About The Arnold and Mabel Beckman Foundation
Established in 1977, the Arnold and Mabel Beckman Foundation was founded by Dr. Arnold O. and Mrs. Mabel Beckman. Their main goal is to help kick-start the careers of young science students and provide initial funding for high-risk cutting-edge research projects in chemistry and the life sciences – projects that could change the world. The foundation is currently run by seven very dedicated, driven employees who work with approximately 350 grantees per year.
The foundation initially approached FinancialForce directly but was referred to Big Bang, because of the ability to find customized solutions for customers regardless of their size, industry or location – notably working with complex financial models.
The Experience of Working with Big Bang
From the get-go, the team at Beckman Foundation had done thorough research and were clear on their expectations for the implementation. The Executive Director, Anne Hultgren wanted to bring her technical skills to the project and wanted to be able to make changes as their processes evolved and customize the software’s filters independently.
“What I really, really appreciated from the team is that they would show me how to do it. It’s very complicated, but I got enough to start playing around with it, and now we’ve got our custom reports that we understand”
– Anne Hultgren, Executive Director, Arnold and Mabel Beckman Foundation
As a result, Big Bang adopted a train-the-trainer/consultant approach, teaching the team at the Beckman Foundation how to make their customizations, edit filters, and create custom reports.
“They were very flexible with us and they helped us in the live circumstance and that saved us a lot of time and kept the project on budget.”
– Jacqueline Chamberlain, Finance Manager, Arnold and Mabel Beckman Foundation
The Benefits of a Collaborative FinancialForce Integration: Working Smarter, Not Harder
The team was impressed with their prior Salesforce implementation and was looking to enhance the Force.com platform by integrating their financial system as well. From board meetings to day-to-day task completion, FinancialForce has immensely streamlined and simplified processes at the Beckman Foundation. Now, the foundation has a complete workflow all within one platform. It goes from making an award to a person, all the way through to the payment and the tracking, as well the long-term life cycle of a grant.
How the Beckman Foundation has Benefited from FinancialForce:
Flexibility: Ability to update and view information in real-time
Forget double-checking for duplicated data, waiting to hear back from colleagues for information, and running formulas on excel. FinancialForce cuts all these unnecessary steps out of the equation. Instead, users can view the information, such as transactions, in real-time, from anywhere, at any time. Additionally, everyone is involved in the system and has a holistic view of the process.
Efficiency: Streamline internal processes
With FinancialForce, the team has higher control over the system – a huge reason the board was excited about it. FinancialForce protects data, has allowed them to streamline operations across the board and create similar processes for different types of transactions while including key touchpoints along the way.
Working smarter: Elimination of internal email chains and inbox searches
Before FinancialForce, employees needing specific data had to communicate through email to retrieve the information. However, as a result of the implementation, the use of email as internal communication has been replaced with dashboards. Additionally, one-off tasks that need to be remembered, no longer get lost in the midst of other emails. Instead, the team has flows that get information to the appointed person for approval, and task reports that help resolve issues outside of emails.
“If I need to remember if we paid a certain invoice, I don’t have to search my emails. I can check it wherever, whenever [in a FinancialForce dashboard]. It’s transformative,”
shares Anne Hultgren.
Advice: Be Realistic
Anne Hultgren’s number one piece of advice is to be realistic. She explains, “it’s going to take longer than you think”, hence meaning it’s always best to set realistic goals and set aside time to achieve milestones – especially in a joint implementation. Moreso, she highlights the importance of setting up a solid framework before proceeding on to the next steps.
Jacqueline Chamberlain shares,
“The board likes FinancialForce. They are comfortable, they are happy, they feel more secure.”
A Great Relationship
The foundation enjoyed Big Bang’s flexibility and adaptability throughout the process. The Big Bang team was able to adjust their working style to fit the expectations of the client; a less hands-on approach, and a more ‘support’ role.
“I would recommend Big Bang. I think we had a good relationship”
– Anne Hultgren, Executive Director
Constantly evolving, they are looking forward to tackling the next piece of the process towards getting more integrated and streamlined, coming back for more visual reports and integrating the investment portion of their finances as potential next steps.