Carlson Thought Leadership in Finance & Technology

Client Success Story - Adaptive Insights Helps Manage Every Aspect of the Budget Process with All-Encompassing Capabilities

June 28, 2018 / by Lauren Strohmeier

Birch Family Services - PictureJosh Scher, Chief Financial Officer at Birch Family Services, shares how Adaptive Insights helps the organization manage all its financial functions in one piece of software.

Please provide a description of your organization and mission.

Birch Family Services is a social services agency and we have two lines of business.

We have more than 3,000 teachers, therapists, social workers, psychologists, nurses, residence counselors, administrators, board members, and family members working together to provide the finest education, habilitation, and residential services to people with autism and other developmental disabilities. We also help their families overcome the lifelong obstacles they face in raising children with disabilities. In addition, we run services for adults with developmental disabilities in mostly 24/7 residences.

Birch Family Services has 1,000 employees and our annual revenue is about $68 million dollars.

Please provide a description of your role and responsibilities within your organization.

I’m the CFO. In my role as CFO, my responsibilities are to oversee all the financial functions, IT, purchasing, accounts receivable, the accounting function, budget, and more.


Please describe the challenges that your organization faced which led you to seek out a new cloud-based CPM solution.

Regarding Adaptive Insights, I was the Budget Director during a previous job at a very large agency that made about $150 million dollars in revenue. My role was to oversee the budget and forecasting functions. We were doing this in Excel, and obviously, that’s not doable. So, we went through the process of trying to identify a cloud-based online budgeting system. Ultimately, we chose Adaptive Insights.

We have also implemented Sage Intacct. When I first joined Birch Family Services, I was unhappy with their general ledger both in terms of the way their accounts were set up and the software’s functionality.

As it became clear we were better off going to a new piece of software, the CIO and I developed a strategy to move as much information off-premises and into the Cloud as possible. Because I’m a big fan of Adaptive Insights and have implemented it three different times, I obviously wanted a platform that would integrate with Adaptive. So, that’s why we chose Sage Intacct.

What factors made you decide that Adaptive Insights was the right solution for your organization? Did you look at other solutions?

When I implemented Adaptive Insights at my previous job many years ago, I was really satisfied with the product. That’s why when I joined Birch Family Services, I immediately implemented it. The functionality is good, and I like that it can do allocations. Its forecasting capabilities and more are also helpful. Adaptive Insights is a great product all around.


Which systems are you using Adaptive Insights with? What are the key benefits? 

We use Adaptive Insights with Sage Intacct for pretty much all financial functions, including revenue, expense, planning, and budget.

The Results:

Please describe some of the benefits you experienced after implementing Adaptive Insights with Carlson Management Consulting. 

Carlson Management Consulting has been an invaluable resource for my team and me over the years. I had such a positive and helpful experience with my first implementation, that I immediately called them when it was time to do my second, third, and fourth implementations.

And with Adaptive Insights, you’re gaining two primary benefits. First, you’re getting back the time you would typically spend doing non-value-added work. Basically, you’re not spending time creating spreadsheets, then checking and rechecking to make sure Excel is right. You’re eliminating all that time, so you can focus on analysis.

The second key benefit is you have an accurate forecast at all times. Our budget process used to be between three to five months long and would take 90% of everyone’s time. Since our budget staff has implemented Adaptive Insights, our budget process is two months and requires only about 20% of our time. The platform gives you the time and freedom to focus on other high-priority goals.

What are some of the other benefits that you have experienced that may be less quantifiable?

The other benefits we’ve experienced include the time we’re spending doing real work, as compared to the manual work of checking information or creating data sets. As well, we are able to drill down into transactions with Adaptive Insights. We also don’t have to switch between Adaptive Insights and the general ledger, which is helpful for my budget team and analysts. That’s a significant nonquantifiable benefit.

Concluding Thoughts:

At this point, I don’t see how any agency can operate without using a cloud-based budgeting and forecasting system. In the nonprofit world, Adaptive Insights has been able to address all my needs and challenges throughout the budget process.

With Adaptive Insights, you’re getting an all-encompassing platform where you can manage every aspect and facet of the budget in one piece of software. Because it handles many financial functions for you, you don’t have to spend time on non-value-added work that a lot of people do.

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