Estimated reading time: 3 minutes, 3 seconds

Evangelizing the Critical Need for Strategic Budgeting

gideonsThe Gideons International is a nonprofit ministry, based in Nashville, Tennessee.  Founded in 1899, the organization boasts 300,000 members focused on sharing their experiences while distributing Bibles and New Testaments around the world. Today, The Gideons International distributes more than one million copies every four days, which can be found printed in over 90 languages.

Traditionally, the organization’s annual budgeting process meant many late nights, tedious, meticulous spreadsheet work, and a time-consuming approval and revision process.  As a result, there was little time left for analysis.  The financial team knew they needed a better solution to more strategically and effectively budget and it needed to meet two critical requirements:

1. With a staggering 80,000 GL accounts and 1,350 budget line items in operating expense alone, the planning cycle had grown unwieldy, slowing processing time and making meeting annual deadlines difficult, let alone affording any time for analysis.

2. The Gideons International also needed to produce a budget with more accurate payroll expense data. The Gideons International offers a diverse suite of benefit options to their employees, and often times, the payroll estimates strayed too far from the actual expenses.

After a comprehensive market evaluation, The Gideons International selected Budget Maestro from Centage Corporation.  Uniquely designed with built-in financial and business logic, Budget Maestro eliminates the error prone and time consuming process associated with a spreadsheet approach to budgeting and forecasting. As a result, the entire budgeting process is executed more quickly, allowing more time for analysis to support strategic decision making.  In addition, Budget Maestro’s robust Payroll module delivers precise payroll expense estimates for each department based on up to date and accurate data.  Armed with this unprecedented insight, the financial team is empowered to more quickly report on the financial health of the organization and serve as a strategic partner to its executive team.

According to Brad Jones, financial analyst at The Gideons International, one of the greatest benefits of Budget Maestro is the ability to import spreadsheets for operating expenses. By eliminating this traditionally time consuming, manual process, the team saved one hour per budget–and with 15 departments, they now had two full working days for analysis.  Jones added, “The robust analytics, cash flow forecasting and reporting, and wide variety of wizards to further evaluate the data, are tremendously valuable.”  The Gideons International also found the Budget Maestro suite to be cost effective, required a short learning curve as compared to other tools, and integrated seamlessly with their general ledger and Microsoft Dynamics GP–meeting all of the organization’s needs and more.

Through careful planning and by relying on Budget Maestro, the financial team has eliminated a traditionally long and tedious budgeting cycle.  Staff and management now have time to thoughtfully review budget details to fuel strategic decision making, and Budget Maestro’s intuitive dashboard and dynamic reports have made the budget process much more effective.  Now stakeholders can quickly and easily analyze expenses, react to changes of direction and expectations, and immediately see the impact actual expenses have against their budgeting goals. While logistics and time constraints were typical barriers to engaging management, with clear visibility and easy access, all key stakeholders are fully engaged in the budgeting cycle. This increased accountability is helping The Gideons International effectively leverage their budget to manage operations more strategically than ever before.

“With Budget Maestro in place, we are more confident about [going into year-end] this year than in years past. Streamlining the budget process has not only saved us time and resources, it empowers us to focus our attention on key business initiatives that are designed to support growth and innovation across our organization,” concluded Jones.
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