New nonprofit accounting system means better health for 100 million women and children
Vitamin Angels is a global public health nutrition organization that promotes health and economic equity across the lifespan by ensuring nutritionally vulnerable, underserved young children and pregnant women have access to evidence-based nutrition interventions. With a presence in over 70 countries, the nonprofit organization’s mission is to break the cycle of intergenerational poverty by intervening early in life.
At the Sage Transform conference this fall, we had the great pleasure of sitting down with Bonnie Forssell, CFO at Vitamin Angels, to hear a little bit about her journey with Sage Intacct and Vitamin Angles over the last two years. In our latest Sage Intacct customer story , she shares some of the key results her finance team achieved by moving from Intuit QuickBooks to Sage Intacct, including:
- Increased restricted revenue by $14 million over three years
- Freed up $200,000 in logistics costs, helping serve an additional 800,000 women and children
- Improved AP efficiency by 60%
- Saved 10 hours per month in AR data entry
Forssell summed up the impact of the modern system on her team, noting, “Sage Intacct has elevated our entire finance function and freed up resources we can put towards advancing our important mission. Instead of just doing data entry, the whole team is more forward-thinking and can spend time on analysis.”
Turning noes into yeses
When Forssell joined Vitamin Angels three years ago, the organization was at a turning point. She remembers, “It was clear that not only had we outgrown our existing accounting system, but it was holding us back. We were saying ‘no’ to opportunities that would require more robust reporting due to the administrative burden it would cause.”
What’s more, accounting processes were almost entirely paper- or Excel-based and extremely manual. “As a nonprofit, it’s important for us to be efficient with our resources so we can have the biggest impact possible,” Forssell says. “As we grew, we understood that these manual processes were limiting our reach and impact. I never want finance to hold our organization back, and I knew we needed better software in order to support its future needs.”
Best-in-class integrations eliminate duplicate data entry
By moving to Sage Intacct, the nonprofit streamlined several of its previously time-consuming financial processes. Some of Vitamin Angels’ top efficiency gains to date include:
- Seamless integration with Salesforce eliminates 10 hours of AR data entry each month by automatically feeding donations from Salesforce into Sage Intacct.
- Paperless AP workflows save coding and filing time for both employees and the accounting team. And Sage Intacct’s vendor payment services with American Express enables the organization to pay most vendors via ACH at the click of a button—saving another 10-15 hours a month and speeding the entire AP process by 60%.
- Multi-entity capabilities provide instant, automated global consolidations across entities in the US, UK, Canada, Philippines, India, and Indonesia, so the finance team can meet a consistent monthly close deadline.
In addition to integration with Salesforce, the team syncs their payroll system (Proliant) with Sage Intacct, further relieving the need for constant reconciliations between systems. Next year, they plan on integrating Sage Intacct with Rootstock for inventory and shipments and with Expensify for corporate credit cards and expense reimbursements. “Probably the biggest impact was advancing Vitamin Angel’s technology maturity,” shares Forssell. “Implementing Sage Intacct was a catalyst of our multi-year journey to become more efficient through better use of technology—which is continuing to transform our organization across the board.”
Having a fully connected best-in-class technology stack will also make it easier for Vitamin Angels to calculate key metrics related to its impact and reach. For example, by pulling non-financial data into Sage Intacct using statistical accounts, the organization will be able to analyze the cost to reach a woman or child, or even save a life, as well as its costs by program, partner, country, etc.
Gaining confidence to scale the mission
Most importantly, upgrading to Sage Intacct made a direct impact on Vitamin Angels’ mission. Forssell explains, “When your organization is growing, it can be intimidating to chart new waters that you haven’t navigated before. For us, that was pursuing restricted funding, which we knew would require us to be extremely efficient with finance headcount, improve our reporting, and have access to more real-time data.”
“By implementing Sage Intacct and professionalizing our accounting processes, that burden (and that fear) was removed. When we told our development and programs teams that accounting was now willing and able to support restricted funding, a proverbial wall was broken down,” She continues. “We are now budgeting $14M in restricted funding over three years, which enables us to tackle some truly innovative projects that will impact the health of 100 million pregnant women and young children here in the US and around the world by 2030.”
The organization’s budget forecasts are also more accurate and less painful now that budget managers have access to real-time data through dashboards in Sage Intacct. Rather than the prior tendency to be ultra conservative, managers feel confident in their numbers and, as a result, they make better decisions throughout the year.
Transforming finance into the heartbeat of the organization
Forssell credits her previous experience using Sage Intacct with preparing her for the role of a more adaptive, forward-looking CFO at Vitamin Angels. She shares, “I understand the story our numbers tell because my Sage Intacct dashboards and customized reports show timely data. When an opportunity or challenge arises, I often don’t need to dig too much into our numbers because I’m so in-tune with our finances. Finance should always understand risks and rewards, and with Sage Intacct, I can use that insight to give quick guidance and lead our organization as we move ahead.”
When the organization was still on QuickBooks, Forssell notes that she used to spend half of her time just reviewing and understanding the past and present state of the financials, whereas now, that part of her job only consumes around 10%. “I can spend 90% of my time looking towards the future and thinking proactively about our growth and strategy, and where we’re going. I have more time and the confidence to focus on value-add things and support the growth of our overseas entities.”
“Personally, I’m way less stressed and have enjoyed the challenges that I’m working through every day. It’s much more exciting to me to be working with our teams abroad on their ambitious goals than spending hours digging into why our shipping costs are higher than expected,” she concluded.
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