The Tale of Two Best-in-Class ERPs: How to Evaluate Which is the Right Fit for Your Nonprofit

Community Brands MIP and Sage Intacct — both are best-in-class ERP solutions that JMT Consulting has meticulously vetted and chosen to recommend and support for our nonprofit clients. But what makes them different, and how do we determine which can best support the mission advancement of each unique organization we work with?

In this session, we evaluate these two industry-leading solutions and the decision-making process we go through as we make a recommendation for one over the other for our clients.

During the session, we:

  • Discuss the benefits and features of Sage Intacct and MIP
  • Help you determine which platform is better suited for your organization’s financial back office

Interested in learning more about one or both of these systems to find the best fit for your nonprofit?

Andy Harleman: Well Hello everyone, and thank you for joining us today for this webinar about two best in class ERPs and evaluating which is right for your nonprofit the two we're going to talk about today, of course, is sage intacct and MIP fund accounting.

So what we're going to cover here today is a couple things, first I want to make sure everyone understands that if you have a question, we would prefer that you submit your questions on the control panel.

And we'll get to all questions at the end, and then we will provide this recording and slides to all of the attendees here at the conclusion of this meeting.

What we're going to cover today first is background about me i'm the director of sales here at jm T consulting and i've worked in.

nonprofits I helped found a social service agency right out of college and then I served on the Governing Board for St Louis based nonprofit for quite a few years and i've been consulting to nonprofits since 2006.

What I want to do for today's meeting is cover the background on GMT a little bit about who we are, why what our credentials are and why we're here to talk about what we're talking about today.

How we at jm T evaluate the solutions that we recommend to our clients, the two that we're talking about today, in particular, the key benefits of both of those and then we're going to just show you how they work and give you a little bit of a test drive so.

JMT is a firm that was founded, for the sole purpose of working with nonprofit organizations, so your mission and your nonprofit is our business.

We are known for having thousands of happy nonprofit clients for rapid and affordable implementations and we're small enough to provide exceptional and personalized service.

but also large enough that we can scale we can handle any size of implementation, from a finance department, with one or two people to finance department of 20 or 30 people.

We can scale and we've worked with all types and sizes of nonprofits so, as I said, we were built by a team of people.

dedicated to serving nonprofits and it all started with our founder Jackie to Jacqueline empty so that's where the GMT comes from so Jackie was herself a finance professional in several nonprofit organizations.

Prior to founding JMT and, in fact, she was a customer a buyer of several software implementations and she founded JMT 30 years ago this year.

because she was really less than pleased with some of the service, she got when she was a buyer and she felt that.

JMT could do far better, and so a real big part of who we are, is the idea that Jackie knows and understands what it's like, on the other side of the desk and she designed our firm.

To provide exactly what a nonprofit needs when you're in that situation so we've grown she started the business in New York.

And you can see, the green dots roughly approximate where we have clients, we have offices in several places throughout the United States, and even in Australia.

Before covid, we would come to you, wherever you were but we quickly switch to a zoom.

Implementation style and so it's even easier now wherever you are we can work with you, you don't have to be near any of our offices, but if you are and have covered over what's up, we welcome you to stop by.

These are some of the great nonprofit organizations that jm T supports, as you can see.

All different types of missions and all different types of organizations and I can tell you how great we are all day long, but I think it's always great to hear from our clients.

This is Anthony from our educational alliance client, you know really sums up that we know nonprofits and bet.

identifying them and focusing solely on that is what what any nonprofit would want in a consulting group and so that's absolutely very meaningful to us because that's exactly why we were founded so.

We want to emphasize that we are independent, we are not a software publisher and here's what that means to you why that should be important first.

Our commitment is to you the customer we're not beholden to any one software, frankly, if a software becomes less if it doesn't keep up and it's no longer good for nonprofits we're going to stop recommending it.

If you work with a software publisher they're always going to tell you that their tool is the right tool for you, whereas jm T can be objective about it.

We curate only the best solutions we gather all the different software products that are out in the marketplace and represent.

