Non-Profit

The Catholic Charities of the Archdiocese of Chicago

"... Agency wide assumptions can now be easily changed during the budget process as we determine what we can and can’t afford.”

John Veldman, Director of Budget Planning & Analysis Finance, Catholic Charities, Archdiocese of Chicago

Catholic Charities of the Archdiocese of Chicago is one of the largest private, non-profit social service agencies in the Midwest, annually assisting more than one million people, without regard to religious, ethnic or economic background. They offer 150 programs at 164 locations across Cook and Lake counties. Their programs are organized into five service areas which cover human needs from “cradle to grave” and every point in between. And, 92 cents of every dollar raised goes directly to programs.

Non-profit social service agency

92 cents of every dollar raised goes directly to programs

Financial System

Blackbaud Financial Edge

Annual Operating Budget

$180 Million

Number of Employees

3,500

Business Need

Catholic Charities of the Archdiocese of Chicago wanted to change its outdated and time-consuming spreadsheet only budgeting process.

Budget Solution

The Questica advanced budget management solution (formerly PowerPlan Corp.) provided them with a fully integrated system that was easy-to-use and affordable for their 50 users of the system.

Business Benefits

  • Significantly shortened budget cycle
  • Six Programmatic Services budgets are now aggregated at the touch of a button
  • Agency wide assumptions can easily be updated
  • Provided Catholic Charities staff with tools to manage funds prospectively and strategically
  • Drill down functionality helps understand variances versus YAGO
  • Improved use of personnel costs
  • Minimal effort required to train managers on budgeting and reporting functionality
  • System was implemented in five weeks and on budget

Business Challenge

Prior to implementing PowerPlan (now part of Questica), the budgeting was all done on spreadsheets. Managers across the organizations had to be sent reports individually at each month end to review their results. The budget spreadsheets had to be manually combined to get organization totals – a very time-consuming process.

 

Solution

Questica’s non-profit advanced budget management system (formerly PowerPlan) was implemented over a five-week span including a week onsite for user training.

 

Process

The process started with gathering data and understanding the organization’s budgeting process. Organizational hierarchies, existing budget templates, report formats, employee budget data and all other requirements were gathered. We then worked with that information to build out the initial model. Review sessions were held along the way to share with the configuration in process and make sure everything aligned with the customer’s expectations.

 

Once the system was configured, training sessions were planned. First, sessions were completed for system administrators. These are the system users responsible for overseeing the budget process and behind the scenes work such as user setup, system setting changes, and populating data. The sessions covered budgeting and reporting processes along with the administrative elements. Practical application is key for any training process and thus training is always done on a configured copy of the customer’s model in order.

 

Following the admin training sessions, the division and program level users were trained on budget input and reporting. Some follow-up training was also supplied after the organization completed the first budget season.

 

“Because of our size, budgets were done at the six programmatic service areas and then I had to manually aggregate them. This was a very time-consuming process. Now, they are combined at the push of a button. Top level assumptions for employee budgeting ensure consistency across the service areas. Agency wide assumptions can now be easily changed during the budget process as we determine what we can and can’t afford.” – John Veldman, Director of Budget Planning & Analysis Finance, Catholic Charities, Archdiocese of Chicago

Results

The project was completed on time and on budget. The customer was very happy with the level of service they received during the implementation and training process, as well as the support they have received since going live.

 

“In the past, a change in the salary assumptions would cause everyone to re-work their numbers and resubmit them to me for aggregation. Allocating Agency costs, such as overhead and facility costs, is now significantly easier. And, we love the drill down capability for analyzing budget variances and fluctuations from prior year actual.” “Because of our size, budgets were done at the six programmatic service areas and then I had to manually aggregate them. This was a very time-consuming process. Now, they are combined at the push of a button. Top level assumptions for employee budgeting ensure consistency across the service areas. Agency wide assumptions can now be easily changed during the budget process as we determine what we can and can’t afford.” – John Veldman, Director of Budget Planning & Analysis Finance, Catholic Charities, Archdiocese of Chicago

 

Thanks to more efficient budgeting, the Catholic Charities of the Archdiocese of Chicago is brilliant.

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