Seattle Indian Health Board Boosts Finance Productivity 50% as Revenue Soars 80%
Strong executive leadership, a talented staff, and best-in-class cloud financial management have combined for transformational improvements at the Seattle Indian Health Board (SIHB), a nonprofit that aids more than 4,000 American Indians and Alaskan Natives each year.
In 2016, SIHB’s then-new CEO, Esther Lucero, hired Ben Luety, a seasoned finance professional with experience in both banking and nonprofits, as CFO. Among the goals: Double revenue within five years and modernize the accounting and finance environment.
The results: SIHB revenue has soared 80% in just three years, and SIHB is scaling with that growth atop the Sage Intacct cloud financial management platform, implemented in 2016.
"Sage Intacct has really driven our ability to scale with 80% growth,” as Luety says in our new SIHB customer success story. "There's no way we could have done that without Sage Intacct — it would have been insurmountable to track, manage, and report on all that data.”
Under Lucero’s leadership, SIHB has increased the number of federal, state, county, and city grants it receives from 35 to 100+, bringing annual revenue to $25 million in 2019. That’s helping SIHB expand its programs for American Indian and Alaska Native people—medical, dental, Traditional Indian Medicine, substance abuse, pharmacy, mental health, and nutrition services, along with initiatives to support seniors and youths and combat homelessness.
Reducing the Close by Five Weeks
Replacing a legacy on-premise accounting application, Sage Intacct provides SIHB with a flexible and sophisticated platform that delivers the efficiencies and insights the nonprofit needed. For example:
- Finance team productivity has risen 50% with Sage Intacct while overall finance efficiency is up 25%
- The monthly close has been cut from two months to three weeks, with Luety on track to reduce it further
- Time to prepare about a dozen quarterly reports to federal agencies is down from three days to 40 minutes
- Linking credit card receipts to grants has been reduced from two weeks to two days with Sage Intacct and Expensify integration
- Data accuracy has improved by 100%
On top of that, Luety spends far less time answering finance questions from Lucero and other leaders. In the past, it could take two days to dig out an answer.
"Now that would take me two minutes with Sage Intacct,” he said. “Our CEO doesn't ask me anything now about finances because she has her own dashboard. She has all the information at her fingertips.”
Data-Driven Decisions for Social Impact
SIHB has made extensive use of dashboards and dimensional reporting to provide timely, accurate data to 45 executives, board members, division leaders, department managers, and finance team members.
Those dashboards are instrumental for leadership to closely monitor spending vs. grant-specific budgets, and to make data-driven decisions that heighten SIHB’s social impact. For example, SIHB has increased placements into permanent housing for American Indian/Alaska Native peoples in Seattle by 10% in part through better reporting and measurement of city funding aimed at reducing homelessness.
“Sage Intacct does an outstanding job in getting data in the hands of decision-makers,” Luety said. “Our use of Sage Intacct helps us improve the welfare of the community we serve because we can make better decisions about deploying resources based on our access to data and the story it tells.”
Sage Intacct has also improved morale and job satisfaction for accounting team members, who have moved from manual, repetitive work to a modern platform with superior data access, automation, and reporting.
“One thing I really love about Sage Intacct is that it helps me keep my team happy,” Luety said. "If an accountant has a sick child and needs to work from home, they can do that and not burn a PTO day via a simple internet connection. That wasn’t possible in our previous environment."
Learn more about how SIHB has revamped its accounting practices in our SIHB customer success story.
is a seasoned high-tech customer marketing veteran with more than 10 years of experience. As the senior manager of customer marketing at Sage Intacct, he is responsible for leading the customer reference and advocacy program to generate awareness by creating customer success evidence, building the sales pipeline, and growing revenue for the company.