Achieving the Dream Helps Students Build Successful Futures and Create Stronger Communities
- Reduced accounts payable workload by 50%
- Allowed up-skilling of one full-time employee
- Automated the management of 700 invoices per month
- Streamlined grant reporting process
Achieving the Dream is a partner and champion of community colleges nationwide. Drawing on their expert coaches, groundbreaking programs, and national peer network, they provide institutions with integrated, tailored support for every aspect of their work. Their vision is for every college to be a catalyst for equitable, antiracist, and economically vibrant communities so that all students can access life-changing learning that propels them into community-changing careers.
Challenging the Status Quo
Burdened with manual finance processes, Achieving the Dream found that writing checks twice a month hindered their financial close and reporting. Plus, they wanted to implement a self-service portal for independent contractors and suppliers to eliminate massive amounts of email correspondence and improve end-of-year reconciliation. In addition, suppliers were unhappy with payment delays, and there was an increased risk of compliance and risk management issues
We were 100% check-based. It must have been, on average, 300-350 [checks per month], and we wrote checks twice a month. You can imagine people were very frustrated. Depending on when you hit the timeline, you could be waiting a month for payment—so it was a huge burden.Janice Stucke | Chief Financial Officer, Achieving the Dream
Transformation Over Tradition
A nonprofit organization with an emphasis on innovation, Achieving the Dream wanted to apply that same philosophy to their finance operations. With a clear vision of complete digital transformation, Achieving the Dream wanted to strategically function as an effective and efficient steward of donor resources by improving the speed and accuracy of financial reporting through consistent process improvements.
- Eliminate Manual Invoice Processing
- Improve Supplier Onboarding
- Accelerate Tax Form Collection
- Optimize NetSuite ERP Investment
RSM: Informing the Next Step
Operationally, Achieving the Dream was utilizing NetSuite as their ERP solution. To increase the software’s functionality, they partnered with RSM—the leading US provider of audit, tax, and consulting services focused on mid-market companies. With RSM’s deep domain knowledge, first-class advisor relationships, and industry-leading technology support, they optimized NetSuite to provide Achieving the Dream with improved reporting, revenue recognition, budgeting segmentation revisions, and GL-level grant posting. After improving the use of NetSuite, RSM and Achieving the Dream collaborated on options and opportunities to automate their global payments process, which led them to look more closely at Tipalti.
RSM is a trusted advisor, and we can rely on their work for timely and accurate delivery. With Tipalti, we have been able to create a hard close date of 15 calendar days, which has allowed management to get necessary, timely reporting for key financial decisions.Janice Stucke | Chief Financial Officer, Achieving the Dream
Tools for a Big Impact
In partnership with RSM, implementing Tipalti further strengthened Achieving the Dream’s finance operations. Initially unsure if they could support 100% electronic payments, Achieving the Dream successfully moved all their suppliers to Tipalti in just three months during a busy audit season with only two finance members. As a result, they experienced faster payments and cut their workload in half.
- Automated Invoice Processing with OCR Technology
- Implemented a Self-Service Supplier Portal
- Achieved Compliance with KPMG-Approved Tax Engine
- Fully Integrated with ERP, NetSuite
Opportunities for Improvement
With the right technology successfully implemented, Achieving the Dream was able to turn their attention to another critical area of their business. As a prime target for fraud and accounts payable phishing scams, they decided to implement Tipalti Card to gain a solid grasp on recurring credit card transactions. Since then, there hasn’t been a single fraud attempt.
We had an attack on our corporate cards. With [Tipalti Card], we can just cut off [a specific] card, and it doesn’t shut down the operations of the company. It’s been a huge risk management tool for us.Janice Stucke | Chief Financial Officer, Achieving the Dream
A Proven History in Student Success
With 15 years of experience, Achieving the Dream is the most comprehensive non-governmental reform network for community college student success in higher education history. With a focus on creating opportunities and removing barriers, they are giving students equal access to learning and credentials to build fulfilling, long-lasting careers.