Outdated, Manual Processes and a Lot of Paper
Jan Løjmand joined Fonden Mariehjemmene in April 2021 as the chief financial officer. He recalls walking into the role with trepidation. He said, “When I first started, I found outdated, manual processes that used a lot of paper. Each home had its own accounting structure and their own way of doing things in the same ERP system. It was a nightmare.”
He continued, “They did their reporting in [Microsoft] Excel based on a printout from the ERP system. The reports had little information, so we couldn’t tell whether the homes were profitable from month to month. Five of the homes had accumulated a high loss, but we didn’t know why because that information wasn’t available.”
This situation, along with the following challenges, made it difficult to understand the foundation’s financial situation:
- Backward-looking month-end reports
- Limited visibility into operations across all homes
- Inconsistent data fields and report information
- Manual data entry resulting in data inaccuracies
- Reliance on the IT team for information or ad hoc reports
- Outdated applications that connected to the enterprise resource planning (ERP) software
- Noncompliance with government requirements
The organization was struggling. Its accountants didn’t have enough time to do their work because they were manually entering data into Excel.
Time for Much Needed Change
Løjmand was determined to modernize Fonden Mariehjemmene’s business operations by establishing the same accounting setup across all the homes. He said, “We needed a tool that could consistently show the same information for each home to ensure the processes were identical.”
A Solution Partner
To start, Løjmand contacted technology partner Jakob Wrang from Vektus, an experienced Business Central provider and consultant. He told Wrang about his accounting and operational reporting challenges and what he wanted in a solution. His primary goal was to help the care homes gain a better view of their financial data and insights into their operations for more informed decision-making.
To achieve that, he needed a solution that could:
- Automate the reporting process.
- Establish consistent data structures and formats across the organization.
- Provide self-service capabilities for nontechnical users to get the information they needed.
- Support drill down into the details behind the numbers.
- Reduce the time to deliver reports without repeating the process for each of the 20 care homes.
Løjmand stated, “I can’t run our business without our ERP system, planning system, and seller system. Each needs to be the best performing system. That was my goal and the challenge I gave to Jakob: ‘I need the best system. Tell me how to get it.’”
That’s when Wrang told Løjmand about Jet Reports. Løjmand said, “Jakob explained how Jet Reports can show data from different companies, structure it the same way, and distribute it to the business users who need the information. For Mariehjemmene, that level of efficiency and service was really important.”
Through an iterative process, the Vektus team helped implement Jet Reports for Fonden Mariehjemmene. “That’s how Vektus gets the best results. It’s utopia to think you could buy a plug-and-play BI tool, but then you just have a product. You have to know your prerequisites and work to get the correct results in the end,” said Løjmand.
And work they did. When mapping the accounts across all 20 care homes, they discovered many obstacles, pointing out just how different the processes were in each home. “Through each iteration, we were able to discuss the situation, make the fix, and learn from it. We needed this experience because it enabled us to see things in a new way.”
Nonetheless, the process was worth it. Løjmand noted, “The Vektus team went quickly from clarifying the information to running the first report. I realized then we were on the right path. It was a big step forward from when we started.”
A Whole New Accounting Approach
Since implementing Jet Reports, the accounting teams at Fonden Mariehjemmene have seen tremendous change in automating their accounting practices.
In Excel, the data can change, but with Jet Reports, you have a single source of truth every time you run a report.
— Jan Løjmand, Chief Financial Officer, Fonden Mariehjemmene
“With Jet Reports, we have a better data structure now than before and are seeing progress toward accuracy. That accuracy means building greater trust in our data and in our reporting,” said Løjmand.
The accuracy stems from mapping the business’s general ledger (G/L) accounts from its ERP to Jet Reports. This process enabled the streamlining of data for more consistency in the reports. Løjmand said, “Now we can visibly see when numbers change. We can immediately check the data behind it, make the correction, and see the update with the right numbers.”
Reporting Efficiency and Insights
Besides visibility of profit-and-loss data, teams can also view balance and cash flow reports. Plus, changes to the salary system mean Løjmand’s team can collect more information from the ERP and put it into Jet Reports.
Løjmand explained, “We no longer have to look at 20 different reports about a home. I can run one report in Jet Reports and get one view that tells me about the state and setup of each care home at one time. I can also share the report with the board of directors for Mariehjemmene and with each of the boards that oversee our individual care homes so they can see what’s happening across the organization.”
“Now our teams only need to run Jet Reports to create a report, send it out by email, and they’re done. We’ve reduced the monthly reporting process across our care homes from 1.5 days to 10 minutes,” said Løjmand. “Also, by removing the manual burden of entering the data in Excel and fixing errors, our accountants have more time to think strategically about the future of the organization and how to run things better.”
Accuracy is important for nonprofits. For us, that means getting insights in the operations of our care homes, which Jet Report provides.
— Jan Løjmand, Chief Financial Officer, Fonden Mariehjemmene
Self-service for Business Users
The directors oversee management of each care home. By having one consistent report for all 20 care homes, they can see how their home is performing compared to the others. With the self-service capabilities, they can drill down into the information behind the data to quickly get the answers they need and better insights without help from IT.
Løjmand says self-service is important because “it allows them to verify immediately whether the numbers are correct as reported.” He added, “I wanted a reporting tool where our directors and board members could review the same items in a report and use self-service if they wanted to do further analysis. Now they can with Jet Reports.”
By having greater insights into their operations, the Fonden Mariehjemmene team looks forward to doing more forecasting, price comparisons, and cost saving analysis.
“In 2022, we’ll have Jet Reports do more with taxation based on the required level of a person’s care. We also want to define a specific board report that takes a more high-level look at whether each home is on track. We’ve also never had a way to do forecasting before, so we plan to run forecasts this year for the first time,” explained Løjmand.
He added, “When our accounting team was manually entering numbers into Excel, they didn’t have time to think about why or how to save money the next month. I need them to do this type of analysis every day, which they can only do by having more time. And Jet Reports is an important part of that.”
About Fonden Mariehjemmene
Fonden Mariehjemmene is a nonprofit organization in Copenhagen, Denmark. For over 60 years, it has provided care homes for the elderly and served individuals with physical or mental disabilities and vulnerable women. Today, it provides accounting, salary, HR, legal, and consulting services for 8 nursing homes and 12 care homes—and growing.