Fast Facts

Industry: Nonprofit
Location: Pittsburgh, PA
Employees: 325+
GL System: Dynamics GP


“I’ve been able to create a report that took us from about half a day to create in Dynamics GP to now with Planning Maestro, it takes 30 minutes.”

“ I look at the numbers and quickly have so much more confidence in them… It’s really just a push of the button now.”

Jodi Norris
The Children’s Institute of Pittsburgh

Faster, More Sophisticated Budgeting and Reporting Leads to Greater Accuracy

The Children’s Institute of Pittsburgh is a nonprofit organization dedicated to children with special needs and their families in Western Pennsylvania and Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. The passionate team at The Children’s Institute is dedicated to the amazing kids and families they serve, helping children to reach their full potential through educational services, autism services, outpatient physical and behavioral health services, early intervention, and child and family services. The Children’s Institute serves more than 6,000 children each year at seven campuses across Western Pennsylvania.


When Jodi Norris, controller, first joined the nonprofit, the Finance team was already using Planning Maestro for their annual budgeting. She recalls it being a challenging time to join as it was just before budget season and many of the power users had recently left. Ms. Norris relied on a team member and training from Centage to get up to speed as quickly as possible.

At the time, they were using Planning Maestro strictly for budgeting – their financial data was securely and automatically pulled from Dynamics GP, they would create the budget and then upload it back into the ERP solution. They would then run reports out of Dynamics GP using pre-existing hard-coded reports, which was a time consuming and difficult process. To add another layer of complexity, during this time the organization expanded from one company to five, so they had to separate out the financials into 5 separate entities
but also perform reporting at a consolidated level for their financial statements and audit purposes. As she became more familiar with the budgeting process, it was clear that they were not taking advantage of Planning Maestro’s full budgeting and reporting capabilities.


Today, The Children’s Institute of Pittsburgh is using Planning Maestro for their annual budgeting and planning and have expanded their use of the cloud platform’s robust reporting capabilities – all of which have brought efficiency, confidence, and ease to the processes.


More Advanced Budgeting
Ms. Norris is also using the solution’s spread methods, revenue calculations and allocations capabilities which have brought a new level of detail and accuracy to a complicated budgeting process. “We can perform allocations based on certain percentages – so things like a percent of revenue or a percent of a total expense – these are now incorporated into the budget uploads.” This was a process that was done manually in Excel – which was time consuming and riddled with inaccuracies and errors.

Faster, More Granular Reporting
Ms. Norris also relies on Planning Maestro’s advanced reporting capabilities to easily combine data from each of the five entities to create specific reports that are distributed to each of the business unit managers such as the Day School, so they can review their own budget vs. actuals and adjust if necessary.

One of the key reports Ms. Norris runs that was quite difficult before, is figuring out the total cost of running the Day School – one of the five entities within The Children’s Institute – at both The Children’s Institute and Day School entity level.

“I’ve been able to create a report that took us from about half a day to create in Dynamics GP to now with Planning Maestro, it takes 30 minutes,” said Ms. Norris.

Ms. Norris is also much more confident in the numbers generated. “I look at the numbers and quickly have so much more confidence in them.” Versus spending time manually pulling the data, and then having to test every piece. “It’s really just a push of the button now.”

Ms. Norris is working on being able to provide even more detailed reporting to each of the departments and counties they serve when it comes to their Federally funded services. For example, the department of Family Support Services provides in home care like adoption and infant parent empowerment in several different counties. “They’ve asked me for  very specific reporting so they can better manage their departments and report back to the county.” Currently this complex and detail-rich reporting is being done through Dynamics GP but they are working towards running these reports solely out of Planning Maestro. “I can see how easy it will be to pull data into Centage and then create a report –and then it’s just so much easier to manage and make changes if needed.