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NAIFA moves its ERP to the cloud with Sage Intacct to unite multi-entity accounting processes and better serve its chapters.In this case study:
Industry: Financial Services
Products and Services: Sage Intacct, Migrating from local servers to the cloud, Security improvements, Licensing, Reporting and insights
The National Association of Insurance and Financial Advisors (NAIFA) was established in 1890 in Boston. Since then, it has been delivering on its mission to advocate for a positive legislative and regulatory environment, enhance business and professional skills, and promote the ethical conduct of its members. As a proactive and dynamic organization, NAIFA empowers new services for its members whenever possible. But with nearly a hundred chapters spanning 50 states and over 40,000 members, things can get complicated.
The Need for a Cloud ERP and Accounting System
In 2018, NAIFA began offering association management services for its 90 chapters across the country, including much-needed accounting services. NAIFA knew that this new service offering could not be supported by its existing accounting platforms. The organization’s structure was already highly complex, with foundations and PACs not only at the national level but also run by many branches. This new service offering meant they had to find a new solution to accommodate the existing customizations and new scale needed to serve its members properly.
The organization’s leadership board was also pushing to migrate all business systems to the cloud. NAIFA’s existing platform was deployed on-premise, meaning users could only access the system using a VPN connection. Meanwhile, staff were using Sage 50, also installed on-premise on a local server. Security was a concern, and upgrades were becoming problematic. NAIFA knew that to support members with effective and secure accounting services, it needed to migrate its accounting platform to the cloud.
NAIFA had been working with Quisitive as a partner to support their Dynamics SL solution and knew that Quisitive was also an experienced partner across many ERP cloud platforms, including Dynamics Business Central and Sage Intacct. Staff were hearing great things about Sage Intacct as a solution for multi-entity accounting management and reached out to Quisitive to help them get started.
Rebuilding in the Cloud
NAIFA’s team approached the migration as an opportunity to review and optimize its accounting structure and processes. NAIFA’s team wanted to completely change their approach to accommodate the new reality of their organization, and this was the perfect time to evaluate what was working and what would be needed to accommodate the new multi-entity accounting services model they were striving to achieve.
Redesigning their accounting system from the ground up with Sage Intacct and Quisitive was a significant project, but it also presented NAIFA with a range of new opportunities to streamline processes and realize substantial results.
Uniform Chart of Accounts
One of the accounting team’s major needs was preparing a uniform chart of accounts. NAIFA’s increasing organizational complexity included four entities at the national level and almost a hundred branches, each with sub-entities of their own. Seeing the big picture for the organization’s finances was tremendously important. With the new chart of accounts in Sage Intacct, they can now create consolidated financial statements and view organization results in one place—which is a major strategic win for the organization.
Better Tracking of Finances
Consolidating the financial systems across the organization dramatically improved how the accounting groups could work and collaborate. The national office has been able to do more to help chapters, with both sides having more visibility into each other’s accounting. More complex invoicing and charging across the organization is also now possible, enabling the accounting team to track finances with greater precision.
Improved Financial Insights
Another significant benefit of using Sage Intacct is the reporting, dashboards, and insights that NAIFA has been able to leverage. Department heads can now clearly see critical financial metrics and reports on an ongoing basis and quickly drill down to the details they need for tracking and decision-making. They no longer need to navigate through and interpret a large, complex, and sometimes confusing spreadsheet to get information.
Improved Access to Financials
The move to a Cloud ERP also had some expected advantages. As 2020 progressed and the COVID-19 pandemic ushered in a new era of virtual work, the growing NAIFA financial team was operating more and more remotely. Sage Intacct’s consolidated reporting and ability to maintain all entities in one environment online with 24-7 access have been highly valuable and set NAIFA apart in its ability to support chapters.
With these benefits, NAIFA’s move to the cloud is considered a major success across the organization.
A Better Way Forward
NAIFA’s move to the cloud-based Sage Intacct platform was a significant win. It enables their staff to leverage accounting data from any location and manage all their entities in one system. The organization no longer has to budget for and manage upgrades or worry about critical data security threats of disparate on-premise systems.
Innovative and fresh possibilities are already appearing with Sage Intacct at NAIFA. Having all financial data available in one place enables a much more detailed understanding of the operations of individual chapters and helps leadership navigate precarious times with greater agility. NAIFA plans to leverage Intacct’s budgeting capabilities in the future to provide a standard financial statement for each chapter and recommendations for their financing and budgeting.