Location: Statewide with headquarters in Columbus, OH
GL System: Abila
“We sat through the demo and we were just blown away by the intuitive nature of it [Planning Maestro], especially when we thought about all of our operators being able to use it.”
“Our operators and Finance alike are so excited to have the ability to see very quickly what was budgeted and then to have that detail feed into our financial reports – it’s extremely helpful – especially when it comes to our personnel planning.”
Mareva Page (she, her, hers)
Simplified Budgeting Leads to More Accurate Personnel Planning
Established in 1984, Equitas Health is a regional nonprofit community healthcare system. A federally qualified health center look-a-like (FQHC-LAL), it is one of the largest LGBTQ+ and HIV/AIDS serving healthcare organizations in the United States. With 21 offices in 13 cities, Equitas Health serves tens of thousands of patients in Ohio, Kentucky, and West Virginia each year through patient-centered, integrated, and cutting-edge services, including primary and specialized medical care, pharmacy, dentistry, mental health and recovery, HIV/STI treatment and prevention, PrEP/PEP, Ryan White/HIV case management, care navigation, advocacy, and other community health initiatives. The Equitas Health Pharmacy is an integral and essential part of the health center’s comprehensive care and business models, reinvesting 100% of profits back into the organization’s programs and services. Equitas Health operates pharmacies serving patients in Ohio and Texas.
Prior to implementing Centage’s Planning Maestro, Equitas Health used Excel for budgeting and planning. They would create the budget in Excel and then upload the templates into their accounting system, Abila, to run their monthly reports. For such a large organization, with over 500 employees across 21 offices and 25 different departments, the process was long, complex and error prone.
“With Excel there was a lot of room for error, and it was hard to keep track of what revision you’re on and try to figure out what had changed,” said Mareva Page (she, her, hers), Chief Financial Officer. “For a company our size, it was no longer feasible to continue to utilize Excel for our planning needs.”
To compound the complexity, “operators” (or department heads) within the organization create their own initial versions of their department budgets. These budgets are then submitted as separate spreadsheets to the Finance team who would add them to the larger company budget. Given the number of departments and the multiple people that were working on the individual budgets, version control and errors were common, and the consolidation process was time intensive and cumbersome.
Initially, Equitas Health was looking to change their entire accounting system because of the limitations the solution had when it came to financial planning. What they found out during a very extensive RFP process was that Abila was quite advanced when it came to grant accounting and could handle all the necessary segments and coding at very detailed level – which is critical for reporting back to the non-profit’s funders. What the system did lack was the ability to forecast the more strategic financial components of the business. Ms. Page and Controller, Angela McKinney connected with a Centage representative to watch the initial demo of Planning Maestro.
“We sat through the demo and we were just blown away by the intuitive nature of it, especially when we thought about all of our operators being able to use it,” said Ms. Page.
Faster, More Accurate Actuals vs. Budget Analysis
Because of the solution’s seamless integration with their accounting software, Planning Maestro operates as an extension of the GL, enabling ongoing actuals vs. budget comparisons and accurate forecasts. Equitas Health can automatically run key financial reports and provide them to the operators.
Personnel Planning with More Detail
Having just completed their annual budgeting process, it was the first time Equitas Health was able to budget down to the personnel level with such detail. With Planning Maestro’s spread methods, they were able to apply individual spreads depending on the specific employee, making the budget even more precise. With over 500 employees, to be able to budget down to the individual health insurance or dental plan and have that detail readily available – and accurate – has been a game changer.
“Our operators and Finance alike are so excited to have the ability to see very quickly what was budgeted and then to have that detail feed into our financial reports – it’s extremely helpful – especially when it comes to our personnel planning,” said Ms. Page.
The next step in utilizing the system will be rolling out to operations the ability to run the reports themselves whenever they need to in Planning Maestro.
“Just the fact that we will be able to do this in Planning Maestro is amazing, we don’t have to worry about anyone being in the accounting software – they will be able to get the information they need on their own to run and adjust within their departments on a regular basis – a huge thing for us,” said Ms. McKinney.
Just the Beginning
Equitas Health has moved beyond Excel and is now able to build a collaborative, error-free budget quickly and easily with more detail than ever before for personnel planning, providing the Finance team and budget operators the ability to perform critical budget vs. actuals analysis. Equitas Health feels that they have only scratched the surface of what they can do with Planning Maestro.