Growth Spring Sprout Image credit Pixabay/larsoncoachSage Intacct recently revealed that the Public Health Accreditation Board (PHAB) has successfully implemented and leveraged its ERP solution.

The PHAB was founded in May 2007 as a non profit organisation to improve the quality of public health departments in the US. It was formed and funded jointly by the  U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. Since its founding it has certified 220 tribal, state, local, and territorial public health departments, there are another 177 in the process of being certified.

PHAB outgrew their accounting solution

Mark Paepcke, chief administrative officer at PHAB
Mark Paepcke, chief administrative officer at PHAB

This growth from a small start up organisation has brought challenges. The existing accounting solution did not match up to the growth they were experiencing. Enterprise Times asked Mark Paepcke, chief administrative officer at PHAB why this was. He said: “As the organization evolved, so did its financial model, reporting requirements, and pricing structure, including options like five-year payment plans.”

“PHAB’s revenue recognition grew too complex for QuickBooks to support, and the team decided to move to a more robust financial management solution.”

Enterprise Times also asked Paepcke which solutions they looked at. Paepcke replied: “We considered a range of systems, including Microsoft Dynamics GP and QuickBooks Online, but were most impressed by the people from Sage Intacct. They were very informative, and it quickly became clear that their software already offered the precise capabilities we needed, as opposed to other vendors who wanted to build complicated rev rec customizations for us.”

Selection done we asked Paepcke who implemented the solution. He answered: “We spent 3 months working with Armanino. Really well-informed consultant that helped us think through the Revenue Recognitions schedules.”

Armanino LLP is one of the largest independent accounting and business consulting firm based in California. They work not only with non-profit organizations and public entities but also private companies.

While Paepcke was satisfied with the work that Armanino LLP completed it was not all plain sailing. The biggest challenge was the data migration. Paepcke recalls: “Transferring the historical data from QuickBooks and the time to map the accounts, then the QA to make sure all records came over properly.”

PHAB went live on July 1st 2015.

What difference did it make?

Not only was the implementation a success but Paepcke has also seen significant benefits from using Sage Intacct. Paepcke used the opportunity to go paperless across the finance division. Despite the organisational growth this enabled the Finance team to remain with two people. Overall Paepcke believes this has kept the budget nearly $100,000 lower than if they stayed on QuickBooks. PHAB are now adding new educational services and other more specialized accreditation services and believes that the Sage Intacct will continue to grow with them.

The solution has brought other benefits. There are considerable savings on time that finance would have spent on work such as revenue reconciliation. PHAB are also taking advantage of the multi dimensional structure of Intacct. The finance teams tags and filters by individual transactions with specific customers, grants, employees, or departments. This enables the business leaders to view data in different ways.

Paepcke explained how it takes advantage of this: “The CEO and I often leverage our operational dashboard in Sage Intacct, which displays important KPIs for the organization, such as our average cost per site visit or per customer training, to drive key decisions.. It also helps us benchmark our fee revenue to grant revenue ratio and monitor our average revenue by health department size, so we can see the mix of both revenue and expenses coming in and know whether they are tracking against what we expected for the year.”

PHAB also used Fraedom Expense and Travel. This solution posts posts Expense reports both on Cash reimbursements to A/P and Credit Card Transactions to G/L. They also use Joseph Eve Asset Management module. Sage Intacct has a wide marketplace that PHAB is able  to take advantage off. In fact it is looking to move to an expenses solution with better integration to Sage Intacct. Paepcke adds: “We are migrating off Fraedom onto a Nexonia/Egencia platform that will be a live feed integration as opposed to the current import process for expense reports.”

What does the mean

While PHAB is a smaller organisation that one might expect us to cover, it is nonetheless interesting. There are many small organisations that need mid-market solutions to meet the growing complexity that they have. PHAB are no exception with much of the management accounting based on Excel Spreadsheets. It was therefore carrying a significant risk.

In looking for, and ultimately selecting, Sage Intacct they have shown that despite their small size it is worth considering an accounting solution that they can grow with. Importantly without significant costs that are associated with some of the other solutions.

Paepcke summarised by saying: “Sage Intacct is an ideal partner as we grow, because they offer everything we want, including advanced revenue management tools and powerful dashboards for our executives and board, via software-as-a-service that’s accessible from anywhere.”


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