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The Technology Playbook for Community Action Agencies: Modernize Your Tech & Achieve Better Outcomes

In order to successfully improve living conditions and increase self-sufficiency in our most vulnerable populations, Community Action Agencies must focus on achieving their missions while running their organizations in a fiscally efficient way.

In this session, we show you how to leverage modern technology to help your organization better meet the needs of the communities you serve. Find out how Sage Intacct’s robust accounting system can simplify:

  • Community Services Block Grants reporting
  • Standard nonprofit financial reporting
  • Allocating indirect costs to programs and grants
  • Tracking non-financial information, such as program participation rate, for reporting on ROMA (Results Oriented Management & Accountability)

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

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

We're very excited to have our very own at Harlem in here with us to lead us in today's webinar over the technology playbook for Community Action agencies.

How to modernize your tech to achieve better outcomes. I want to share just a couple of housekeeping notes before I turn it over to Andy

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

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

Also, just a quick 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 introduce Andy Harlem into all and he lives in St. Louis, and he is the Director of Sales here at JMP. She also has an extensive nonprofit nonprofit background.

He helped found a social services agency and served as an administrative director there. He also served on the governing board of a nonprofit in St. Louis. He has been consulting to nonprofits since 2006. And now, Andy. I'll go ahead and turn it over to you to get started.

Andy Harleman: Thank you, Megan, appreciate it. And I thank everyone for taking time out of your day to join us today.

We're very excited to talk to you about how JM T can help you modernize your back office in your community action organization.

I want to start by just saying we've been through a lot this year we've all been unprecedented times, as they say, and

I think if there's one silver lining that's come from this covert situation is that we've realized there really is no excuse for having outdated technology, and I hope that many of you are on the call here today.

With that in mind, the idea that old legacy technology really was a major liability during the

Stay At Home orders that most of us had to endure. So that's what this is all about here is helping find the right technology for you to modernize and to be

Working you know through any potential crisis that we may find in the future. And this is our goal for you. Something like this.

We want you to have all the modern technology available to you so that you can have a beautiful dashboard like this that helps you to track the metrics that are important to you.

In your organization. You shouldn't have to settle for the old fashion black and white rows and columns debits and credits. Rather, this is what you can have in your organization today and we're going to talk to you about how we can get you up and running on that very quick.

So let's talk about technology, a little bit. The old unfortunately I've talked to a lot of community action agencies that are kind of still living this the on premise software. The server room.

We have one in particular, one in particular community action.

Agency, who I spoke to who was literally still an on premise situation and in spite of coven everybody had to get to the office in order to keep the organization functioning.

And we want to help you to get out of that. We also want to talk a little bit just to make sure everyone's aware that there are, there is other stuff out there that you may think is modern but we call it partly cloudy. It is sort of the in between. It's taking an old accounting software that was maybe on a floppy disk add on a server and saying, hey, we're going to put it on a cloud server and let you dial into it remotely or even use an internet browser to get to it remotely.

Underneath it all. It's still older technology. It's just that they're giving you a cloud front door to get to. But what we want to talk about is truly what the latest

Generation of technology is all about. And that is technology that is truly native to the cloud, as they say, born in the cloud.

And I'm not going to get into too much of this technical mumbo jumbo here, but I just want everyone to understand the technology does matter, obviously.

And the latest, greatest technology that the industry experts agree upon is multi tenant technology.

With powerful integrations and API is the ability to connect to other tools and that's what sage intact provides. And what we're going to go through a little bit here with that with you today.

Let me back up and make sure everyone understands who JM t is and what we bring to this conversation. So JM t is an independent consulting firm.

We were built by a nonprofit. We were started by a nonprofit finance person in our sole mission is your mission to help nonprofits and for the past 30 years it'll be 30 years in January.

For the past 30 years JM T has done nothing but bring the latest, greatest technology solutions to Community actions.

And technologies changed. We were there when it was 20 floppy disks that you had to install them and were there with you today when it's just in a browser, because it's all cloud.

And many, many Community actions like a lot of nonprofits invested in some of the tools that were the at the time the latest, greatest technology, but we've seen sort of a turnover in the

Generation of technology and some some Community actions are still on that last generation and ready today to talk about the newest but that's what GMT job is, is to monitor is to

Keep apprised of what is out there and make sure that we bring that to our clients. So we were founded as I said by a person who was in your seat.