A whole variety of them, so that we can bring to you the best built for you solution.

That you need, and so this chart sort of helps illustrate that if you look at the in the wheel there, these are all the different areas that you might find within the business operation of a nonprofit organization and you can see JMT has all of these different.

Software products that we work with that help support these different areas of your business so today we're going to focus on these two here in the sort of.

upper left-hand corner MIT and intact that have to do with the accounting side of nonprofits.

And another great quote from one of our clients john at cancer care New York talks about our onboarding process and how knowing nonprofits really made the difference to him and.

That with the onboarding of the software that he was using and he said the kindest thing, which is after it was done, he couldn't imagine doing it without us.

And so it means a lot to us to hear quotes from people like john who you know do really great work for people in the Community who are suffering through a cancer diagnosis.

So let's talk now about signs it's time to make a change, presumably, you may be on this call here today because.

you're thinking it may be time for you to look at additional are different accounting software so here are some of the signs that we've seen over the years.

That it's time to make a change first you see a workaround for everything and usually that work around means spreadsheets a lot of spreadsheets i've seen some incredible spreadsheets over the years it's amazing.

How a 40 page workbook to do an indirect cost allocation can be designed in excel i've seen it and these things happen so a lot of times there are workarounds like that.

Often there is a lack of transparency and oversight it's just difficult to get the visibility, you need.

And sometimes that then means that you have to go without the level of oversight or transparency that's ideal for your organization, it also.

can lead to things like an audit trail that goes nowhere lower end software off and let you make changes, without even tracking it and the audit log.

That is a no, no, not only you know, does it doesn't mean that it would be easy easier, I should say to defraud the organization, but it means that.

An honest person who isn't dividing could accidentally be accused of it because there's no audit trail, and so we don't want that, and then we also see.

Just manual tasks that overwhelm accounting just lack of automation around a lot of things and a lot of human error.

abounding in your organization so i'll give you an example, these days, we see a lot of systems that automate purchase orders and HR acquisitions and.

check requests and things like that well if you've still got a manual process where you're literally mailing.

Paper around to people or something like that that is typically a sign that it may be time to make a change, I will tell you there's one particular organization i've talked to.

In New York City who literally tells the tale of 10s of thousands of paper invoices traveling by subway throughout the five boroughs of New York to get back to the Office for.

Reimbursement that's an example of a manual task, and perhaps a time for that organization to make a change as an example.

So when GMT decides what software publishers were you, we are going to partner with we apply what I like to call our litmus test.

The first thing on that litmus test is any software, the jam to works with for nonprofit accounting must have what we call a multi dimensional table driven chart of accounts.

No more of the old linear strings where you have 50 pages of pre built strings and every combination of different digits means a different thing.

that's yesterday's technology that doesn't work in nonprofits nonprofits have too much complexity around having to track funds or grants or GMOs or departments or programs.

or whatever it means or any combination of them, the old linear string is yesterday's news we must see a table driven chart of accounts at jm T.

We want to see a powerful reporting tool.

At the detail that you need I mentioned some of that by fun by grant by program all of that cross fiscal year if you're grant funded your grant or does not care what your fiscal year is your grandpa or once.

Their reports on their year and that very well, might be different than your year, and you know add 510 1520 grants that all have different fiscal years you need a report writer that can report on any fiscal year that's critical for jm T when we assess nonprofit accounting software.

These days we really recommend dashboards and visualization we want you to have better visibility, I talked earlier about signs that you need.

New software lack of visibility is one of them well dashboards is today's technology and it allows you to have that true visualization.

into your data, and that is key for you to be able to make strategic decisions, it also must be, and this is huge, it must be intuitive and usable.

Powerful accounting software that is too hard to use unless you have an IT degree really doesn't do you much good and finance, I talked to a very smart finance person, one of our client offices.

Before they switched, and the reason they switched she at the time was talking to me, she said.

Just to do a balance sheet, you had to call it for help and it's because it involves some kind of coding or scripting.

So that is not a usable tool, no matter how powerful that tool might have been.

