Trends & Insights

Mental health nonprofit transforms finance and gains agility amidst major industry shift

Woman having mental health break-through in group session

Behavioral Health Resources (BHR) has been providing essential mental health services in Washington state since 1956. It’s the oldest and largest mental health center in Thurston County, where it was formed out of a grassroots movement by citizens wanting to help youth facing poverty, abuse, and neglect. With a mission to support and strengthen individuals, families, and its community, the nonprofit serves a vital role in promoting mental health and substance use disorder recovery.

While clinicians focus on this mission, BHR’s finance team supports them by managing reporting across departments and programs, preparing monthly financials and consolidations for the board, and handling a billing workload that has increased exponentially since the state shifted to a Managed Care Organization (MCO) model for Medicaid administration. Recently, we had a chance to learn about how the agency uses Sage Intacct to help with these efforts when we caught up with Eric Jensen, CPA and BHR’s director of finance.

We highlighted several of his team’s impressive results in our newest customer story, such as:

  • Cutting 20 hours from manual monthly close tasks
  • Freeing 15% more time for strategic initiatives
  • Achieving agility amidst a major industry shift
  • Gaining multi-dimensional visibility to foster accountability 

By migrating from an outdated Microsoft Dynamics GP system to our modern, cloud-based solution, the organization began a powerful transformation. Jensen shared that, “We are much more efficient with our day-to-day bookkeeping tasks, and that’s something that was absolutely necessary for me when we were looking for a new solution. Thanks to Sage Intacct’s automation, I do very little transactional work anymore, and have shifted 15% more time towards supporting the business.”

The value of trusted partnerships

With its Medicaid funding split between fee-for-service, case rates, and cost reimbursement programs, and now coming in as smaller, more frequent payments from various MCOs, BHR’s invoicing and receivables get quite complicated. As opposed to receiving all distributions directly from two main county-run organizations at the same time every month, the agency now has to submit claims to several insurance companies and juggle billing exceptions and reconciliations surrounding frequent rejected claims.

On top of wanting to ease this burden, the finance team’s main driver for making a system change was that they simply could no longer rely on a clunky accounting system that required its own dedicated on-premises server (which might crash at any time). “We knew that the price for a cloud-based subscription over the course of its lifetime would be significantly lower than implementing on-premises software, maintaining a server in-house, and dealing with all the related issues,” Jensen said. “And as a member of the AICPA, it’s endorsement of Sage Intacct spoke to me.”

He also saw the value in working with a team of experienced, certified implementers, like Sage Intacct partner Clark Nuber PS. “With the help of the wonderful experts at Clark Nuber, our implementation was smooth—I couldn’t recommend them more. They helped us keep our tight timeline on track with checklists, milestones, and regular meetings as we got our entities, accounts, departments, projects and other dimensions set up,” recalled Jensen. “It was definitely worth the cost to have somebody who knew what needed to happen and what questions to ask and made sure we avoided potential pitfalls.”

Efficient multi-entity financial management

The biggest improvement Jensen cites thus far is the time saved during each month’s financial close, which he estimates at around 20 hours across the team. These efficiencies come from several convenient imports into Sage Intacct, which eliminate manual data entry for payroll, accounts payable, and bank reconciliations. Specifically, the team saves a full day on payroll journal entries, and at least a few hours on recurring rent payments. Jensen noted, “Since we import bank transactions for our reconciliations, Sage Intacct finds all the checks and matches those up, so we don’t have to go through each one line-by-line, which definitely saves time as well.”

In addition, BHR’s finance team benefits from going paperless and being able to work from home during the pandemic, thanks to cloud-based workflows. Things like Sage Intacct’s automated intercompany transactions, which are self-balancing, also help. “If we make a mistake and deposit a check into the wrong entity, for example, we can simply go in and change the tag on the transaction, and the system will put it through all the necessary ‘due tos’ and ‘due froms,’” said Jensen. “As part of our closing process, we simply run a quick report that matches up all of those line items across each entity.”

Sage Intacct’s powerful multi-entity capabilities also speed consolidations, which previously required several tedious workarounds. “In Dynamics, three of our four entities were in one file, so basically only income statement accounts were really being tracked between them, which wasn’t ideal,” Jensen explained. “And since we had a completely separate file for the foundation’s activity, when it came time to consolidate all of the entities together for an audit, it would take a lot of spreadsheets. In Sage Intacct, I can pull a report that has the trial balance of all entities, or any one individually, and it just works.”

Easy-to-use, granular financial reporting

One of Jensen’s favorite features in Sage Intacct is its departmental reporting, which is much improved from their previous system. “I couldn’t figure out a way to get good reporting out of Dynamics, so it was a completely manual process. I would pull a profit and loss for every department and copy and paste them over into an Excel worksheet,” he commented. “Whereas, with Sage Intacct, I created a pre-set report group that has everything I need at the push of a button, including separate reports for every single department.”

BHR especially benefits from month-to-month departmental P&Ls. Jensen shared, “Sage Intacct shows what happened every month with different accounts, revenue, and expenses going a year back. That’s great because it highlights when we’ve got an issue. If revenue for a particular department is down 30% this month, we can quickly look at what might be missing or why it’s actually accurate.”

And because the system can dynamically report on anything the organization needs, Jensen can pull information for ad hoc requests quickly rather than manually trying to create reports from payroll and electronic health records (EHR), which would take a lot of time. Ultimately, having up-to-date, granular visibility helps drive accountability across the organization’s managers, most of whom are clinicians, and less used to focusing on financial numbers. Next up, Jensen is hoping to integrate Sage Intacct with the agency’s EHR system, so that revenue and receivables deposits could be fed in directly through journal entries.

To learn more about the benefits BHR enjoys as a result of migrating from Microsoft Dynamics GP to Sage Intacct, read our full customer story.

Case Study - Behavioral Health Resources

Mental health agency builds agility and accountability with Sage Intacct

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