Boston Children’s Museum, MA

“Every year when I'm doing the budget in PowerPlan, at some point I go how did I ever do this in Excel? I would say it's been a very positive experience with the software. It's my favorite software. I converted to this software in about two weeks and it has changed my life. I wouldn't go back.”

Jeri Appier, Controller, Boston Children’s Museum

Case Study: Boston Children’s Museum

For over 100 years, the Boston Children’s Museum has been offering exhibits and programs that emphasize hands-on engagement and learning through experience to spark the creativity, curiosity, and imagination of children and families. Annually, the Museum receives almost 580,000 visitors. As one of the largest and oldest children’s museums in the world, Boston Children’s Museum also provides museum consultation services and collaborates with academic institutions in childhood development research. The Museum has received many recognitions, including the National Medal for Museum and Library Service from the Institute of Museum and Library Services in 2015.

Financial System

Financial Edge

Annual Operating Budget

$13.5 million



Organizational Benefits

  • Simplified budgeting process to move beyond error-prone and complex spreadsheets
  • Easy to manage the budget and make calculations for grant funding
  • Dynamic functionality for budgeting by individual and to apply specific adjustments
  • Collaborate with non-financial staff but maintain full oversight of the budget process

Business Challenge

Boston Children’s Museum had a time-consuming budgeting process that required creating multiple spreadsheets and folders for non-financial staff, plus obtain the assistance of the IT department to lock access to those folders. This process would take hundreds of hours to coordinate, as well as the time necessary to manually link spreadsheets and do rollups after the submissions were completed. Often links would require fixing when data was moved and tests would need to be conducted to ensure there were no mistakes in the budget before formatting the data to be imported into their financial system. It was a painfully complicated budgeting process that the Museum could no longer reasonably maintain.

Business Solution

PowerPlan alleviated the pain of using  Excel spreadsheets with a budgeting solution that easily integrated with the Museum’s Financial Edge accounting system. Using PowerPlan simplifies their budgeting process by giving the museum powerful functionality and advanced features for preparing their budgets for grants and funding all in one place. Boston Children’s Museum has saved hundreds of hours, since they no longer need to manually enter data, collate multiple spreadsheets, or re-check that the budget numbers are still correct.

Organizational Benefits

Simplified budgeting process to move beyond error-prone and complicated spreadsheets

PowerPlan transformed the Museum’s complicated budgeting process into a simplified, faster and consolidated method. With direct integration into Financial Edge for the seamless facilitation of data, PowerPlan makes budget preparation easy with Excel-based functionality, but without the risk of  errors typically found in spreadsheets. Boston Children’s Museum no longer spends time fixing broken links or manually entering data, but can view all of the budget details in one place for a better understanding of how their grants and funding is being allocated.


Easy to manage the budget and make calculations for grant

Boston Children’s Museum is taking advantage of PowerPlan’s dynamic functionality for budgeting grants and funding accurately. This includes automated processes that ensure revenue restrictions are released accurately to the proper accounts, making calculations and adjustments for grant funding within the system and automatic rollups at all selected levels. They can also record and share the details of modifications as the budget is developed for reference when creating future budgets. PowerPlan’s functionality saves time and provides the Museum confidence that the budget is correct.


Dynamic functionality for budgeting by individual and to apply specific adjustments

As the largest budget expense, salaries are important because they require roles, compensation and benefits to be allocated to multiple cost centers due to the grants and other funding the museum receives. For this reason, the ability to budget by individual position is a valuable feature in PowerPlan for the museum. Assigning different benefit or budget rates to specific individuals was difficult using spreadsheets, but with PowerPlan the museum can apply any unique adjustments or make calculations to budget correctly for each employee.


Collaborate with non-financial staff but maintain full oversight of the budget process

Instead of spending hundreds of hours preparing a system to allow non-financial staff to participate in the budget process, PowerPlan allows Boston Children’s Museum to provide role-based access to the budget to non-financial users with a system for submitting and approving changes, without the need to involve the IT department. Controls ensure parts or levels of the budget can be restricted or locked down to ensure budget data is secure. At any time, submissions, changes and approvals can be tracked through an audit trail that includes the history of modifications and detailed notes.


“Using PowerPlan is just like typing in Excel and everybody is used to Excel,
so it’s wonderful that non-financial people can use it.”

– Jeri Appier, Controller, Boston Children’s Museum


PowerPlan transformed the Boston Children’s Museum’s budgeting process by giving the museum a powerful, yet easy to navigate system for preparing their budgets accurately.