If you are in finance and you are really smart and you know all things about finance and you know the English language and you can't run a report that is.

That is not a usable system, so we recommend usability for sure, and then, of course.

automation of those routine tasks like what I mentioned before you shouldn't have receipts traveling around by subway.

In the five boroughs of New York, you should have an automated system, for example, so.

too strong options both of these GMT works with and both of these paths are litmus test with flying colors first let's talk about MIT first thing I want to say about it is MIT has been around for a long time.

If you're in nonprofit accounting you've likely heard of MIT because it has been here for three decades, it is a what our founder Jackie calls a workhorse.

MIP is reliable strong does all the great fund accounting everything you need and it always has so you can just count on them to keep that focus.

The all the required nonprofit financial reports come out of the box with MIT.

And it doesn't call the p&l is called a statement of revenues and expenditures, for example, and all the other things that you have to do.

In nonprofit finance all those required reports that come with the system, and you can configure them to run by any.

Part of your chart of accounts if you'd, like many other key many of the key reports are available in the dashboard.

That MIP cloud provides to you, and that gives you that visibility, we were talking about earlier, it is definitely known as a user friendly system.

There are many, many people who have been using MIT for years and can do all kinds of really impressive things because it's just very user friendly, easy to understand how.

To move things around and get the report and exactly the format you want, for example.

It also is known, because it has an attractive entry level price point for true nonprofit accounting.

I want to be clear that jm T doesn't work with true like low end software like bookkeeping software like quickbooks or peach tree or something.

You know, there are a lot of nonprofits that are using those tools and those tools are really cheap like 400 bucks at office depot or something like that.

The next step up is when you get into real true nonprofit focus software like this, and so MIT is a great fit for those organizations, for example, that are that are looking to do that, next step up.

But I wanted to clear, nothing is going to be down at the quickbooks level of price and truly you do get what you pay for there so keep that in mind.

Now we're going to highlight sage intact so phase in tech is truly the latest generation of technology and my P was around 30 years ago.

And it was written in different technology platforms intact, has not been around that long when in tech was created, I believe it's 15 or so years ago it was written, only to be cloud deployed, and it is written in the latest.

generation of technology, it is what they call the Multi tenant software as a service solution.

And that latest technology generation means that it has things like very powerful integrations.

They have over 400 marketplace partners, and I would say that's kind of like the APP store on your iPhone.

where you can you know get all kinds of different Apps at work and integrate seamlessly on your actual phone and that's enabled by that technology that sage intact is built upon.

It has very flexible reporting with with extremely detailed drill down capabilities so you're able to move things around and intact and some pretty impressive ways.

And, as I said, get that real visibility, all the way back to transaction level detail sage intact, provide a statistical journal, so that you can track key performance indicators.

These days, a lot of nonprofits aren't are looking to talk about things like cost per patient served as an example.

That patient, the number of patients served, for example, is a statistical value and there's a computation between that and dollars, giving you the the metric that I mentioned, which is cost per.

person serve, and so that statistical Journal and in tech enables that level of reporting and then therefore allows you to you know publish that information out to your board or whomever.

It is a completely configurable dashboard MIT has a good dashboard and a lot of the reports are on there, but in text takes it to another level is completely configurable by the end user, you can put anything you can find within the system onto your dashboard.

And it really has an extended feature set that goes far beyond traditional accounting that includes time and expense.

timesheets workflows so, for example, a lot of organizations, if you do payroll in house, then you might have time sheets just for payroll, but a lot of organizations, maybe they use an outsource payroll provider.

But they want to have time sheets to be able to to a lot and allocate staff time towards different grants or funding sources or what have you and so sage intact provides that.

It is extremely flexible, therefore, can fit the needs of smaller nonprofits there are organizations with one and two users.

On stage in tech, but it scales and scales is particularly well, we have organizations that are half a million, excuse me, half a billion dollars in annual revenue.

That are using sage intact, so it can work with a small, two and three and $4 million annual revenue organization, all the way up to the really big ones as well, and so it has a lot of flexibility to do that scale.

sage intacct is also endorsed by Ai CPA and it gets a lot of accolades on the G to crowd website, which really is a.

place where real users are able to log their feedback on the product, so it certainly getting a lot of accolades these days as well, so.

