Nonprofit simplifies financial processes with configurable ERP solutions

In Brief

4-Minute Read

Huron’s Workday and research compliance expertise drives operational improvements

  • A nonprofit research organization and Huron took on optimizing core business process complexities to improve operational procedures, redesign workflows, and strengthen financial reporting capabilities.
  • The teams implemented multiple Workday applications to deliver unique solutions, analyze specific compliance requirements, and streamline the contract and grant lifecycle process.
  • Operational insights gained from the project helped modernize processes and improve accounting performance associated with contract and grant financial transactions.

Streamlined operations

To ensure success, it is essential for nonprofit organizations that rely on federal funding to prioritize the modernization of their contract and grant administration processes. This approach includes ensuring compliance with government regulations, accurately reporting spending, centralizing data insights, and strengthening operations to increase efficiency and improve results.

A private, nonprofit research organization that connects federal agencies with more than 60,000 researchers nationwide to conduct and administer research worked with Huron to streamline its federal contract and grant management activities.

The project enhanced financial transaction handling for contracts and grants with a modern and centralized cost burden calculation system built using configurable Workday enterprise resource planning (ERP) solutions.

A collaborative approach

Already invested in Workday Human Capital Management (HCM), the organization selected four compatible applications to optimize business processes and reduce administrative burden by improving the efficacy of accounting entries, leveraging data-driven insights, and producing more reliable reporting metrics.

Huron facilitated focused work sessions with various stakeholders across the organization to understand administrative needs and workflows, including complex cost burden calculations and detailed project budgeting.

Findings from these meetings and data reviews defined the approach, placing a premium on developing configurable solutions, analyzing nonprofit compliance requirements, and calculating thousands of contracts and financial fees to outline the desired changes.

As the project progressed, significant attention was dedicated to automating processes, establishing real-time grant tracking and reporting metrics systems, and providing tailored workflows to enhance operational efficiency.

In an innovative twist, Prism and Extend, two separate Workday applications, were combined to deliver configurable solutions that did not previously exist, such as performing calculations on ledger data and standing it up for auditing purposes."

Four service areas transformed by the project include:

  • Architecting a project cost transfer solution. This solution was developed by leveraging Workday Extend to combine custom integrations to determine the total costs associated with a researcher's time and expenses. The improved process outcomes led to multiple benefits, including savings through proper processing, eliminating outside spending, and enhancing productivity.
  • Streamlining complex cost burden processes. The cost burden associated with the nonprofit's contractual research projects was closely examined and sorted. The Workday solutions organized each expense transaction to configure complex burdening requirements, with greater accuracy and ease.
  • Improving travel management. Due to its national scope, the nonprofit organization supplies extensive travel management services to its members and research teams. Administrative workflows were redesigned and tailored to the requirements of each member. This improvement helped the organization reduce costly errors, expose unnecessary expenses, and reduce processing times.
  • Accurately projecting and budgeting with data insights. To restructure the organization's fiscal management, Huron integrated contract and grant fees, calculated expenses, and captured time tracking into a single platform. This improvement enabled the nonprofit's teams to gain complete financial visibility, analyze costs, and improve functionality for the end user.

Sustainable efficiency and operational effectiveness

The operational overhaul improved accuracy and delivered cleaner data with a reduction in human errors. These efforts strengthened the organization's accounting processes for project expense entry and transaction management, enabling it to function more efficiently and effectively in the long term. Other outcomes included:

  • Revised the accounting journal process, redesigned workflows, and improved approval routing speed
  • Streamlined cost burden processes, researcher travel management, financial transaction tracking, reporting capabilities, and budgeting insights
  • Improved audit preparation through real-time data, configurable dashboards, and documented approval trails
  • Based on Huron’s experience implementing similar projects for other organizations, these results are expected to free up two to three full-time employees to address higher-priority job functions.

In addition to leading the nonprofit’s technological transformation for Workday Financial Management, Adaptive Planning, Extend, and Prism integrations, Huron is also the HCM managed services provider for continued remediation and optimization. With significant progress made toward reducing the nonprofit’s administrative load, the two organizations are continuing to partner to improve service and compliance.

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