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Many hands make light work, especially in nonprofits accustomed to stretching their resources. Yerba Buena Center for the Arts sought out a solution that enables greater data visibility and increases manager engagement in the financial reporting workflow. After implementing Adaptive Planning software, Yerba Buena financial managers tightened the turnaround for annual budgets, improved the accuracy of their financial forecasts, and gained data-driven insight to guide the arts center for years to come.

Challenges

  • Excel spreadsheet process was cumbersome
  • Time-intensive process to consolidate data
  • Errors in formulas were common

Results

  • Reduced the budget process time significantly
  • Automated variance analysis
  • Improved manager-level engagement in planning process
About:
Yerba Buena Center for the Arts (YBCA), located in San Francisco’s Yerba Buena cultural district, is one of the nation’s leading multidisciplinary contemporary arts centers. With a belief that contemporary art is at the heart of community life, YBCA brings audiences and artists of all backgrounds together to express and experience creativity. The organization is known for nurturing emerging artists at the forefront of their fields and presenting works that blend art forms and explore the events and ideas of our time.
Location:
San Francisco, CA
Industry:
Nonprofit

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Introduction

Yerba Buena Center for the Arts (YBCA), located in San Francisco’s Yerba Buena cultural district, is one of the nation’s leading multidisciplinary contemporary arts centers. With a belief that contemporary art is at the heart of community life, YBCA brings audiences and artists of all backgrounds together to express and experience creativity. The organization is known for nurturing emerging artists at the forefront of their fields and presenting works that blend art forms and explore the events and ideas of our time.

The Challenge

With annual revenue of $13 million and 55 full time employees, the finance team at Yerba Buena Center for the Arts managed the annual financial plan on a large Excel spreadsheet. Consolidating the separate sheets into one unified plan was very time consuming, requiring a lot of manual effort on behalf of the finance team.

"With the Excel process, if we found an error in a particular sheet, it was like looking for a needle in a haystack to find the source of the error," said Claire SunSpiral, Finance Director, Yerba Buena Center for the Arts.

The Solution

As they reviewed the business processes for the organization, they decided to upgrade their accounting system to Blackbaud’s FinancialEdge application. While working with a consultant they were introduced to Adaptive Planning, part of the Adaptive Suite. The key capabilities that stood out with the application included the ability for managers to access the web-based application from anywhere, the option to import actual data from the Blackbaud system or other data sources, and the ability to roll-up plans to the project level as well as the entire operation. In addition, the reporting offered immediate insight to managing directors.

"We implemented Adaptive Planning in six weeks and rolled the solution out to 14 users," confirms SunSpiral. "The professional services support we received from Adaptive Insights was very helpful in building out our model to meet our unique needs as a multi-disciplinary contemporary arts center."

The Results

Now the finance team has a model that incorporates project level budgeting, detailed projections for special fundraising events, and a personnel budgeting model tailored to their operations. The program staff are more engaged in the planning process and have better visibility into the budget across the different areas. In addition, they have immediate insight into variance across versions.

"Implementing Adaptive has greatly reduced the time I spend developing our annual budget," says SunSpiral. "Our managers are very happy with the tool because it is very easy to use and easily showcases data, so we can optimize programs and make adjustments. I am telling everyone about the success I have had with Adaptive. Another benefit we love is that I can look at the most detailed budgeting level and then quickly switch to a global view of the organization. We can easily slice data in different ways, such as reviewing department level budgets by project vs. overall organization spending."

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