2020: Dawson Creek for Community Living begins business with Cantatus

2020: Dawson Creek for Community Living begins business with Cantatus


Building a Firm Foundation for Growth

Dawson Creek Society for Community Living was incorporated in 1958 with a mission to serve adults with developmental disabilities. This growing Canadian nonprofit strives to meet this
community’s evolving needs through a range of services, resources, education, and advocacy. With a $12 million (CAD) budget, the organization is primarily funded by various provincial and regional government authorities, which each have different reporting requirements.Over time, as Dawson Creek added to its 130+ housing units and expanded its programs to include a social enterprise business and additional senior services, its financial complexity naturally increased. Kirsten Homme, director of finance at Dawson Creek, explained the drivers that led the team to move off their legacy accounting and payroll system. She said, “Our small finance team was using a tool that just was not set up for electronic invoicing or the other workflows we needed to grow. When COVID-19 hit, we also knew we’d be shifting to remote work, so we needed to upgrade several aspects of our technology, including our financial management software.”
After learning about Sage Intacct’s cloud-based solution, the team immediately recognized the benefits of establishing a better financial foundation for the nonprofit’s continued expansion. By
implementing the modern system, Dawson Creek increased finance team efficiency by 50%, while gaining insights that helped them apply for new grants, reduce transportation costs by 22%, and
put $200,000 (CAD) into reserves.


Reducing Audit Risk 50% with Paperless Processes

With the help of Sage Intacct partner Cantatus Systems, the team quickly got up and running on their new financial management solution — streamlining the organization’s chart of accounts
by 100% and establishing modern financial processes just before COVID’s second wave spread across Canada. “Before we deployed Sage Intacct, we panicked that we’d have issues logging in from a separate server, and that we wouldn’t be set up to do our jobs remotely,” commented Marla Reed, executive director of Dawson Creek. “But once we got up and running on the new system, we could easily work from home. That sense of freedom, of not being tied to our desks, has been huge during the pandemic.”

By integrating Sage Intacct with the Yooz accounts payables (AP) automation application and shifting invoicing from paper-based to electronic workflows, the finance team cut the time they previously spent on payables and receivables (AR) nearly in half and saved a full day of work each month. Sage Intacct also enabled them to more quickly prepare monthly reports and granular annual budgets for the board, which previously took weeks of Excel work. Now, Homme leverages Sage Intacct’s easy-to-use report writer to effortlessly produce detailed budgets, income statements, and prior year comparison reports as needed.
Thanks to digital document attachments, automated reconciliations, and detailed audit trails in Sage Intacct, the team also reduced audit risk by at least 50% and is ready to scale further. “Even with a leaner team this year, we’ve been able to pick up additional responsibilities we wouldn’t have gotten to if we didn’t have Sage Intacct in place,” shared Reed. “As we’re preparing to grow our budget over 65% and embark on ambitious new projects and grant proposals, this increased bandwidth is critical.”


Reducing Costs 22% through Greater Accountability

Another key benefit of Sage Intacct is increased visibility across the organization, which cultivates a culture of accountability. Program directors now have easy access to personalized dashboards that help them closely monitor their budgets against actuals and track progress towards overall program goals. This detailed insight allows for more timely and informed decision-making — ultimately helping to reduce transportation costs by 22% and allowing Dawson Creek to put $200,000 (CAD) into reserves while still maintaining a healthy cash flow.

“Sage Intacct really empowered the entire organization and gave people more control and autonomy. Our directors are much more involved in the financial process than before, and this means they approach their spending in a different way,” Reed commented. An executive dashboard also helps her manage outstanding AP and AR and keep the board president informed about Dawson Creek’s financial health. “He and the rest of the board have nothing but great things to say about Sage Intacct, because the reports are easy to read. You don’t have to have a background in finance to understand what you’re looking at,” noted Reed.

This increased financial transparency also makes it easier for the team to pivot strategically as needed, particularly during the uncertainties of COVID-19. Because Sage Intacct’s dimensions track granular spend by project, Dawson Creek’s leadership has the information they need to decide on purchasing new supplies for participants or applying for COVID-related grants from various grantors. “Having Sage Intacct in place makes us confident and comfortable with applying for new funding, since it’s easy to flag and track each individual project’s progress,” Homme shared.