Mount Olivet Lutheran Church opened its doors in 1920 with the mission of making a positive impact in the surrounding community. Today the church has 13,000 members meeting at campus locations in Minneapolis and Victoria and operates six affiliated ministries: Cathedral of the Pines Camp in Lutsen, Mount Olivet Home, Mount Olivet Careview Home, Mount Olivet Day Services, Mount Olivet Conference & Retreat Center and Mount Olivet Rolling Acres. The church employs more than 500 people to run each of its ministries, not counting the many volunteers who give their time on a regular basis.
Mount Olivet was running its large multi-entity church on a dated, industry-specific church accounting software. While satisfactory for smaller churches with basic financial tasks, the software could not handle the complicated financial reporting needs of a church with multiple facilities and programs.
Mount Olivet had no way to successfully report, drill down or pay vendor invoices electronically, according to controller Deanne Nelson. The software also did not integrate with Word, Excel or any of the other cloud-based software programs Mount Olivet was already using from Microsoft.
“We hadn’t upgraded in a decade and we needed a great accounting system that would work with Elexio,” said Nelson, referring to the church’s data base. “The problem we found was that Elexio doesn’t play nice in the sand with any accounting system except Quick books, which would not work for Mount Olivet.”
The church’s business consultant, Reid Ness, informed the organization that their goal of upgrading to more current tools that would be compatible with Elexio was not possible with their outdated software platform. If they wanted to use the better accounting tools available on the market, their best choice was to buy an entirely new ERP software product and expand from there.
Because the church was already using other Microsoft tools, switching to a Microsoft product as Reid suggested made perfect sense. Choosing Boyer & Associates as its partner was a cinch: Not only does the company represent all three of Microsoft’s middle market options, but its owner Jack Boyer is also a member of the church.
Boyer & Associates implemented Microsoft Dynamics NAV for Mount Olivet in late 2015 and early 2016. Mount Olivet now uses the general ledger and accounts payable modules of Dynamics NAV. The organization also uses import tools to track, solicit and record pledges to the church. With its new ERP software in place, Mount Olivet can now upgrade and expand to keep up with the ever-growing needs of the church’s multiple entities.
“Before the implementation, we were stuck on old versions of software and did not see an easy way to stay current. With Boyer and Microsoft, upgrades are easy and can be done regularly in a non-disruptive way,” said Nelson.
Mount Olivet is so pleased with its recent implementation that the organization’s leaders intend to expand their use of Dynamics NAV to their other facilities, such as the daycare they own on Lyndale Avenue in Minneapolis.
“We currently have various locations using other Dynamics ERP products and are looking at consolidating those licenses into one integrated Dynamics NAV database,” said Nelson. The church also has plans to replace their Elexio data base with an in-house tool that compliments NAV.
Perhaps the biggest benefit to Mount Olivet was working with a consulting agency that understood the intricacies of a nonprofit. Boyer & Associates has provided services for numerous large nonprofit organizations and has deep knowledge of the needs specific to that industry.
“The Boyer staff pushed us to understand the software, make our own decisions but definitely brought industry expertise, passion and technical expertise,” said Nelson. She added that Boyer consultants made a point of ensuring the church staff was self-sufficient at the end of each day’s training. When Boyer asked Nelson how the project went overall, she told him, “There is nothing that I would have asked your group to do differently. You worked at our pace and provided the right type of expertise.”
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