Alpha Chi Omega builds better work environment through investment in fund accounting solution.
Alpha Chi Omega Fraternity’s finance office needed a comprehensive cloud solution that both empowered employees to dig into data and saved time spent on updates and training. With Blackbaud as a partner, the nonprofit organization realized those goals – and a better work experience for its team.
Alpha Chi Omega Fraternity formed in 1885—at a time when women first began attending college—with a mission of enriching its members’ lives through friendship, leadership, learning, and service. When Tim Johnson recently became senior financial controller at Alpha Chi Omega, he realized that those ideals could better extend to the fraternity’s employees on his team with a modern fund accounting solution.
“We have a formal strategic plan, and adding software was on there,” Johnson said. “It was a strategic goal, not only for efficiencies within finance and moving to recent technology, but also to get on the cloud and get off current servers.”
Along with the fraternity, his team supports three other entities of Alpha Chi Omega: a foundation, a housing organization, and a chapter employee group. “They’re the business partners in those meetings that listen to and answer finance questions,” Johnson said. “In some places, finance is looked at as a necessary evil, but here we’re looked at as a part of the team—and we’re here to help.”
Johnson knew that migrating to Blackbaud Financial Edge NXT® would allow his team to help even more—and do so efficiently. But before migrating, Johnson interviewed his staff to understand needs and challenges. He learned that his team wanted more training and simplified processes for writing reports and exporting data.
He recognized potential risks too, such as implementation demands and, of course, cost. But with the budget in place to make the migration, Johnson knew that timing made sense.
“As Blackbaud comes out with new releases, we need the new platform to gain access to those,” he explained. He soon learned that implementation proved uneventful and easy.
“It was seamless and didn’t use a lot of our time,” Johnson said. “In a couple of days, we were up and running.”
More Intuitive, Less Labor Intensive
A nonprofit organization, Alpha Chi Omega previously relied on a single IT employee to make updates to its fund accounting software. With Blackbaud’s cloud solution, “now they automatically come through and happen overnight,” Johnson said.
Time savings didn’t stop there. The user-friendly interface meant less effort for staff members to access information and less time training and learning. “Hands down, the biggest benefit has been the ease of navigation,” Johnson said. “Blackbaud Financial Edge NXT is so intuitive that you can learn a lot on your own. And with day-to-day tasks, there are fewer clicks.”
His team prepares income statement sheets, balance sheets, and board reports, which they can easily export to Excel while maintaining the proper formatting. “When exporting to Excel, reports come out of the system looking like they should—so we don’t have to spend a lot of time on manipulation.” And Johnson said the solution made it easier to drill down to quickly gain more insight into report transactions—even from Excel.
Plus, a comprehensive cloud solution means employees can log in any time, anywhere—effortlessly.
“To be honest, I see this as helping with staff retention and satisfaction. If you’re on an old system, you’re going to struggle. [Blackbaud] provides a better work environment,” Johnson said. “When we look toward the future of our organization, it’s definitely the platform we need for growth and enhancements.”
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