She worked in nonprofits as a CFO and controller, she also was a buyer of technology solutions and frankly wasn't often impressed with what was available to her at that time and found a GMT with the idea

That she could do better and then nonprofits deserve better than what she experienced when she herself was a nonprofit CFL

So we've grown. We were started up in New York. And now we're all over the country. And in fact, we even have offices and other countries and other continents.

Because our mission has always been to serve you serve nonprofits and wherever we can find a nonprofit. Who wants us to help them. We will go to you wherever you might be

And I can tell you how great we are all day long. But let's ask one of our clients. This is one of our clients in the New York City area. And you know what he emphasizes is that our knowledge of nonprofit is really what made the difference for him and that that means a lot to us so

Again, I want to emphasize, we are an independent firm. We're not a software publisher. Why should that be important to you. Well,

First and foremost, our commitment is to get our commitment isn't to building new software. Our commitment is to serving our clients and making sure they get taken care of and have the right tools available to them. We're able to, because we're independent. We're not stuck with just anyone publisher.

We are able to work with any combination of publishers that make the most sense for our clients. So we have many clients who are on, you know, maybe sage intact as their general ledger, but maybe they use some other Payroll Solution, or some donor management solution with a different brand name that's okay we curate the best combination of all those to make the right solution for you. And that's what this is a perfect for you solution from our ecosystem of best in class partners.

If you think about this wheel here just talks about basically all of the different areas of a nonprofit business.

And where we might help so JM T helps. We're talking today about the nonprofit financial management part of it up here at the top left.

In sort of the 11 o'clock position. We're going to talk about agent text day but as you can see we have other products that cover other areas of your organization as well. And so that has always been J AMP T mission to not be

A shill for any one software company. We want to work and monitor monitor the marketplace and bring the best combination of solutions to you.

Again, another quote from one of our clients. I really like this one because he talks about how how important it is to onboard and onboard correctly.

You any software technology out there. There's some really great technology out there. But if you don't set it up correctly. And if you don't onboard correctly.

It's a waste of money. And so john here talks about the fact that James's onboarding process made it such that he couldn't imagine doing it without us.

The highest compliment that we could receive so sage in tech, let's talk about why we chose to partner with them. First and foremost, they are the only solution that is a ICP a preferred. I know it's so important.

In Community action in any nonprofit is so important to make sure that you're following all the correct standards in the industry and for reporting and SEPA certainly

Holds all of the CPA is in their membership to the highest standards and for them to get their blessing of approval to this product means a lot.

But it is also when you go out to independent cloud websites like G to crowd, which actually verifies real users and keeps track of their reviews.

Sage intact continuously wins the highest customer satisfaction ranking, which means a lot because that comes back to what we say GMT.

We can choose to work with any software we want to we choose in tech, in part because it's powerful, but also usable, as evidenced by this ranking from G to crowd.

The other thing that is so exciting is technology has moved to the next generation. And that means

That you don't have to have just dollars and cents on on reports anymore. You can actually have the metrics that matter to your organization like these metrics which is a screenshot from an actual dashboard and the index system.

metrics that matter very much to an organization like a Community action the homes weather is the number of people start

You can pick anything you want, because intact has a statistical journal, you're able to track things that aren't dollars and cents.

And then do computations between those things and the dollars and cents, so that you can get something like a cost per home weatherized figure as you see on this very dashboard.

Telling the true story of your organization. But at the end of the day, you still need to do traditional financial reports and obviously when you talk to

Nonprofit organizations and community action organizations in particular, probably the most difficult thing to do is to report.

Back to your Grand Tours in the format that they require and to keep track of all the revenues and expenditures

And restrictions associated with those grants. And this is an example of an actual grant report right out of the system. And you can see

You can present it in a nice way, you can actually use what they call Conditional Highlighting to draw attention to materiality.

In some ways, we talk so often with organizations who have members on their board who are not perhaps trained as financial people and maybe for them reading a financial report is a little bit daunting.

And so it's nice to be able to present data to people like that and use Conditional Highlighting so that they can understand

You know whether this number is something we should be really concerned about like a dark red number or if it was a less read then, you know, okay, it's a little concerning but it isn't as bad. So, it draws people's attention to it and helps them to comprehend that data a little bit better.

Also of course there's drill down there's visibility. How many times must a typical nonprofit person.

go digging around into their system to try to get the detail behind the report, you don't have to do that with Sage intact. You click right on the figure, it will open a new pop up window because as I said,

It's born in the cloud. It's a browser-based tool. So this is an actual screenshot that I took from my Intex system.

Where it just, I simply click on one of these numbers and it opened up.

