World Hope International Counts on Serenic Navigator for Integrated Financial Management
“It was fantastic that Serenic Navigator was based on Microsoft NAV. The fact that we were already using Navision
mitigated the expenses of training and migrating data. The terminology, forms and screenshots were already
familiar to us. In terms of the cost of the transition to meet our growth needs, Serenic seemed like the best of both
worlds, because it was a fund accounting system.”
- Kirk Mitchell, Director of Finance
World Hope International is a Christian relief and development
organization working with vulnerable and exploited communities to
alleviate poverty, suffering and injustice. The nonprofit, based in
Alexandria, Va., goes to remote areas and partners with people in an
effort to bring healing, restoration and positive, sustainable change.
Its programs offer opportunity, dignity and hope in places where those
things are usually in short supply.
World Hope International has 350 employees worldwide – most of whom
are foreign nationals in its nine field offices. Its $15 million annual budget
funds programs including Hope Corps, which sends volunteer teams on
short- and long-term projects. In 2010 alone, it sent 450 volunteers from
its own organization and various churches from the United States.
With the help of its accounting firm in 2004, World Hope International selected
Microsoft Dynamics NAV (then called Navision) to help it track international
programs by project, country and other elements, such as microfinance,
anti-trafficking and rural development – including water and sanitation projects.
When he joined the organization, Director of Finance Kirk Mitchell was pleased
they had chosen NAV, because he had helped implement the system at his
previous accounting firm.
“I was already really familiar with the product and liked it,” said Mitchell. “Because
we do a lot of child sponsorship and need specific data, we had to customize our
donor system from contact management and track sponsorship data accurately.
Data comes from the field, so it is a labor intensive task, and we needed to track
information better. NAV helped with that, because it was so customizable.”
When the organization started accepting federal grants in 2005, it needed more
than its homegrown systems for better grant tracking. A web search led Mitchell
to Serenic Navigator,
a financial management system built upon Microsoft
Dynamics NAV. He was pleased to find that a number of customizations World
Hope needed were already built into the software. And, when he talked with other
ministries who were using Navigator about their own experiences, he was sold.
“It was fantastic that Serenic Navigator was based on Microsoft NAV,” said
Mitchell, “The fact that we were already using Navision mitigated the expenses of
training and migrating data. The terminology, forms and screenshots were already
familiar to us. In terms of the cost of the transition to meet our growth needs,
Serenic seemed like the best of both worlds, because it was a fund accounting
World Hope International began implementing Serenic Navigator and
in 2006, and went live in January 2007.
The seven-person finance department at World Hope International has seen
improved management of awards across multiple currencies and better
information sharing using Jet Reports, along with the following benefits over
several years of using Serenic Navigator.
World Hope International appreciates being able to slice and dice data. Balances
by individual G/L dimensions lets users apply filters to access information and drill
down to additional transaction details and source documents.
“Having that in front of you without running reports is a huge time saver
versus running specialized reports for different requirements and projects,”
The biggest benefit the organization has seen is easy customizations in the
General Ledger that have helped its accounting team do things more efficiently.
They added fields to track information in new and different ways to meet their
“The greatest thing we ever learned was GLView – a way to see a combination of
fund, country, department, activity and volunteers in the string we need,” Mitchell
said. “All may be in one project code, but you can break down to specific projects.
It was great foresight by Serenic to build in for organizations that need to have
at-a-glance views like we do.”
World Hope International uses some of the fields, such as on account cards, with
Jet Reports to tag accounts differently from General Ledger for audits and other
purposes. Simple customization on account cards let the organization label with
text what the account is for and how to use it. An annotated chart of accounts
helps users be consistent with coding.
Improved Business Processes
World Hope International had quite a few things it knew it could track differently
to improve its financial management so, after implementing Serenic Navigator,
it re-examined its chart of accounts and business processes. It added an activity
dimension to better track fundraising costs, and used the software’s fund
accounting capabilities to help better track federal grants.
“We were attracted to Serenic Navigator
because it already had a grant
management piece,” said Mitchell. “We wanted to use the software for many years
to come, so we made changes during implementation that we knew would help
The organization upgraded to the Navigator SQL version, which has helped it take
advantage of business intelligence tools like QlikView to see Serenic data in new
“Because we invested in using Navigator to its fullest, we can leverage systems
like this because we know the data from all angles,” Mitchell said. “It’s easy to
know what to get where.”
Built Specifically for NGOs’ Needs
World Hope International works in 20 countries – sometimes with partner NGOs
or local churches – granting funds to carry-out programs, especially for education
and child sponsorship. It works with multi-currency wires and appreciates Serenic
Navigator’s capabilities to assist with those challenges.
Under its organizational umbrella, World Hope International has a for profit
subsidiary called First Step and a microcap LLC. It uses Serenic Navigator to track
financial information as separate companies.
Mitchell noted he has seen a lot of innovation as the Navigator product has matured.
For example, dimension attributes, especially the “country” dimension, allows
easy tracking of spending by region, by year or by month to accommodate
forms and reporting requirements.
“One thing I’ve appreciated over all is Randy Keith’s (Serenic’s president and CEO)
leadership in helping us with different issues,” said Mitchell. “He has a great vision
for where the company is heading, partnering with what’s already out there and
making Navigator the best it can be.”
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