Vitamin Angels is a global public health nutrition organisation that promotes health and economic equity across the lifespan by ensuring nutritionally vulnerable, underserved young children and pregnant women have access to evidence-based nutrition interventions. With a presence in over 70 countries, the non-profit organisation’s mission is to break the cycle of intergenerational poverty by intervening early in life.
At the Sage Transform conference this fall, we had the great pleasure of sitting down with Bonnie Forssell, CFO at Vitamin Angels, to hear a little bit about her journey with Sage Intacct and Vitamin Angles over the last two years. In our latest Sage Intacct customer story, she shares some of the key results her finance team achieved by moving from Intuit QuickBooks to Sage Intacct, including:
Forssell summed up the impact of the modern system on her team, noting, “Sage Intacct has elevated our entire finance function and freed up resources we can put towards advancing our important mission. Instead of just doing data entry, the whole team is more forward-thinking and can spend time on analysis.”
When Forssell joined Vitamin Angels three years ago, the organisation was at a turning point. She remembers, “It was clear that not only had we outgrown our existing accounting system, but it was holding us back. We were saying ‘no’ to opportunities that would require more robust reporting due to the administrative burden it would cause.”
What’s more, accounting processes were almost entirely paper- or Excel-based and extremely manual. “As a non-profit, it’s important for us to be efficient with our resources so we can have the biggest impact possible,” Forssell says. “As we grew, we understood that these manual processes were limiting our reach and impact. I never want finance to hold our organisation back, and I knew we needed better software in order to support its future needs.”
By moving to Sage Intacct, the non-profit streamlined several of its previously time-consuming financial processes. Some of Vitamin Angels’ top efficiency gains to date include:
In addition to integration with Salesforce, the team syncs their payroll system (Proliant) with Sage Intacct, further relieving the need for constant reconciliations between systems. Next year, they plan on integrating Sage Intacct with Rootstock for inventory and shipments and with Expensify for corporate credit cards and expense reimbursements. “Probably the biggest impact was advancing Vitamin Angel’s technology maturity,” shares Forssell. “Implementing Sage Intacct was a catalyst of our multi-year journey to become more efficient through better use of technology—which is continuing to transform our organisation across the board.”
Having a fully connected best-in-class technology stack will also make it easier for Vitamin Angels to calculate key metrics related to its impact and reach. For example, by pulling non-financial data into Sage Intacct using statistical accounts, the organisation will be able to analyse the cost to reach a woman or child, or even save a life, as well as its costs by program, partner, country, etc.
Most importantly, upgrading to Sage Intacct made a direct impact on Vitamin Angels’ mission. Forssell explains, “When your organisation is growing, it can be intimidating to chart new waters that you haven’t navigated before. For us, that was pursuing restricted funding, which we knew would require us to be extremely efficient with finance headcount, improve our reporting, and have access to more real-time data.”
“By implementing Sage Intacct and professionalising our accounting processes, that burden (and that fear) was removed. When we told our development and programs teams that accounting was now willing and able to support restricted funding, a proverbial wall was broken down,” She continues. “We are now budgeting $14M in restricted funding over three years, which enables us to tackle some truly innovative projects that will impact the health of 100 million pregnant women and young children here in the US and around the world by 2030.”
The organisation’s budget forecasts are also more accurate and less painful now that budget managers have access to real-time data through dashboards in Sage Intacct. Rather than the prior tendency to be ultra conservative, managers feel confident in their numbers and, as a result, they make better decisions throughout the year.
Forssell credits her previous experience using Sage Intacct with preparing her for the role of a more adaptive, forward-looking CFO at Vitamin Angels. She shares, “I understand the story our numbers tell because my Sage Intacct dashboards and customised reports show timely data. When an opportunity or challenge arises, I often don’t need to dig too much into our numbers because I’m so in-tune with our finances. Finance should always understand risks and rewards, and with Sage Intacct, I can use that insight to give quick guidance and lead our organisation as we move ahead.”
When the organisation was still on QuickBooks, Forssell notes that she used to spend half of her time just reviewing and understanding the past and present state of the financials, whereas now, that part of her job only consumes around 10%. “I can spend 90% of my time looking towards the future and thinking proactively about our growth and strategy, and where we’re going. I have more time and the confidence to focus on value-add things and support the growth of our overseas entities.”
“Personally, I’m way less stressed and have enjoyed the challenges that I’m working through every day. It’s much more exciting to me to be working with our teams abroad on their ambitious goals than spending hours digging into why our shipping costs are higher than expected,” she concluded.
Learn more in our new customer story about how Vitamin Angels elevated the role of finance with the help of greater automation and visibility in Sage Intacct.
The Akuna Solutions Team