Enough of me telling you about all this stuff let's take a look and see how these two software's work, so let me make sure that I get this.

Closed out properly i'm going to start with the MIT, as you can see, I am using a browser I happen to be using.

Different tabs on my browser but any cloud solution, you know allows you to do that, so any of the benefits of working with your actual browser.

convenience of having a tab open here, for example, all that is available to you, so this is an MIT dashboard, as you can see, this is just a general dashboard that i've chosen and.

This is the default dashboard and you can see some of the things that are on here and again this is sample data, so of course some of these things may look alarming like year to date netted coming in the negative.

But you can see, you can do nice things with with these dashboards like actually hover over them click on them and then they'll give you more detail behind them, so this actually is the expense by designation.

And it shows you, you know the different areas that are that are comprising that actual report if you'd like to see that and i'm going to go back.

You can do that with all these all these other reports, and you can, for example, click on this outstanding receivables and it will show you the actual codes behind it and you can do some drill down into the actual GL codes.

To see some of the documents that make up that number so it's nice it gives you a lot of ability to get that visibility back into the system, there are other dashboards that come with the MIT cloud, and you can see some of them like i'll give you an example ap.

And ap dashboard and then you have you know ar.

And we can even look at things like cash management.

Financial performance and so forth, so let's grab a couple, this is an executive view dashboard.

And the financial performance dashboard.

So, as you can see a lot of good stuff in here if you're used to MIT if you've used it in the past, and you use the version that were it was installed like on a local.

server back before cloud accounting became the norm this looks a lot different than how an IP used to look.

But underneath it all you still have the option if you wanted to go and use the whatever called classic MIP.

And there is on this page that had logged into previously, this is your homepage for your MIT cloud, and you wouldn't necessarily have all these things here if you didn't purchase them, but if you want to you can still access the original am IP that would be in the.

In the classic layout that you would show, and I think I got timed out of that session so i'll just leave it alone, you can do other things within the MIT dashboard as well, including, for example, you can pay invoices right from here.

And you can obviously run reports so i'll give you an example of some of the reports let's look at a financial statement.

let's just do a statement of revenues and expenditures.

And i'll just view this one this board revenue and expenditure report.

So it's generating that report for me again it's sample data and I didn't check to the parameters on it to make sure we have numbers, we do have some numbers, but you can see, it goes, all the way back.

To this report straight from that dashboard where we were and it even has you know multi pages on this report.

So it gives you a lot of that flexibility that we were talking about and that visibility and getting two things from your right from your dashboard.

And MIP, as I said, as a solid workhorse it has been around for a long time, it does all the classic things you need to be able to do in nonprofit accounting pure fund accounting, if you like, you know.

auto entries everything that you would expect an accounting system MIT has that for you.

Now i'm going to show you over into sage intact next I have actually this tab I know it gets the right one, eventually, so I have logged into another sample database, this is agent now.

On this particular example i'm logged into a CFO dashboard.

And there are different ones that you can see, I have different dashboards at my disposal now.

Again sample data so some of these numbers may not make sense, but you can see, you can have these things like performance cards here on the top that call them where you can track different things.

This particular user decided they wanted to have a news feed from CNN straight onto their dashboard you can do things like that, and he feed or something from.

from other websites and then you have you know really good things like you can actually link to your Google drive storage, if you wanted to and Nice trending reports.

Revenue mix reports as an example, let me give an example, a little bit of the difference if I open up this statement of activities report here from this particular dashboard.

first thing that probably jumps out at you is that this report has a lot of color on it and I like to tell the story that I was on a nonprofit board where one of our board members, unfortunately, was not.

trained in finance a wonderful person that just didn't really know financing so when we would look at board report, sometimes this person would.

spend a little too much time on what I would call him material things like a 17% variance and that's natural and nonprofits there are a lot of consumers of data and nonprofit.

