The next step for anyone who's interested in hearing more would be to talk to. Megan. Megan.

I know you're setting up 15 MINUTE QUICK assessments with anyone.

And your emails on the screen as well as Your phone number. And I know you're going to say a couple things about how you are going to follow up here, but I just want to end by saying, hey, by Labor Day. This could be you. You could be relaxed. You could be chillin because you don't have to worry about.

All the excels that are getting email around anymore. So Megan, what would you like to Take us to the close here.

Megan Mendiola: Yeah. Thank you Andy and we definitely want to help you feel like that picture. So we definitely want to help that BU.

I wanted to say, I don't see any questions come through. But if you did have a question after today's webinar.

You'll definitely have the opportunity to ask me because I want to take a minute to tell you how the follow up process for this is going to look like.

So as Andy said, I'll be reaching out to all of you through a phone call following today's webinar, just for a more personalized discussion have been and how it may fit your organization's budgeting and planning me

I'd love to hear from you. Just more about your organization and share with you a little bit more about Vena.

And once we make sure there's a fit there we can jump into a more personalized discussion about how we can get you up and running very quickly within it and go from there.

So just be looking out for that phone call from me this afternoon. I'm looking forward to connecting with you all.

And the last thing before we close out today. Andy I wanted to let everyone know. We do have another webinar coming up on August 26

Over the power of integrating Cena with another one of our software partners with Sage intact.

So we're looking forward to that one as well. And we definitely recommend getting registered. If you were on today's webinar.

That webinar is free and you can register at JM T consulting.com under the Events tab. So again, I'm looking forward to connecting with you all. And that's all I have for today, Andy. Is there anything else you want to add before we close out the webinar today.

Andy Harleman: Just want to say thank you to everyone for joining us today. I do see. We do have an a question that came through. So I'll go ahead and answer I want to respect everyone else's time if anyone else wants to jump.

Our feelings won't be hurt. We understand we said it was a half an hour, but I'm happy to stay and answer this question.

Which is how does forecasting work and then a budget versus actual reporting tied to the GL. Yeah, well it's I only showed you obviously the tip of the iceberg. So forecasting is very dynamic and allows you to do.

I think it would be fair to say how, wouldn't it work because it really, it can do virtually any type of forecasting. If you want to do. If you think about what's good about Excel, for example, think about formulas and things that you can use.

To take a set of assumptions like actual rules and forecast them out. You can all of that is available to you within the system. In the same way, so we would love to get together with anyone within show you more about specifically things like concepts like for testing in the tool.

So any other I think that is also

Megan Mendiola: I think that's all the questions. I don't see any more that have come through the Q&A or the chat.

But again, just a reminder, I will be following up. So if you did have a question that you forgot to ask or came to you after, no worries. You can definitely ask me that when I follow up and so

I think, I think we're good to go. I know we're a little past time. So we just appreciate everyone for joining us today for this presentation, and we hope that everyone has a wonderful rest of the day and I look forward to connecting with you soon.

Thank you. Thank you all.

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