A Florida not-for-profit is working hard to rescue children from sexual abuse. Child Rescue Coalition’s world-renowned Child Protection System (CPS) Technology helps law enforcement agencies in over 95 countries identify file sharing by IP addresses to track, arrest and prosecute online predators. Since 2013, the organization has helped rescue more than 2,500 children.
Challenge: Finding a good nonprofit ERP solution
With such an important mission, Child Rescue Coalition doesn’t waste its energy on subpar technology — in any area of the business. Director of Accounting Jeanne Aparicio handles all the financial accounting and reporting for the team of 10 and their board.
She said their former QuickBooks system allowed users to easily manipulate data and change transactions, a great feature for startup companies but not so much for growing organizations. With a background as a CPA, she wanted something a bit more sophisticated.
“To me the controls just aren’t there. I’m just not a fan (of QuickBooks),” said Aparicio. “I don’t believe it was really well-suited for not-for-profits.” She wanted a system that had more controls and offered the ability to customize reports.
Solution: Microsoft’s cloud ERP solution
Their Microsoft partner, TechSoup, suggested Dynamics 365 Business Central and recommended three partners who could help them get started. Boyer’s fast response made them the best choice for Child Rescue Coalition.
To help minimize costs, Aparicio was determined to do as much of the implementation herself as possible. She downloaded a one-month trial to play around with the system, learning how it works and how it could fit the organization’s needs. That familiarity at the beginning was key in knowing just how she wanted the system set up once Boyer stepped in to help.
“I highly recommend doing that one-month trial and getting to know the system first,” Aparicio said. She also suggests that accountants who are considering Business Central watch demos of the software to get a clearer insight into how it works.
While she was able to do much of the heavy lifting herself, Aparicio was grateful she had someone watching her back whenever she got stuck.
“I don’t think this is a system where someone can sign up and think, ‘OK. I’m going to do this on my own.’ It’s not QuickBooks. You definitely need that professional guidance,” she said.
In her case, she most appreciated the configuration packages that Boyer set up and the quick-start guides they sent to help her get started. Once she got started, Aparicio had weekly calls with Boyer to answer any questions she had.
“My implementation was very hands off. I did everything. I reached out to (Boyer) if I got stuck on something or wasn’t sure how to address a specific issue,” she said.
Child Rescue Coalition implemented sales, finance, cash management, purchasing and fixed assets. They did not implement the inventory or payroll modules. Fixed Assets proved the trickiest element to configure, but despite a short delay, Aparicio had their system live in August. The entire process took three months, and Aparicio even backed up their entire transactional history to the organization’s inception in 2013.
Child Rescue Coalition had budgeted $10,000 for the entire implementation and came up well under budget at only $7,500. Aparicio’s background as a CPA and familiarity with Microsoft Dynamics GP gave her a head start on knowing what to do.
Benefits of Microsoft cloud for nonprofits
“I like the reporting that I’m able to do within the system and that I’m able to create my own reports. I also like the month-end close functionality, and I like the role-based access that I can provide,” Aparicio said.
She especially likes Business Central’s use of Dimensions. Much of her time during the one-month trial was spent navigating the Dimensions feature. Her hard work paid off.
“It was just a question of going in there and making it work, and I was able to make it work after learning the dimensions,” she said. “I can slice it and dice it anyway I want.”
That ability helps her create actionable reports that she can bring to her board. Using her configured Account Schedules, she’s able to create just about any report she needs. That’s a nice switch from QuickBooks, where she had to create a report outside of the system using Excel.
“I don’t have to manually recreate the entire report like we were doing in QuickBooks,” she said. Using the Dimensions feature on Account Schedules, she created a prior period comparison report for each department. She also discovered a way to easily track and report on the organization’s restricted funds to ensure they’re meeting non-profit grant restrictions.
Whenever Aparicio has an issue with the system — which has not happened often — she knows she can go to Boyer for support.
“Overall my experience with the actual program and Boyer has been great!” Aparicio said.