Management and Leadership in Nonprofits


ACLU Minnesota Migrates to Cloud-Based Accounting Software

May 22, 2019
By: Lisa Desotelle

Nonprofit organizations are under increasing pressure, pushed to meet the demands of those in need as well as those of their donors. They must ensure dollars are spent according to funder stipulations, and in order to do that, they need responsive, modern financial systems.

Winning a Two-Day Battle

ACLU of Minnesota, a nonprofit that works to protect civil liberties, knew it needed better tools in its finance department. Every month, its finance director spent two days battling its legacy system to get the information she needed for leadership to review. The process was arduous, involving duplicate data entry, unwieldy exports to Excel and manual reformatting. 

The organization consulted with Wipfli to select and implement a financial tool that better met its needs. After careful review, it selected Sage Intacct, a cloud-based financial management and accounting solution.  

Since deployment, its finance director’s two-day reporting project is now down to mere minutes. Thanks to the increased efficiency, she can spend less time fighting the old accounting software and more time leveraging Intacct for deeper analysis and reporting. 

Other managers are also seeing big benefits. With Intacct’s dashboard features, managers across the organization can view relevant financial metrics at a glance and utilize them to improve decision-making. Data is no longer stale and real-time analysis means more proactive decisions to help the organization succeed.

Automated Document Management 

In addition to month-end reporting advantages, Intacct has introduced dramatic improvements to the nonprofit’s record keeping system. Previously, it had an onerous paper management process that meant every donation, invoice and receipt had to be input and then filed by hand. 

Now, a new document management and invoice automation system means processing those documents is dramatically faster. The system reduces data entry, decreases time filing and retrieving documents, improves security and will help the organization reclaim office space. Plus, it’s now better situated for disaster recovery, with no paper records to be lost.

Better Controls, Better Audits

In another measure aimed at improving security, Wipfli helped the ACLU of Minnesota set up spending controls, including a tiered approval process for purchasing and printing checks. Value-level approvals mean certain payments require additional layers of authorization. Intacct provides lots of flexibility, which means organizations can define approval levels that fit their needs. 

As an additional benefit, the new controls will streamline future audits for the ACLU of Minnesota. It will save staff time collecting audit documentation and answering questions, reducing disruptions to their work.

Productivity From Anywhere

With a cloud-based solution from Sage Intacct, employees can be “location independent.” Remote access and mobile tools allow employees to be productive anytime, anywhere. 

This means the accounting team can stay busy during the worst of Minnesota’s winter storms and otherwise gain the flexibility they need to manage work commitments, wherever they are. Mobile tools improve employee job satisfaction and help nonprofits attract and keep top financial talent. 

Migrating to Cloud-Based Accounting

Cloud-based tools have helped the ACLU of Minnesota be more efficient and get the data that staff need to make informed decisions, faster. Reporting that previously took days, now takes minutes. Other financial tasks have been streamlined and secured. In addition, the software allows staff to stay productive when they’re not in the office.

Tools like Sage Intacct can be vital to a nonprofit organization. By making the switch, the ACLU of Minnesota gained faster access to information and improved drill-down visibility into underlying data. Now leaders and managers can get essential information, on-demand, in easy-to-interpret reports that fit their operation.

Nonprofit organizations simply can’t afford inefficiencies. They need to operate lean, with nimble, cost-effective solutions. But operating lean doesn’t mean making do with outdated technology. The right solution can provide significant advantages, allowing your organization to expand and do more without having to add additional staff. 

Sage Intacct makes it possible to take control of your nonprofit organization, offering automation and reliability at a price point that makes sense for nonprofits. At Wipfli, we work with nonprofits on every element of their business, helping them optimize their operations and thrive. Learn more about our work with Sage Intacct, and contact us for a consultation.


Lisa Desotelle, CPA
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