Using Einstein to Maximize the Value Your Services Business Provides

Using Einstein to Maximize the Value Your Services Business Provides

Using Einstein to Maximize the Value Your Services Business Provides

As a services business, providing value to your clients is a top priority. One way to do this is to utilize a tool like FinancialForce PSA, which runs on the Salesforce platform. This gives you a connected view of your business from lead to delivery to billing. Awesome, so that’s it, right?

What if your data could tell you more about your business than standard reports? What if you could learn about trends in your data and see which of your currents projects may be at risk of going over-budget before it happens? You could get ahead of your services business and drive client success! 

Sounds like a job for an expensive Data Scientist… Or Salesforce Einstein! Did you know that Salesforce has a tool that uses AI to analyze trends in your data, make predictions, and help you understand your business better? The possibilities are endless. Salesforce can help you answer questions that you never knew it could answer, such as:

How can I maximize utilization of my resources?

Einstein Discovery allows you to pick an attribute such as utilization, analyze your data, and then tell give you suggestions on how to maximize it! Imagine finding that perfect balance between long- and short-term engagements that leads to your ideal utilization for your resources!

How can I tell how my client is feeling about our work?

Einstein Sentiment can analyze the emails your client sends you and ascribe a positive, negative, or neutral feeling to it. You could use that data to identify potential issues and risks earlier and address them before they impact your delivery to the client!

How could I tell if a project is at risk of going off-track?

Einstein Prediction Builder can assign a value score to help you understand the probability of a certain event happening, such as passing the end date or going over budget. You can then quickly see where your biggest risks are, and allocate resources to ensure you deliver on-time and under-budget!

These are just a few ways that Salesforce Einstein enhance your services business and provide better value to your clients. It can also help avoid costly risks and keep budget down, which will provide value to your business as well! It’s a win for all.

Is Einstein Right For You?

To see if Einstein is right for you, let’s chat!

YesNo


Executive Assistant

Job Posting

EXECUTIVE ASSISTANT

Apply Now

At VFP Consulting, we believe in hiring great people, not just great resumés.  We create value for our clients through exceptional service:  providing knowledgeable recommendations, identifying and mitigating risk, and challenging the status quo.

 

WHAT YOU CAN EXPECT AT VFP

You’ve got an extraordinary opportunity to join a small, successful and ambitious company on the rise, and to help shape our future.  Perhaps you’ve thrived in this kind of environment before, or maybe you’re with a larger firm and looking for a change of scenery.  We’re offering a chance to directly influence the evolution of our business with your talent, take your career to the next level, and have fun doing it.

 

WHAT THE ROLE LOOKS LIKE

As our Executive Assistant, you’re the critical right hand to both our CEO and COO.  You’ll help our company scale by enabling our leaders to operate more efficiently.  You’ll support them through a variety of day-to-day tasks, but more importantly you’ll be a significant contributor to the strategic advancement of the company by getting involved in several important internal projects and programs.  You’ll also play a part in helping our business development efforts in sales and marketing.  When we stop and take stock of how much we’ve gotten done in the year, we’ll have you to thank for making it happen.

VFP is a 100% remote company, but we’d love for our EA to be based in either Scottsdale, AZ or Vancouver, BC.

RESPONSIBILITIES

  • Organize and manage the schedules, travel plans and deliverables of our busy and on-the-go senior leaders
  • Help with the production of important documents and presentations that will help grow the business
  • Track and drive completion of key initiatives, following up on outstanding items to ensure timely success
  • Drive our culture by playing a central role in the production of our team-centric events, such as our twice-annual meetups, All Hands Meetings, and our annual Founder’s Club.
  • Assist with the production of several marketing events throughout the year for both partners and prospects
  • Own the administrative details of our recruiting efforts
  • Coordinate and execute our employee onboarding program
  • Support our accounting and forecasting functions as required, and help us maintain clean information systems internally
  • Get involved from the start, using sound project management thinking to plan engagements
  • Complete special assignments as required, which may involve research and analysis

 

REQUIREMENTS AND SKILLS

  • 3+ years of experience working in an executive support capacity, ideally within either a consulting or technology environment
  • Bachelor’s degree is preferred
  • Fantastic organizational, communication and interpersonal skills
  • Highly motivated in a 100% remote work setting, with minimal supervision
  • Able to work and thrive in a fast-paced, dynamic, and a passion for making ambiguous things orderly
  • Very detail oriented, with a sixth sense to anticipate what’s needed that hasn’t been communicated
  • Creative approaches to problem solving, planning and execution
  • Experience with Salesforce and/or FinancialForce is highly desirable
  • Able to travel periodically throughout the year to locations in North America
  • Bring our values to life in your work: Vision, Focus and Passion

 

WHAT WE OFFER

  • Competitive compensation package, including bonus plan, benefits and perks
  • Work remotely from home and travel as needed
  • A dynamic, fast-paced environment that comes with a flexible schedule
  • Extraordinary teammates who are accountable, love what they do and support one another
  • Leaders who support your growth and stand behind you
  • Challenging work, and the chance to learn something new each day
  • Team meetups throughout the year
  • A culture that knows how to unwind and celebrate success

 

We’re looking for smart people with great attitudes and experience to join our highly regarded firm and further their career in the Salesforce ecosystem.  If you’re interested in learning more, we’d love to talk to you.

