Success Stories

Western Idaho Community Action Program

Anti-poverty programs for youth, adults and seniors.

software solutions for nonprofits

Created in 1965 under the provisions of the Economic Opportunity Act of 1964, WICAP develops and administers anti-poverty programs for youth, adults and seniors. Through emergency services and family programs, WICAP promotes self-sufficiency and desires to create an environment of shared responsibility, cooperative problem solving and cultural and economic diversity.

Situation

Using QuickBooks® to manage their accounting, WICAP was bogged down with tedious manual workarounds and excessive additional journal entries in an effort to balance the books and accurately track grant funds.  According to WICAP CFO Vicki Swank, “My experience with QuickBooks was that it wasn’t really designed for a nonprofit organization like ours that has multiple programs to manage and grant funds that need to be tracked separately. To keep everything in order, we had to create a balance sheet for every single fund, run clearing accounts, and do a lot of unnecessary extra work.” Any discrepancies that were discovered translated into hours of tedious, manual reconciliation and lost time.

Strategy

While attending a conference for CAP agencies, Vicki polled other attendees to determine which software they were using and why. She discovered that the majority of her nonprofit colleagues were using Abila MIP Fund AccountingTM and were very happy with it. Since Wipfli is one of the nation’s leading providers of MIP Fund Accounting, Vicki knew she’d found a vendor that she could trust and that had the experience needed to help WICAP successfully transition away from QuickBooks.

Vicki got her first look at ABila MIP via webcast hosted by Wipfli and discovered that the built-in audit controls, grant fund tracking, payroll, automated allocations, and other features designed specifically for nonprofits were going to ease the burden that QuickBooks was putting on the accounting staff.

Regarding her selection of Wipfli as a technology provider, Vicki says, “We could have purchased MIP Fund Accounting from anybody. But Wipfli is more than just a software provider. They conduct nonprofit conferences nationwide, offer extensive training programs, and really understand grant-funded organizations.”

Benefits

MIP Fund Accounting has made a world of difference for Vicki and her staff. She says, “The extra journal entries I had to make with QuickBooks were taking me about 2 days every month. Now with Sage MIP, it takes just a few hours to run reports with encumbrances and balance the accounts. That’s a significant time savings.”

While QuickBooks was easy to use, it was also easy to make mistakes. According to Vicki, “MIP has built-in fund accounting controls which help to prevent what our Wipfli consultant likes to call ‘fat finger’ mistakes …  you type in 101 but meant to type 102. Based on our experience in QuickBooks, as long as the credits and debits were equal, it didn’t matter if the fund accounts were and the entry would post. Then you would end up spending hours trying to figure out where the unbalance between the funds occurred. It really saves time because MIP won’t let you post an unbalanced fund entry to begin with.”

Because WICAP runs a variety of programs at various locations, Vicki is thankful for the ability to set up an unlimited number of distribution codes in MIP Payroll. She says, “We have about 250 employees, some of whom might work in different programs at various locations and need to be paid out of a variety of funds. MIP automatically allocates the payroll, benefits, insurance, and other costs based on our distribution codes.” Similarly, the distribution codes feature in Accounts Payable has been tremendously valuable as well. Vicki says, “When we pay rent, utilities, and maintenance, MIP automatically allocates those administrative costs based on square footage and breaks them up among the various programs and grant funds.”

When it comes to Wipfli, Vicki offers nothing but the highest praise. “Their hands-on training and experience with grant-funded organizations was tremendously helpful during the transition from QuickBooks. They come in, roll up their sleeves, and get right to work alongside our staff and aren’t tucked away in a server room somewhere.” She adds, “The service I get from both Abila and Wipfli are some of the best technical support systems I’ve ever experienced.” 

Relationship Executive(s)

Maile Pa'alani, CPA, Senior Manager