Dawson Creek Society for Community Living began as a parent-driven organization aiming to serve adults with developmental disabilities in British Columbia. Incorporated in 1958, the Canadian nonprofit has grown substantially over six decades, with a mission to meet the evolving needs of both adults with disabilities and seniors. Today, the organization provides a range of services, resources, education, and advocacy, more recently adding social housing, as well as additional senior services.
With a $12 million (CAD) budget, Dawson Creek is primarily funded through various provincial and regional government authorities, each with its own reporting requirements. The organization’s staff of 120 supports 150 program participants and manages 130 units of housing, and its reach has only continued to grow in recent years. So, too, has its financial complexity.
For our newest customer story, we spoke with Marla Reed, executive director, and Kirsten Homme, director of finance at Dawson Creek, to better understand how implementing Sage Intacct helped them increase overall efficiency, save money, and foster a culture of accountability.
Since moving their financial processes and reporting to the cloud, Dawson Creek has made the following improvements across their organization:
- Increased overall finance efficiency by 50%
- Slashed transportation costs by 22%
- Reduced audit risk by over 50%
- Improved leadership confidence, accelerating key decisions
Hands-on implementation brings instant efficiency results
Prior to deploying Sage Intacct, the Dawson Creek finance team relied on a cumbersome system that made it difficult to process invoices or set up electronic workflows. With ambitious plans to grow the budget by over 65% and expand services in the next 5-10 years, the team knew they needed to modernize their financial systems so they could scale up and keep pace.
Last summer, Sage Intacct partner, Cantatus Systems, worked with them to ensure a seamless implementation, even in the middle of a global pandemic. “I was initially hesitant about using new technology – but now I feel so much better and more confident with Sage Intacct in place. The team at Cantatus thoroughly explained the setup process and gave us dedicated, hands-on support. Implementing the system was painless,” explained Reed.
Early wins with Sage Intacct included streamlining the organization’s chart of accounts by 100% and establishing modern financial processes. Cantatus also helped Dawson Creek integrate Sage Intacct with the Yooz accounts payables automation application and shift invoicing from paper to email. This helped the team actually cut their paper order by 75%, slash the time they previously spent on AP and AR nearly in half, and save a full day’s worth of transactional work each month.
Sage Intacct enables nimble and innovative problem-solving
The team felt the benefits of Sage Intacct even more acutely as COVID-19 required them to quickly and nimbly pivot their programs to accommodate the needs of their community. Not only did the organization expand its services to include grocery shopping for elderly residents and meal programs for low-income tenants, but they also quickly learned how to operate remotely.
“Before we deployed Sage Intacct, we panicked that we’d have issues logging in from a separate server, and that we wouldn’t be set up to do our jobs remotely,” commented Reed. “But once we got up and running on the new system, we could easily work from home. That sense of freedom, of not being tied to our desks, has been huge during the pandemic – I can work from my phone if I have to.”
The team also felt empowered to explore COVID-related grant applications from various grantors, a process they had never previously attempted. “Having Sage Intacct in place made us comfortable with applying for new funding, since it’s easy to flag and track each individual project’s progress,” Homme shared. “Even though we’d never applied for different kinds of grants before, going forward I feel confident about additional grant applications because it has been such an easy process.”
Exploring increased visibility through automated reporting
Another key benefit of Sage Intacct is the increased visibility across the organization, which not only cultivates a culture of accountability but also allows for more timely decision-making. When previously in-person services shifted to virtual programming due to health guidelines, the team was able to see that there was room in the budget to purchase iPads so residents could more easily stay in touch with each other and their loved ones. “Sage Intacct removed the lag time we previously dealt with, making us much more proactive. We could easily see that there was money available for that purchase and do it quickly,” Homme told us.
Program directors also now have easy access to personalized dashboards that help them closely monitor their budgets against actuals, and track progress towards their overall program goals. With access to this detailed insight, the organization was able to reduce transportation costs by 22% and even put $200,000 (CAD) into reserves while still maintaining a healthy cash flow.
Embracing mature workflows and insights for future growth
While the Dawson Creek finance team has seen efficiency and visibility improvements across nearly all of their processes, they still have many ideas for how they can further leverage Sage Intacct’s capabilities. As they continue to expand their housing services, the team plans to keep track of repairs and maintenance by unit and by project through Sage Intacct’s fixed assets software.
They also look forward to getting a more nuanced look at their projects, using statistical accounts for service level reporting. This will help the team better understand not only the dollars they are spending on each project, but the service hours spent as well – making it easier to further optimize and report on productivity and program impact.
“The biggest benefit of having Sage Intacct is how much more comfortable we feel about making decisions. Previously, we would go to meetings and have to say, ‘we’ll have to figure that out’,” explained Reed. “Now, we have a firm foundation that gives us a better understanding of where we stand. That makes decision-making, planning, and educating the rest of the organization so much easier.”