Who are not necessarily finance people like board members or program people, maybe you've got great program people and they're responsible to know generally.

That they're not losing money but they're not you know they don't make their living doing finance they make their living providing the program and so.

making it easier for non finance people to understand finance reports is one of the things that does with this conditional highlighting in this example dark red is bad bad bad right.

moderately red is bad, but not horrible right and then you've got your Greens at different shades of green, so this really draws attention.

The eyes to you know the part the report, the numbers that really make sense to you, and then you can actually drill right from this report and blow out some of these numbers, so if I wanted to, for example, look at contributions I can actually expand this line.

And then it actually breaks out the particular GL number that makes up contributions, and if there were more than one they would have all appeared here.

But this is something you can do right from this report let's say I want to, I want to look at this actual number of 69,000 What it does is it actually creates a report, right here.

On another window pops up in my browser and here's all the way back to this general ledger report, then, if I look at this actual individual transaction, the same thing I click it.

It opens up a new report, although I don't have.

permissions to look at that particular thing in the login I have, but you would be able to go all the way back to the individual transactions, if you desired and you might have noticed.

All it did was open new pop up windows in my browser but I was, I never left, where I was i'm right back to this original report.

And so it gives you as you can see a little bit more power in its dashboards and perhaps MIT done did, and that has to do with that technology.

That I mentioned before, so stage in tech has some of the things you can see, about it.

Its flexibility with its dashboards I have many more dashboards and all of these are user defined and just built so here would be an example of an outcome dashboard maybe you have.

Maybe your clinic and you want to track things like what's your revenue generated by each clinician or how many clinicians you have working.

This can all be done this was done actually as a use case scenario for an organization that actually ended up being one of our clients who does this very metric.

And so, this is there's a lot of flexibility to make any kind of dashboard you want, and then, as long as you have permission to do so if you hit this plus key.

You can add anything you want to your dashboard so what I mentioned completely configurable dashboards you're not given a dashboard layout and.

and told that that's the dashboard what it instead you're given as a completely blank slate and the ability to add to it whatever you want, so in this example, for example, I could go out and find say.

Reports right from my system that I wanted to add to this particular dashboard if I so chose that of course is subject to permission, so you get a sense here of.

The flexibility and technology there and then what sage intact also gives you I mentioned some of the other things that it has.

built right in including not just your standard GL and ap and they are but purchasing time and expense and many other things.

So it is a very flexible tool and I think you just get a sense from looking at this, that it is truly the latest greatest most modern technology that you can have so.

I don't want to belabor the point, and obviously we want everyone here, to be able to explore either of these two products with us in more detail jm T what we do is we, we talked to all of you.

And we understand your needs, including budget, maybe you have a very limited budget for a new system and that's going to inform our recommendation, for example.

Maybe you don't maybe the other other extreme, and you need to really invest in something and that extends out more.

And so that would also inform our recommendation so part everything we do, though, comes down to that first session and talking to you and understanding your needs to make a recommendation, and so I come back to what i'm saying here, which is slideshow from current slide.

We want everyone to book a consultation with jm T and when you do will give you an Amazon gift card are be entered to win an Amazon gift cards ships right now the drawing is.

Wednesday the 24th so For those of you who are watching the recording of this after the fact, sorry you missed the deadline, but nonetheless, we want to talk to you jm T consulting COM slash chat.

And you can go there and we, the main, the most important thing isn't the Amazon gift card, though of course we hope you win.

The most important thing is a quick consultation with one of us will talk to you about your needs will make a recommendation will help you.

Have personalized looks at these systems and have it be centered around your specific needs in your organization, not just a general high level webcast like what you saw today.

So I really appreciate everyone's time here today don't see any questions coming through but don't hesitate to send us any questions in the future.

You can go to that website there jm T consulting COM slash chat we're happy to answer any particular questions so really appreciate everyone's time here today.

Thank you for what you do in the nonprofit industry every single organization, we work with touches us in some way.

and inspires us to keep doing what we do, so thank you to all of you who have chosen a career to working in nonprofit organizations thanks and have a great rest of your day.

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