The pop-up window with some of the detail behind it and I could have kept going. I could have clicked on another one and open it yet another window and gotten all the way back.

To the actual transaction and if there was a an attachment, like a scanned invoice or something that would have been visible there too. So you really get the visibility that you're probably craving. If you're working in old technology right now.

I mentioned grants before and how that's so difficult at times to report in the way that they need it but

Sage intact provide you with the ability to do to do true grant management. This is an example of a grant hierarchy. These are all the different grants in the system and how you might categorize them, but you might notice

We can actually do what we call parent child relationships where perhaps these two grants as an example 141 and 142 maybe they roll up

To 140 or maybe you have a grant like this health, health initiative that's initially awarded, but perhaps every year.

It's renewed and you want to have new codes in your system, but they all roll up to the one you're able to do that very easily in Sage intact and keep track of all the revenues and expenditures of all your grants.

I mentioned before about this customer satisfaction. Again, this is to me, one of the most important things because over the years we've seen technology solutions that perhaps are powerful, but not usable.

I want spoke to someone who said, just to run a balance sheet. She had to call it every time.

We don't want that to be your experience. We want you to have a software that that you can use in finance, even if you don't have an IT degree or you don't know how to script or code and so

Again, this is this breaking here really solidifies that that users love sage intact and this is the grid from the actual nonprofit section of that report, which is interesting because

There really aren't that many players in the nonprofit accounting software world and of the five list. You can see the access across the bottom here for satisfaction.

Sage intact is the furthest to the right, meaning the highest satisfaction. And what's also interesting is up the five listed two of the five

I won't pick on them by name but two of the five here.

have actually been recently hacked by spyware in their PARTLY CLOUDY versions. So I'm not saying that that hackers couldn't find a way to

Get into some system, and I'm sure they're trying every single day. But the fact is that sage intact. Has the world class security to go along with that technology that I mentioned at the beginning of this presentation.

So coming back to GMT, and how we can help you with this in your community action.

You know we are small enough that we can provide exceptional and personalized customer service. We have some clients that only have one or two people in their finance department.

But we're also large enough that we can handle any size. So we also have many other

Organizations, we have some nonprofits that with 20 people in our finance departments and we can help them too. So it really doesn't matter what your size is JM T can help you.

Because it comes down to our process our process works like this. We really basically break down.

Your goals into bite-sized chunks, which we call phases. So the first phase is let's get you up and running. Let's get you off that old legacy technology. Let's get you out of that server room with the wires going everywhere, and let's get you live on core accounting, then we might talk about doing other phases later maybe you want to implement

Complex applications or purchase orders, we can always build them into second and third phases. So we want to have short term success, but keeping that long term plan in mind. And then, of course, we have our award winning client services that help you through that.

What we do in our implementations. It's so important. First off, we don't we don't mess around with this hourly billing stuff.

JMT does fixed fees. You do not have to worry about going back and asking your board for more money there aren't going to be overages with JM t

You get a dedicated project manager who will make sure that all the tasks completed we use, you might have seen smart sheet mentioned earlier on one of our slides we use smart sheet, which is a cloud based tool that you and we can log into and keep full transparency into the project status, you get a project designer who will help you build your Chart of Accounts set up your system.

And then you have an array of comprehensive training options. You might have

Perhaps you want to go with an online remote training. These days, virtually everyone is. But if we get back to normal. You can also go into on site training if you'd like.

And we even have, you know, recorded trainings, as well as in person.

We also always provide integration assistance. Most of our organizations are using, whether it be payroll, whether it be donor management whatever other tools that need to send data into sage in tech and we'll help you integrate that

We have multiple options. So we can go really quick really fast. If you're desperate. If you're on an on premise tool right now and you really every day that goes by, you risk the well being of your organization, you need to go quickly.

We can get you in the Express. We can get you live in seven days. The other extreme is if you are comprehensive and you want to

Take your time and maybe build out and have a long project and do it gradually we can spread that out over six months and do a deeper dive and of course there are options in between the whole idea is

We have to figure out what's most important to you, is it timing or is it something else. And we'll figure out what the right option is for you.

But I want to give you a sense of how this can work for you and how you can get into it for us a standard three user system with a rapid implementation, we can get you going. We can get you in this system for under $1,000 a month.

Now maybe you're bigger than that maybe your price will be a little bit higher, we'll talk to you about that, but we want you to have a sense for this is affordable and we know that in nonprofits.

There is this sense of not wanting to spend money on overhead. We understand that. But this is a way for you to leverage and get

Modern technology into your organization without having to break the bank without having to risk cash flow problems. So the whole idea.

