Case study: Shorecrest Preparatory School, Florida
Founded in 1923, Shorecrest Preparatory School (“Shorecrest”) is an independent, non-sectarian, coed school located in St. Petersburg, Florida. The school educates a diverse community of students from preschool to grade 12. The school’s mission is to help students become lifelong learners and to set them on a path to personal and professional excellence. The guiding principles of responsibility, respect, integrity, knowledge and compassion are core values that all members of the Shorecrest community strive to embrace and model.
Blackbaud’s Financial Edge
Shorecrest Preparatory School needed a budgeting system that could help them understand spending and how the budget was developed.
- Improved budgeting process to stop using manual-entry spreadsheets
- Multi-user system for accessing budget data and staff collaboration
- Ability to record notes and details for communicating budget development
- Opportunity to review the budget monthly for a better understanding of spending
Shorecrest’s previous budgeting process involved using Excel spreadsheets that were combined, consolidated and manually manipulated for distribution to a network of 20 department staff members. This process to complete the budget was time-consuming and made it difficult for school staff to collaborate and communicate with each other as the budget was developed. As a result, school staff could not agree on how much they were spending each month or correctly recall budget details later in the year.
PowerPlan is a comprehensive budget management solution specifically designed for the non-profit sector. Integrating seamlessly with Shorecrest’s Financial Edge system, the school can build their budgets and tuition models within a centralized system that houses all of the budget data in one place. They have been able to save time with automated processes and can provide school staff with an environment for budgeting collaboratively. Due to the powerful functionality of PowerPlan, Shorecrest Preparatory School now has a better understanding of how their budget is built in order to optimize their resources for educating students.
Improved budgeting process to stop using manual-entry spreadsheets
PowerPlan is an easy to implement solution that enables Shorecrest to move away from distributing a collection of spreadsheets to a faster and consolidated method of budget preparation. With direct integration into Financial Edge for the seamless facilitation of data, PowerPlan is a solution with powerful features and functions for developing the budget, as well as creating tuition models and what-if scenarios. The school no longer has to spend time on manual data entry or organizing a confusing collection of spreadsheets.
Multi-user system for accessing budget data and staff collaboration
PowerPlan provides school staff with access to the budget data at any time within a centralized system. With time-saving automated processes and Excel-based functionality, entering budget information is a simple task even for non-financial staff. A workflow for submitting budget information allows Shorecrest to see how the budget is developing at all stages, as well as track submissions and important deadlines. PowerPlan’s flexible system also allows for adjustments and changes to the budget as required, such as changes for tuition percentages.
Ability to record notes and details for communicating budget development
The ability to add notes and budget details in PowerPlan provides Shorecrest a greater understanding of how their budget was put together. School staff can record notes for future reference and share the details of modifications as the budget is developed. The school can look at the details that were entered and compare it vendor by vendor to the actual spending. They can look at the expense details for their actuals, but also add more details to the budget when necessary. Having this record of information gives validity to department budgets and a sense of ownership as school staff participate in the budgeting process.
Opportunity to review the budget monthly for a better understanding of spending
An issue for Shorecrest with their previous budgeting process was the budget was often out of line with the actual and there was no clear understanding of spending. However, within a short time of implementing PowerPlan, the school was able to see what was budgeted for and what departments were spending each month. The ability to communicate and share this type of information from the budget led to improved trust with school staff. By reviewing their financials on a monthly basis, Shorecrest can ensure they meet or beat their annual budget, an accomplishment which has impressed their school board.
“I have used other budgeting software and honestly PowerPlan was much easier to use. It has so many more features and functions, and is better than using Excel. I was on Excel during my first year at the school and then I moved us over to PowerPlan.”
– Karen Moore, CPA, Chief Financial & Operations Officer
PowerPlan transformed Shorecrest Preparatory School’s budget with a collaborative system that gives school staff a better understanding of spending and how the budget is developed.