Power to Change is a non-profit organization that provides a community to help people discover Jesus and enable the power they need to live boldly. The organization achieves this in a variety of ways. There are 12 sub ministries that make up Power to Change that range from family life to leadership to global aid to youth, allowing the organization to help people from all walks of life to grow in their faith.
Power to Change was founded in Canada in 1967. In 2013 1.1 million people around the globe were reached through Power to Change and its various ministries. The organization continues to grow, expanding their on campus reach to over 60 universities throughout Canada, connecting with 600,000 people online throughout the world per month and helping tens of thousands of people in developing countries.
With such an expansive reach comes a complex Chart of Accounts. In order to report and provide analytics on each ministry and department, Power to Change has over 2000 dimension codes to track the detail of donations received and expenditures for every project around the globe.
Prior to using Microsoft Dynamics GP, Power to Change was running an outdated version of JD Edwards (JDE). The organization had implemented JDE six years earlier along with DonorDirect, a donor management solution. For the first few years Power to Change was very happy with JDE. Then Oracle acquired the company and it quickly became clear that Oracle was much more focused on larger organizations, not non-profits like Power to Change. The product became increasingly expensive and there was no longer an upgrade path. Getting useful reports out of the system became progressively challenging and often required the help of IT for everything from basic reports to creating the month end trial balance.
At the same time, DonorDirect started developing their product for Microsoft Dynamics GP. “We were now stuck with an old version of JDE. All these factors pushed us to decide that JDE wasn’t the right solution for us for the future,” said Jason Brink, IT Applications Team Manager at Power to Change.
Knowing that many not-for-profit organizations used Dynamics GP and influenced by the team at DonorDirect, Power to Change started evaluating Dynamics GP. Happy with the features it offered and trusting their contacts at DonorDirect, Power to Change decided to move forward with implementing the solution.
Unfortunately, like many good intentions, the implementation did not go quite as anticipated. The plan was to partner with DonorDirect; however, implementations weren’t their main focus and the primary consultant who was working on the project left the company shortly after the project was started. A proper replacement was never found and working remotely with temporary consultants to try to move forward with the implementation was challenging. As a result the install became stalled.
Time for Change
After almost a year of not moving forward, the new Controller, Marian O’Campo, suggested contacting a reputable consultant who she had worked with in the past with Dynamics GP. “Encore did the Dynamics GP implementation at the last company I worked at. It was very seamless and very easy for users. Our consultant held our hand every step of the way,” says Marian. Knowing that Encore’s main focus was implementing and servicing Dynamics GP and that they had worked with hundreds of clients in a variety of industries offered added piece of mind. The Executive Director of Power to Change met with Encore and quickly became convinced that they could help get this stalled project back on track.
With new life breathed into the project, Jason took on the role of Project Management. “From a PM perspective it was incredibly valuable to have our consultant at Encore walk us through and say ‘here are the next steps you need to be working on’. She definitely helped manage the project and keep us on track,” claims Jason.
Partnering with a service provider that had a local presence also made a difference with getting the implementation back on course. Power to Change found it very beneficial to have someone onsite on a regular basis given their past struggles. In the past Power to Change often grappled with the cliché of not knowing what they didn’t know. With an Encore consultant readily available, they could quickly advise and ensure that the project kept moving ahead.
Additionally, Power to Change worked with Encore to help develop an integration to import Journal and Accounts Payable entries to help streamline processes. To best support and accommodate their large remote staff they required a process that was as simple as possible. Leveraging a form in Excel, field workers benefited by easily sending in expenses. The AP team also benefited with the ability to then simply upload the information, therefore saving time from keying in complex entries. To further improve efficiency Power to Change has been gradually building additional applications to run on top of this valuable integration.
Change Brings Opportunity
Moving to Dynamics GP made an invaluable impact in four specific business areas.
Power to Change has a very complex Chart of Accounts and a complex reporting system. At any given time they may need to analyze information by employee or by ministry located potentially anywhere in the world. Getting information out of JDE was particularly challenging. Analyzing business information in Dynamics GP is much easier than JDE thanks to the multitude of out of the box and customizable reports available in Dynamics GP. Marian states “When I need to analyze something, it is so easy for me to get to the bottom of it – right to the basic transaction – and do my analytical work. With JDE it was terrible to find what I was looking for.”
Finance is no longer relying on IT for help with reports allowing IT to reinvest their time into other projects. “The finance staff are much more self-sufficient. There is less IT intervention required and less on-going manual processes that IT needs to be involved in,” says Jason.
With less key strokes to complete transactions and faster transaction lookups, the finance staff is much more productive. “With JDE it was like pulling a needle out of a haystack” states Marian. Reconciling is now also much easier than before with the reconcile tool in Dynamics GP. “When we first started using Dynamics GP my staff were so surprised how I could find reconciliation errors right away. The tool is great because it solves issues right away” says Marian.
The savings of time and money to get information has been a big success for Power to Change. In the past there was a person dedicated part-time to run the necessary reports from JDE. Since Dynamics GP has been implemented, he finally has been able to retire! Additionally, many Microsoft SQL Reporting Services (SRS) reports have been created allowing people outside of the daily Dynamics GP users to leverage valuable business information and insight.
Since their go-live of Dynamics GP, Power to Change continues to work with Encore. Power to Change has upgraded to Dynamics GP 2013 and is looking into Dynamics GP Inventory Control to replace their current inventory system. Jason states, “A number of people have been really helpful with providing insight on what recommended solutions there are.” In addition to having access to Encore’s subject matter experts and dedicated support resources, Power to Change recognizes that there are further advantages of working with a trusted partner. “There are additional benefits working with Encore like their customer user groups events. We’ve just attended our first one and will plan to attend others in the future to help keep us fresh on new features,” says Jason.
There is Power in Change
Dynamics GP gave this not-for-profit the power to excel and successfully continue to serve and support those who need an extra bit of guidance in their lives. This change enabled them to better support their staff in the field, improve accountability of funds, improve efficiency of resources, and create a happier work environment for the financial staff and their daily demands of processing transactions.