Of our implementations is if you look at this access if you want to go comprehensive, obviously. Yes, it's going to take longer. We can go fully customized comprehensive

But some of our clients really want to just get going fast. We're going to get you that least the basic functionality, where to get you going get you going quickly.

So our unique value at JM t is we want to be your partner for the long term. We are not here just

For the purposes of helping you implement this tool we want to be with you for the lifetime of your organization, and indeed we have clients who've been with us since the beginning.

Back in those days, maybe we help them get on to an older system and maybe over time that system.

Started to not keep up with technology. And so we help them move to a newer system that happens all the time. But at GMT.

We want to be with you to help you through whatever changes. Go on in the world around us. So you're going to have a client manager training library.

We have a state of the arts support system with ticket tracking. So if you need help you get it quickly and then we give you ongoing training and CP opportunities, even

In a non-covid world will usually do an annual training conference and it's really more than training, not only can you get software training, but we have a whole

Track in that conference that usually dedicated to best practices and nonprofit financial management.

For example, so these are some of the things that are available to you and your client of Jay empties and

Again, a quote from one of our happy clients. She says that we really became a part of her mission. And that's true in shirt.

We did send a team out to one of their fundraisers that participated. I think it was a five k

Run or something along those lines. So we do we like to feel like we all become part of the same family. So what you get from us as a super fast implementation with very affordable pricing, you're going to get state of the art technology.

And we are the largest independent nonprofit consulting firm in the country. And we have comprehensive support that guarantees your success. That's what you get when you work with JM t

So I want to pause now and find out if we have any questions, I see it, it's thinking up above. So we'll look and see what questions, we may have. And then from there we'll talk about what the next steps are

Megan Mendiola: Yeah. Great. Thank you so much. Andy for speaking a little bit more about JMT our partnership with Sage intact and how it can be such a useful tool for Community Action agencies.

We actually did have a question, and I know you spoke a little bit to this earlier, but if you had anything additional you wanted to say. Someone asked, Do you provide additional support to implement the system. So I don't know if there's anything additional you wanted to say to that.

Andy Harleman: Absolutely. We provide as we said before, and a vast array of support.

So not only are we going to help you with initial training and what it takes to know and to how to use the system on day one.

But we're going to provide you with access to a training library of recorded videos intact itself has a very comprehensive user community.

With hyperlinks to videos and all kinds of other things. And then, as I mentioned before, we have our annual conference we do user groups.

We're here for you. We know that even if you have the most comprehensive training. You can get

On day one, that there's always more learning that you can do, and we want to encourage you to not just learn up to the level

Of proficiency that you need to operate the tool, but to learn more and get absolutely the most that you can out of the software tool that you are using and

I noticed. Another question is, this is amazing. How do I buy this. Will you saw before.

That we can get you going and get you going quickly for a monthly fee. But the next step here for you. If you're interested in figuring out how to buy this is to jump on the phone with us for a quick assessment.

Megan can help you with that. And she will follow up with every attendee from this webcast.

After and from that will do a quick assessment and we will give you a summary findings document and we'll make a recommendation will give you some pricing information and we'll move to the next step. So the next step from this moment would be set up that quick assessment with us.

And and Megan. And I don't see any other questions.

Megan Mendiola: Yeah I don't either. Yeah, just expanding upon that follow-up process. I'll be reaching out to all of our attendees today for a follow-up phone call.

As early as this afternoon, just for a more personalized discussion over your Community Action Agency and how stage and tactics that you need names.

And from there, just like Andy said we can move into a quick assessment and get you a summary of findings from there. So you don't need to do anything, just wait for the follow up call this afternoon, and we can get you connected

And set up that quick assessment time. But one thing I did want to add before we close out today is that we do have another webinar coming up on sep tember 15th.

Over nonprofit grants tracking and billing made easy with Sage intact. So if you enjoyed what you saw as intact. Today, I would definitely recommend getting signed up for that.

Especially if your Community Action Agency does rely on grants for a lot or portion of your funding. This will be a really helpful webinar to attend.

It's free, as all of our webinars are and you can get registered on our website at JM T consulting com and that's all I had. Andy I don't believe any more questions came through. So if you have any closing words before we close out today's webinar.

Andy Harleman: Thank you again, everyone for taking a little time out of your day to join us. We look forward to

Working with each and every one of you.

Megan Mendiola: Yeah. Great. Thank you so much again for joining us today and we hope everyone has a wonderful rest of the day. Bye, everyone.

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