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Case Study:
Urban Ventures

Seamless GL Integration Cuts Budgeting Time in Half

Fast facts



Based In

Minneapolis, MN



GL System

Dynamics GP


“Budget revisions in Excel would take me five or 6 hours – doing them in Centage, it’s 20 minutes – so it’s a pretty significant time savings.”
“I don’t think the staffing changes that we talk about would be feasible to forecast if we didn’t have this tool.”

Renee Sherman, VP of  Finance, Urban Ventures

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Urban Ventures is a nonprofit social services organization that provides “cradle-to-career” support for youth and families in Minneapolis. The faith-based organization works with 70 local partners to address opportunity gaps in academics, nutrition, physical activity, and parenting resources. Their list of services extends from prenatal care all the way through adult life.

Some of their 75+ team members are part time, some are seasonal, and others are full-time. Before Centage, their VP of Finance Renee Sherman budgeted and forecasted everything from unemployment insurance rates, taxes (employee and employer), salaries, and insurance in Excel, with Microsoft Dynamics GP providing the necessary data export/import and reporting features.

Eventually she realized that Excel alone was not up to this complex task.

Seamless GP integration leads to a faster, more accurate personnel budgeting

“When I first started, the Excel worksheets that my predecessors built were really robust, however, the complexities of budgeting and planning for our staffing were not something I wanted to tackle in Excel.”

Urban Ventures needed to streamline and simplify their FP&A processes, and chose Centage because of its personnel planning and forecasting capabilities, and its seamless integration with Dynamics GP.

Since payroll makes up about 85% of Urban Venture’s expenses, accurate numbers in the personnel budget is of utmost importance.

“That was one of the biggest requirements – we didn’t want multiple places where we would have to enter budget data.”

Less time wasted on data reconciliation

“I love having the two systems that work together because I really felt a vulnerability with Excel – relying on it and having to constantly check formulas as well as getting the data into Dynamics GP – there was always a long reconciliation process – which is why we really needed Centage.”

While it was easy enough to create an initial version of their budget in Excel, Renee was losing far too much time in revisions — especially if she needed to move staff from one project to another or add another part-time employee to the budget.

With Centage, budget revisions that used to take up almost an entire work day now take less than half an hour.

“Budget revisions in Excel would take me 5 or 6 hours – doing them in Centage, it’s 20 minutes – so it’s a pretty significant time savings.”

Detailed personnel forecasting enables better scenario planning & hiring decisions

In addition to a faster, more accurate personnel budgeting process, another benefit Urban Ventures experienced right away was the staffing detail offered by Centage.

Now they can build out a team of people working on a project, then look at various scenarios for what happens to the budget when certain changes are made – whether it’s rates, hours worked over a given period, or program allocation – and then carry those numbers into the future. “I don’t think the staffing changes that we talk about would be feasible to forecast if we didn’t have this tool.”

Better data means more confidence reporting the numbers to leadership

“Our budget takes close to 100 hours, where I do believe when we use Centage, it will take half the time. And, on top of that, I will be more confident in the numbers I am running.”

Centage is particularly helpful in providing leadership with the insight they need to determine whether the organization can take on additional staff and if so, when. The finance team can now answer key questions accurately and confidently, not worried about bad data caused by Excel formula errors.

Because of the anticipated time savings, Urban Ventures hopes to have more time to look ahead at how else they can more systematically improve their budgeting, potentially building a multi-year budget and financial dashboards — goals that were not even on their radar before Centage.

Book a demo to learn more about Centage’s formula-free FP&A software.

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