World Hope International

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.


Scenario

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 system.”

World Hope International began implementing Serenic Navigator and Serenic DonorVision in 2006, and went live in January 2007.

Benefits

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.

Customization

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,” Mitchell said.

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 own needs.

“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 us grow.”

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 ways.

“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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