In 2012, Sander Bos was Concern Controller at the Salvation Army. One of his tasks was building towards efficient information provision, including implementing ProActive and AFAS software. He now holds the position of Manager BIV/AO and recounts his quest for a way of working that would lighten the administrative workload.
“In the past, our cash entries were made decentrally in Excel sheets. We then collated these in the financial administration and entered them manually. The cash entries were then forwarded for processing in Finpak, the financial package that we used at that time. This was a substantial administrative burden. It took a lot of time to collate the forms from approximately 300 ledgers and then audit them as well.”
Once the Salvation Army had decided to unburden itself of this administrative load, they set out on a quest for an alternative way of working. The first step was choosing a new financial package to replace Finpak. This package had to provide the option of limiting the rights of location managers and treasurers, but also had to have an entry screen in which the location managers and treasurers can make entries themselves.
“Knowledge of accountancy was required for all the packages we looked at. The entry forms contain terms that are difficult for a treasurer. We opted for AFAS, but wanted to supplement this with a package that could be used by our staff members who had little or no expertise in accountancy.
With a selection team, comprising some of our financial administrators from different locations as well as colleagues from ICT, we made reference visits to a number of care institutions. We were looking for a solution that met our requirements for ease of use and had an existing interface with AFAS. The care institutions stated that they use ProActive. ProActive also has a functionality for customer funds and that is a key feature for us. In the end, we presented the use of ProActive in combination with AFAS as a case in a management meeting.”
For the implementation of ProActive, the Salvation Army submitted input sheets that were then entered into ProActive. Within a month, ProActive was operational at the first location. But we opted for phased implementation at the remaining locations.
“We decided to go for a time investment involving training local treasurers to convert from Excel sheets to ProActive. It takes time for staff to break away from an established routine. And that also counts for AFAS, where they have options for importing or typing in bank statements, as they are used to doing.”
By now, the Salvation Army has more than 650 users and nearly 400 bank and cash ledgers in ProActive.
“Our welfare division relies primarily on customer funds and cash ledgers. But the church community also heavily relies on the Cash & Card functionality. For this reason, we have 100 cash ledgers for which the treasurers fully process all mutations in ProActive.”
So what benefit does the Salvation Army derive from ProActive? Sander has a clear answer. “Far greater efficiency, simplification of the cash traffic, and the simplification of customer funds. There is a lighter administrative load in the organization, so less administrative work.
At the Salvation Army, we have a distinction between primary and secondary processes. Our primary process is to help people. And that’s an area in which we aim to stand out from the crowd. Using ProActive and AFAS means that we now use best-practice basic services for our secondary process that enable us to focus on our main goal – to help people.”
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