United States

Financial reporting system analysis identifies operational improvements

CASE STUDY

Abstract
After struggling to make the best use of its existing Deltek Costpoint® financial reporting system, a $100 million foundation was considering significant investments in new software and additional staff to get its financial reporting processes under control and capable of delivering real-time financial data. At the time that the not-for-profit organization contacted RSM, a Deltek partner, its decision makers knew they had a good system, but couldn’t get the financial data they needed out of it. RSM’s Technology Business Solutions Team was engaged to review the organization’s existing system and its architectural design, internal processes, employee skill sets and other factors that were preventing the organization from realizing the efficiencies that the software promised.

The Challenge
The organization had been using the Deltek Costpoint system for years, but had not configured it in a consistent manner to properly support its various business processes, such as accounting, payroll, employee benefits, accounts payable, accounts receivable, sales, T&L and other key financial functions. The system was being overutilized in some areas, creating a complex financial structure that was cumbersome and inefficient, and underutilized in others, which necessitated excessive use of Excel spreadsheets, redundant data entry, and complexity that required greater review and reconciliation. Overall, the process flow was not reflective of CostPoint’s best practices. At the same time, the organization had not implemented internal controls to minimize the risk of errors and fraud. Data was being entered in a haphazard fashion by employees who did not necessarily have the appropriate skill sets, knowledge, or accountability to ensure proper posting of information. In addition, the organization lacked a standardized reporting process across business units. All of these factors extended the month-end cycle time to as much as three weeks instead of the best practice of five business days, and increased the likelihood of errors.

The Solution
RSM deployed the right mix of technical and not-for-profit industry expertise to provide the following integrated solution.

  • Diagnosed the overall system structure. Working with stakeholders across all relevant departments, RSM provided a top-down, high-level assessment of the existing system, while challenging current assumptions and perceived system and organizational constraints that were preventing the organization from using its current system to the fullest.
  • Identified data design and system configuration inefficiencies and recommended remedies. RSM reviewed the organization’s systems against its business processes to identify design and configuration issues. Based on the findings, the team developed a series of recommendations to streamline business processes and better utilize the system for data capture and reporting.
  • Developed a change management process to implement remedies. The team worked with key decision makers to evaluate and prioritize recommendations based on the value to the organization and the effort required for implementation, including identifying quick wins that could be implemented with minimal effort and resources. With the priorities set, the team developed a change management process to communicate the vision and strategy, engage and align leaders throughout the organization, prepare and mobilize stakeholders, align processes to the organization, and manage culture and behavior gaps.

The Result
With RSM’s assistance, the foundation has been able to make operational changes and reconfigure its existing CostPoint system to improve its financial reporting without investing in additional products and resources.

The organization has significantly enhanced its accounting and financial reporting capabilities. It is now able to issue reliable financial reports on time. In addition, employee morale has improved as the team has developed competencies and gained confidence in their collective abilities. The organization is well positioned to produce relevant financial reports in a much shorter timeframe, facilitating better decision making toward achieving its mission.