Movember Foundation breaks free from spreadsheet shackles with Board
Movember Foundation is an innovative global charity focused on improving the health of men. The organisation runs its signature Movember fund raising event each November as well as a range of awareness campaigns throughout the year. During Movember, men and women around the world raise funds by growing or supporting a moustache, getting physically active, or hosting an event.
Since its foundation in a Melbourne pub in 2003, Movember has expanded widely and is now active in 21 countries. The organisation has raised more than $770 million and helped to fund some 1200 different health-related projects.
As Movember has grown during the past 14 years, the task of keeping track of finances has become ever more complex. Donations and other sources of revenue from multiple locations and countries need to be pulled together for processing and reporting.
"We were doing everything in Excel spreadsheets," says Movember Commercial Manager Simone Corner. "While this had worked when we were small, as the organisation grew it had become ever more unwieldy.
"The last time I created a budget, it involved pulling together more than 500 different worksheets for consolidation. I love Excel, but we were about to break it!"
About 18 months ago, a decision was made to find an alternative system for handling the tasks of financial budgeting, reporting and forecasting. A requirement specification was developed and a range of alternatives evaluated against it.
Corner says key requirements included flexibility, adaptability and the capability to deal with a dispersed organisation working with multiple different currencies.
After benchmarking a shortlist of tools, a decision was made in June last year to adopt the Board performance management software platform.
"We could clearly see that Board had the capabilities we were seeking," says Corner. "We were particularly attracted by the way in which it essentially provided a blank canvas that could be adjusted to meet our specific requirements."
Working with Board, the Movember team configured the cloud-based platform so it could provide version control and workflow capabilities. Budgeting and forecasting components were also added, together with a foreign exchange conversion tool.
The new platform was also linked to the organisation's existing NetSuite system used for General Ledger activity. Deployment began in July and the system went live in October.
Once fully operational, the Board platform quickly started delivering significant benefits. The collation of financial details from each country was greatly streamlined and the creation of reports made far less onerous.
"We work in a wide range of countries and deal with multiple currencies and exchange rates, but everything is combined and converted into Australian dollars for reporting," says Corner.
Corner says finance managers in each global location can input their details directly into the Board platform and make them available "at the push of a button". The FX tool handles all currency conversions, further streamlining the process.
Having a single platform also removes challenges associated with having to manage multiple versions of spreadsheets. The version control features of Board ensures clarity around exactly what data is used to create reports with new reports readily generated as fresh data is received.
"We can now also easily combine different legal entities using Board which saves a lot of manual processing. Overall, the difference it has made to our day-to-day operations has been very significant."
Corner says the time required to complete the annual budgeting process has been reduced significantly. Board also allows data from Movember's console system, which tracks donor activity, to be combined with data from the NetSuite-based GL.
When it comes to reporting, Corner says Board provides "one source of truth" that ensures reports provided to senior managers are based on the most up-to-date data available. It has also removed the chance of errors occurring due to mistakes made through incorrect spreadsheet formats or linkages.
"Board gives us what is essentially a real-time view into our operations around the world," she says. "This is something that was simply impossible to achieve when we relied on spreadsheets and manual processing."
Since the roll out, feedback from financial mangers has been very positive with all agreeing the Board user interface makes data entry and processing very straightforward. Corner says work is now under way to widen access to the platform to senior management and Movember board members. There are also plans to integrate Board with the organisation's human resources application to realise even more benefits around budgeting and forecasting.
"Throughout the deployment, the support we have received from Board has been fantastic," says Corner. "I am confident we now have in place a platform that can support our growth well into the future."