Case Study: Casey Family Programs

Foundation Cuts Costs by More than $200,000 with New Financial Management

"It was amazing what we achieved in five months. And it actually cost us less to implement our Microsoft Great Plains Solution than it would have to upgrade to the next version of PeopleSoft."

Jim Fimiani, Director of Accounting Operations, Casey Family Programs

A not-for-profit private operating foundation, Casey Family Programs is dedicated to improving the lives of children and youth in its foster care. The foundation aims to be a good steward of its resources by managing its finances wisely. But the PeopleSoft financial software that Casey used hindered that objective. The 35 accounting staffers found the application difficult to use, and it was expensive to maintain. When Casey was forced to make a costly upgrade or lose technical support for its aging software, the foundation explored other options and chose Microsoft Business Solutions - Great Plains for its financial management. As a result of the deployment, in just the first year the foundation saved U.S. $25,000 in maintenance agreement fees, $180,000 in information technology expenses, and 25 to 30 staff hours each month by streamlining a complex recurring process.

Casey Family Programs is the largest national foundation whose sole mission is to provide and improve - and ultimately prevent the need for - foster care. The foundation draws on its 40 years of experience and expert research and analysis to improve the lives of children and youth in foster care in two important ways: by providing direct services and support to foster families, and by promoting improvements in child welfare practice and policy. With a current endowment of U.S. $2 billion, the Seattle-based foundation was established in 1966 by UPS Founder Jim Casey.

Unlike many not-for-profit organizations, Casey Family Programs operates almost exclusively on its investment earnings. Although financial activity is recorded in one fund, the organization has sophisticated internal and external reporting requirements. "In some states where we provide direct services, the foundation is required to submit routine cost reports on each youth served," says Jim Fimiani. "It is a critical business requirement that we track and report financial activity for every individual youth in our direct care."

As a result of this requirement, Casey Family Programs has a complex chart of accounts, and the majority of the transactions that accounting personnel enter into the financial system are associated with unique youth identification numbers known as youth IDs.

After comparing different solutions including an offering from Hyperion, Casey Family Programs chose The Resource Group, a Microsoft Gold Certified Partner based in Seattle, to help implement Microsoft Dynamics GP. Microsoft Dynamics GP appeared to fit the organization's needs and fit well within the organization's Microsoft Windows Server System-based infrastructure.

Beginning in April 2003, seven IT professionals at The Resource Group worked with six staff members from Casey Family Programs to put the solution in place. The group held weekly status meetings and communicated by email and phone to keeps its members informed and working together throughout the process. The group formed a tight bond that contributed to the success of implementation. "We worked together really well. Local support was important to us - and with The Resource Group and Microsoft, we got both personalized service and a solution from a company that we had confidence in," says Clayton King, Manager of Business Solutions at Casey Family Programs.

The day of the transition to the Microsoft Dynamics GP software was just the first of many good days that Casey Family Programs experienced with its new financial management system. As the staff and management began to use the new software, the organization found that the solution required less training, substantially reduced support costs, streamlined accounting processes, and provided improved reporting.

With easy access to information and an implementation that was far more successful than anticipated, employee morale remains strong, and Casey Family Programs has improved its ability to perform.

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