Design-Build Institute of America (DBIA) is a nonprofit organization that fosters innovation and collaboration in the construction industry. Founded in 1993 by architectural, engineering and construction industry leaders, DBIA offers education and certification in the design-build model. Under this system, contractors and designers work together as a unified team to provide construction services. DBIA members have worked on some of America’s most successful construction projects, and over 5,000 professionals nationwide belong to the organization.
Things just didn’t feel right to Lisa Washington. As the executive director of DBIA, Washington knew that the effectiveness of the organization’s finance department was critical to the organization’s success. Unfortunately, many challenges existed with the department. The issues ranged from a lack of standard operating procedures to inaccuracies in the financial data being reported. Things were falling through the cracks, and the department had developed a habit of performing tasks in the same way, even if it was inefficient. This was negatively affecting the entire organization.
Washington decided that DBIA needed an objective look at its finance function. So she called in RSM to perform an assessment, which validated many of her concerns: the finance department lacked clear policies and standard operating procedures, and the quality of the work was inconsistent. Now that Washington had verification from accounting and financial professionals, she had to figure out the path forward.
A new phase
Although Washington had brought in RSM to perform just an assessment, she quickly discovered that the firm offered managed services. Outsourcing the chief financial officer function and bringing in professionals with access to cutting-edge technology appealed to Washington, so she hired RSM to manage the organization’s accounting. The engagement’s initial goals were to improve the accuracy of DBIA’s financial statements and streamline their operations. But just as crucial was rebuilding trust and confidence in the financial data being presented.
“RSM had the capacity to perform tasks more efficiently, and to tackle projects like switching to a different accounting platform and updating our process,” Washington says. “But they also stay up to date on any changes in laws, regulations or IRS rules, which is really hard to do with internal employees who have other duties. RSM’s work allowed us to gain strategic insights into our initiatives and to make sure we know the potential changes that might have an impact on our finances.”
With their finance function improving, DBIA’s leaders considered additional ways in which RSM could help the organization. They soon thought of their IT department.