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Meeting Street + Workiva

Meeting Street Increases Efficiency and Accuracy with Workiva for Management Reporting

Disconnected Challenges

  • Separate general ledger systems for Rhode Island and Massachusetts operations requiring upload of two trial balances
  • Manual processes to build monthly financials and create the budget
  • Back-and-forth reviews and edits via email

Connected Results

  • Reduced time spent on preparation of monthly financial reports from eight hours to one hour
  • Increased accuracy and visibility across financial reports and the budget
  • Improved collaboration within finance and across other departments

Why They Chose Workiva

Director of Finance, Nazik Fernandes, previously used the Workiva platform and recognized the numerous benefits the Meeting Street team would see using a single platform to improve accuracy and reduce manual work across monthly financials, the budget, and more.
Meeting Street colored logo

Workiva Solutions

  • Management Reporting

Nazik had a lot to bring to the table at Meeting Street, a nonprofit with a mission of empowering children and their families to thrive by fostering the development of the whole child. Between her extensive expertise and love of “getting in and not being afraid of breaking things” to improve processes, she rolled up her sleeves to transform Meeting Street’s reporting and collaboration.

“When I started at Meeting Street, there was a lot of opportunity for process improvement,” Nazik said. “Our systems were the same ones that had been used for years. My team worked diligently, but we were struggling to keep up. Something had to give.”

For starters, there were two general ledger systems for their Rhode Island and Massachusetts operations, meaning she had to import two trial balances to create the financials. Between manual processes and redundant work, Nazik knew the Meeting Street team would benefit immensely from using the Workiva platform. Based on her experience using Workiva at a media company that went through multiple mergers and acquisitions and for month-end and SEC reporting at a major financial institution, she made her case to Meeting Street leadership.

Meeting Street had invested in Nazik for her knowledge and expertise, so she was more than prepared to present the Workiva platform as the solution that would save time, improve efficiency, and increase transparency.

“I presented it in a way that made it clear to see the benefits of making the change. We could improve efficiency. We could increase collaboration with our managers,” Nazik said. “I also think it helped that I’d used the platform before.”

Because Meeting Street is a nonprofit, every dollar spent is scrutinized. But Nazik created a powerful business case about how the platform could transform the organization’s reporting processes. With her expertise and ownership of the processes in the platform, Nazik quickly enacted positive change to how the team reported and presented financial data.

The CEO noticed and was immediately impressed with what Nazik built on the Workiva platform—so impressed, in fact, that he questioned whether she’d built it on her own, without accessing the implementation budget. “I could see right away they were happy with what I accomplished,” Nazik said.

After implementing the Workiva platform, the team began to see improvements in their reporting process and the final package that management and the board received. 

The first major success was reducing the time the team spent preparing the report. Before Nazik joined Meeting Street and the Workiva platform was implemented, her predecessor would sometimes prepare the financial reports until midnight.
“It went from being in Excel and an eight-hour process to a one-hour process, including rolling over the document, making sure the columns were right, and updating headings. That in itself has saved us a day of work,” Nazik said.

Her team is not only saving time preparing the reports, but they are also delivering a more consistent, comprehensive package. “Our board of trustees, our finance committee, and our management team are very happy with what they receive,” Nazik said.

Another major win for Meeting Street is the new budget process implemented on the Workiva platform. Streamlining the budget process has created more time for Nazik and her team to collaborate with managers on their budget needs.

“Since the Workiva platform has reduced the time we spend on manual tasks, we can now collaborate with managers earlier in the process and ensure they have what they need to prepare their budget,” Nazik said.

For Meeting Street, one of the most important metrics they track is the productivity of their therapists, which is linked directly to payroll data.

“Our therapists are going into homes, and they're providing services and high-quality care. We have an expectation to be productive for a certain number of hours in a week, our productivity assumptions have been built into the budget in Workiva,” Nazik said. “Right now in the Workiva platform, each program we offer has an income statement that is populated by all the allocations that my team works on before managers ever go into the budget.”

In the past, the process to update required the team to re-run over 20 tabs of pivot tables. Now, because of the process Nazik and her team created and linking data directly on the Workiva platform, the updates happen automatically, saving significant time.

An improved budget process allows Meeting Street managers to complete their entire budget process within two weeks, even during the pandemic. And now, they’re opening up the budget period earlier in the year to April and May to avoid interfering with employees’ vacation time during the summer months.

“In the past, it was done in the summer and it really impacted everyone's vacation time,” Nazik said. “But now it’s a much smoother process.”

With this improved process in the Workiva platform, the budget can now be completed before summer, and presented on time.

Nazik knew there was one simple way to increase collaboration at Meeting Street: Give every manager access to the Workiva platform.
Prior to using the Workiva platform, it was completely up to the finance team to manually update managers’ numbers. Now, management is empowered to update and own their numbers in the platform. In addition, the CEO also has access to make edits directly, as well as clearly see who made what changes and when with the authorship feature.

“Our CEO loves this feature. He can see exactly when other team members have made edits,” Nazik said.

For her colleagues, Nazik mentioned the importance of owning their processes within the Workiva platform. Being able to build, update, and improve the finance process herself was a major selling point when she initially pitched Workiva’s solution to leadership.
“I’m not afraid of breaking things because I know I can’t—I’ll just copy last month’s over,” Nazik said.

Nazik is also focused on empowering other members on her team. During the budget creation process, she knew her colleague had the skill set to build a robust budget tool. Nazik guided her during the creation process, and now the team has a powerful budget tool that is simple for managers to use.
“I’m so glad I brought her into it, because what we built together was not anything I would have built on my own,” Nazik said. “So I empowered her to make changes and helped coach her through the process.” 

Along with giving access to multiple colleagues, Nazik plans to expand use of the Workiva platform for various reports.

“There are a few other reports I’ve been wanting to put into Workiva as well. For example, tracking spend down on grants. This process is currently done manually in Excel,” Nazik said.

As the team continues to find ways to improve reporting processes, management and the board are able to maximize the use of the financial data to make more informed decisions and support their mission of empowering children and their families to thrive.

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