Bill Souders is the vice president of operations and data management at Build.org. BUILD is a nonprofit based in Redwood City, California and provides education services for at-risk youth.
Frank, Rimerman Consulting: Bill, can you share a little bit about your organization and what led BUILD to search for a new accounting platform?
Bill Souders: BUILD's mission is to provide an engaging educational experience through entrepreneurship training. We act as a venture capitalist for student teams to allow them to start and run their own businesses.
The growth that we've been experiencing has actually been quite rapid. In the last year – in fact year-over-year we have grown 50% both in terms of the number of regions we support, the number of students we're supporting and the number of employees. We needed to move off of an old platform which happened to be a hosted version of QuickBooks, and virtually everything else was done in Excel.
Part of our growth implies that the complexity increases with both the number of regions we have and the number of services we are providing. We absolutely had to put in place the ability to not only manage things from an accounting perspective but also plan and forecast in ways that we were never able to do before.
Frank, Rimerman Consulting: What kind of features and benefits were important for your new accounting software to offer?
Bill Souders: For BUILD, like many nonprofits, it's essential that the product allows us to, for example, track philanthropic revenue, both in terms of a cash basis and an accrual basis. Additionally, it's very important that we be able to manage grants and grant funding in ways that allow us to restrict funds based on time or other restrictions in terms of how we apply those resources. The accounting solution for us becomes absolutely essential, especially when you start thinking about having to do sophisticated reporting for government grants and other things like that.
Having been in the IT sector and in the financial sector for a long time, one of the things that is of great advantage to small organizations like ours is a cloud-based solution. You can imagine that there is no need for an organization like ours to ever be managing on-premises servers or anything like that. And a cloud-based solution today is exactly what we need.
Frank, Rimerman Consulting: Was there anything that attracted you to Intacct specifically?
Bill Souders: We are very lucky to have a tech-savvy board of directors based primarily in Silicon Valley and they've been pushing us to make sure that we are enhancing our overall business capabilities. Intacct became an obvious choice for us to leverage their intrinsic capabilities and their future roadmap to grow with us as we continue to expand and evolve our business services.
Frank, Rimerman Consulting: Can you chat a little bit about the implementation process with Frank, Rimerman Consulting?
Bill Souders: For sure. Frank, Rimerman Consulting spent time to really learn, not only how we were operating today, but what our future business models would look like. They were then able to help us map both our future business needs to the solutions that we were evaluating. We consider ourselves lucky to partner with Frank, Rimerman Consulting.
We looked at a couple of different implementation partners and we determined that Frank, Rimerman Consulting were really the ones that took the energy and the time to really understand our business. They were there when we needed them and they made themselves available through the whole process on an as-needed basis and were always there to assist, even when we had questions at odd times of day or on the weekends. I really can't say enough about the support we've gotten.
And our decision to move forward with Intacct is already reaping benefits for us.
Frank, Rimerman Consulting: That’s great to hear. How are you using Intacct day-to-day now? What are some of the key benefits you’ve seen?
Bill Souders: From a practical standpoint we create incubator accounts for each of our student business teams. Being able to manage the venture capital funding for each of those teams inside our Intacct accounting solution is exactly what we were looking for.
Rather than spending all of our time trying to consider everything, we wanted to get into the live environment right away, which we did. Already we are achieving great benefit from using Intacct in the early stages.
We can now start to really take advantage of not only changes to our processes as we innovate, but also the tremendous roadmap that Intacct is providing for us and we can take advantage of so many of their innovations as well.
Also, one of the things that has been a great benefit to us is moving from an old version of QuickBooks where things like dimensionality didn't even exist. We can now really have a nice, clean chart of accounts and use different types of dimensions, both in terms of regions, in terms of different programs, different student grade levels, and also dimensions around different types of government or other grants. All of that becomes really essential in terms of the way we not only account for our business but manage it and report on it.
The most important benefit to me personally and for the rest of my team, quite frankly, is the fact that we are doing much less manipulation of data and trying to get the right information in front of us so we can begin to start making decisions. Now we have all of that information pretty much at our fingertips so we can spend our time on the value-added things like key decision-making and other sorts of things. And honestly it translates into more free time for all of us.
Frank, Rimerman Consulting: Anything else you would like to add?
Bill Souders: Our experience with Frank, Rimerman Consulting has exceeded my expectations. Given such a strong partnership, I feel very, very confident not about just our initial implementation but also with our future roadmap.
To watch the full video interview with BUILD.org, click here.
[ Published: February 23, 2017 ]