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Chavez Foundation taps Acumatica’s multiple entity accounting for growth

The Cesar Chavez Foundation, which offers a broad array of educational, housing and other services to Latinos through a number of entities, had been running its financial systems on programs including Yardi, FundWare, QuickBooks and Excel spreadsheets. The foundation handled payroll for its 300 employees in five states manually. When FundWare started to reach its end of life, the Chavez Foundation sought an ERP that could handle multiple entities, automate payroll, provide financial insights, and was affordable for its multiple users. After rigorous research, they decided Acumatica was the right solution.

About Cesar Chavez Foundation

Location: Headquartered in CA, offices in CA, AZ, NM, TX, and WA

industry: Non-Profit

Website: http://www.chavezfoundation.org

Application Replaced: QuickBooks
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Key results

  • Empowered division managers and entities with financial dashboards
  • Saved three days a month processing payroll
  • Increased efficiency and productivity, speeding quarterly closes
  • Gained an affordable ERP that doesn’t charge per user
  • Established an adaptable cloud platform to accommodate future growth

Challenges

The Chavez Foundation needed a system that could:

  • Handle multiple entities
  • Automate payroll
  • Provide financial insights
  • Offer affordability
By having unlimited users and not charging extra for that, Acumatica allows us to get the information out to the individual users at the operational level.

Clifford Timmermans
CFO

ERP Solution

After evaluating NetSuite, Intacct, and Acumatica, Timmermans chose Acumatica. “Unique to Acumatica was that others based their pricing on the number of users and number of entities, which in our case was complicated to structure,” he says. “By having unlimited users and not charging extra for that, Acumatica allows us to get the information out to the individual users at the operational level.” Acumatica’s unlimited user-licensing model was important because the Chavez Foundation has some 75 entities housed within three main entities, and Timmermans plans to extend certain access rights to Acumatica to outside auditors.

“Most accounting systems have a certain user base and don’t push out additional access,” he says. “We have 10 users using Acumatica now, and when we push that out to our education and radio divisions, pretty soon we’ll have 50 users quickly. If had to price all those users, it would be price-prohibitive.”

The Chavez Foundation implemented Acumatica SaaS (Software as a Service) to avoid purchasing new computer hardware—important because their IT support team consists of a single dedicated person.

Subaccounts, Multiple Entities Key for Non-Profit
Timmermans also liked Acumatica’s open platform, which provides non-profit compatibility, its ability to handle different entities and subaccount structure as well as the flexibility of Acumatica’s accounts payable process.

“We have a rather complicated payroll by entity, by location and by jobs, so we have a whole group of different payroll activities,” he says. The Chavez Foundation also draws its payroll information from two unconnected systems: one that handles HR, and the other, TimeForce, installed last year. “It previously took us four days to do payroll,” he says. “Now it takes a little more than a day because of our processes, but once we get a little more polished, ideally we can do it in a day or half a day.”

After completing the heavy lifting of importing historical data, implementation was smooth, Timmermans says.

ERP Solution implemented

Benefits

Saving Time with Automation
Acumatica has made the Chavez Foundation much more efficient, allowing them to spend less time on what previously were time-consuming manual accounting tasks. “We just finished our first quarterly statements which used to take us five days because everything was manual,” Timmermans says. “After we get a couple more completed, we should cut that down to a day,” he adds.

He looks forward to learning more about Acumatica’s dashboards and arming his team with better information to run their business units. “Our education unit offers academic, community and senior services at several different sites and we want to push out administrative financial information to our department heads so they can have the information they need to run their businesses on a day-to-day basis both on the revenue and expense side.”

The education unit has used QuickBooks, which “wasn’t easily adaptable to a dashboard,” Timmermans says, adding he also plans to give Acumatica dashboards to property management—which will continue running on Yardi—and the radio divisions.

Permission-based Security Empower Divisions
The ability and confidence to give financial dashboards to business units stems from Acumatica’s tight permission-based security. “Being able to control the correct permissions is key,” he says. “We don’t want education looking at real estate information and with Acumatica’s security we are able to isolate operational business information and give just the people involved in that operation access.”

“We also plan on giving six different teams of auditors access to Acumatica to do their own testing and researching,” he adds.

Timmermans says Acumatica is easy to use, very user-friendly, and flexible. The Chavez Foundation team enjoys Acumatica’s search and drilldown capabilities, which allow them to find source information quickly. “When we run financial statements and produce on screen, if we have a question about a certain line item, we can drill down to the detail, which is fast and convenient.”

“FundWare didn’t give us those capabilities,” he says. “We now have speed and access to relevant information when we need it. We were really behind the times, and now we’re very far from where we were with very current software.”

Acumatica’s Flexibility Allows Third-Party Tool Integration
He looks forward to integrating third-party tools, such as BizNet reporting and a human resources tool, and using Acumatica to grow the Chavez Foundation in the many years ahead. “Acumatica has a good, solid GL accounting system, payroll, budgeting, the flexibility of information and dashboards that make it a very important software for us.”

“It’s more powerful than I envisioned,” says Timmermans. “I would highly recommend Acumatica to any non-profit, especially where they have multiple departments and multiple operations.”


Application replaced: QuickBooks

Most companies got their start using Inuit’s QuickBooks for their financials. But there comes a time when QuickBooks is just not enough. If you’re ready to take the next step, see what Acumatica has to offer.