Apply Now

Habits are formed by doing something every day, and we think that is an essential can’t-live-without-it part of the job at VFP. We make excellence our habit. So you know you can count on us to look out for you and deliver the best.

Core Values

Where PassionMeets Purpose.


What does it take to be a great Consultant - With Stephanie Picardi

What does it actually take to be a great Consultant?

Being a good Consultant doesn't mean chasing prestige.

What does it take to be a great Consultant?

Every year prominent business schools release waves of new graduates into the workforce, each of them hungry to put their knowledge to good use…and make a name for themself. Many will choose to pursue consulting, as, to some, the title of Consultant implies prestige. In reality, there’s no power in a title— reputation is something that you earn through excellence. A great Consultant must have the right attitude and display steadfast expertise if they’re going to earn (and maintain) the trust of the businesses they partner with.

Execute every time

Curiosity is key. Being able to see the challenges that your client is facing (and have the foresight to predict the challenges that they’ll need to tackle in the future) certainly requires a high level of skill. But you also need the ability to execute every time— to operationalize the recommendations that you’re making. Understanding the proper balance between innovation and reality takes a levelheaded, ego-free disposition, and expertise in the solutions that you’re providing. For example, if you work with software, your recommendations must always be the right fit. Whatever systems and processes you create for your client must not only serve them where they are— they must enable them to do more.

It’s your duty to keep focused on your objective

Do you know to stay on track? Building lasting relationships with your client means helping them navigate the changing landscape of their journey. Whether it’s acquisition, going public, or a structural re-org, it’s your duty to keep focused on your objective. As such, it’s vital that you know how to keep a project from derailing. Seeing your partner through the bumps along the way means knowing how to create and execute solutions, but it also requires a high level of emotional intelligence. Being a source of support in trying times requires a level head and a good heart— in equal measure.

Obtain and deliver new skills

You just have to like it. Technical ability means nothing if you don’t enjoy the conversation. When you’re passionate about what you do, it isn’t something that you turn off. A great Consultant can’t help but think about improving their craft. They find ways to repurpose what they’ve learned from their engagements, and are always seeking to obtain and deliver new skills as they move forward.

Great Consultants don’t play a singular role.

In the end, great consultants are the ones who recognize that their personal success is measured by the success of their partners. Sure, you have to possess a sales mindset and be a business operation expert, but you also need to be able to see outside of that domain. Knowing how your decisions affect operations up and downstream is only the beginning. Are you being helpful beyond of the scope of your own project? Consulting means forming a partnership, and as any business owner will tell you, that means wearing a lot of hats. A great Consultant wants to show up however they can— because when you love what you do, it doesn’t feel like work.


Mike Kennedy MDA CFO Discusses 5 Things to Know When Implementing Financialforce

5 Things Every CFO Should Expect When Implementing Salesforce and FinancialForce - An Interview with Michael Kennedy, Chief Financial Officer at the Muscular Dystrophy Association

Everybody wants to be on a winning team, and it’s clear that our team feels like the FinancialForce implementation is

giving them a chance of being on a winning team.

MICHAEL KENNEDY, EVP & CFO,
MUSCULAR DYSTROPHY ASSOCIATION.

In Part 1 of our Case Study, we discovered why the Muscular Dystrophy Association trusted VFP Consulting with their integrated technology solutions. We also discussed what the NFP organization stood to gain from implementing a cohesive ERP software strategy across their 84 offices.

In Part 2, we examine the Salesforce and FinancialForce implementation process itself. What does a go-live actually look like for a company like the MDA? What can a company (and its team members) expect during a cross-country roll-out…and how long does it take to see the benefits?

Mike Kennedy of the Muscular Dystrophy Association carved out an hour to talk to me a week after the roll-out of their FinancialForce and Salesforce software. In that time he broke down five key tips for CFO’s about the implementation process.

Tip 1:  Involve your team from day one: they’re the people moving you forward.

Kim: How is your team feeling a week in?

Mike: Really, factoring in the entire implementation process, we’re 7 months in– but that has been an incredible time of transformation for us. I got a load of comments last week, after the official go-live. I’m still getting feedback from the team. It’s important to involve your team from day one: they’re the people moving you forward. We knew the systems would help us achieve our goals– that came as no surprise. The surprise was how happy and empowered the team was across the entire organization. They had the tools they needed to do their job better– and they have.

Kim: As the CFO of an organization with a 64 year history, how are you feeling about the new tech?

Mike: If you are a people-driven organization, it’s more than just technology. It’s culture, and it’s also ownership.

Everybody wants to be on a winning team, and it’s clear that our team feels like the FinancialForce implementation is giving them a chance of being on a winning team. As a leader, you want to give your team the best tools available, so they can feel that they are doing their job in the best ways possible. I didn’t fully anticipate the elated response.

Tip 2: Embrace change. Involve your team in not only accepting, but continually improving the way you work.

Kim: When did you start noticing the excitement building? Did it take a while to get everyone on board?

Mike: For something like this to work, it’s crucial that every person involved is excited to embrace change. That excitement really showed up as we built up steam in the final two months of the roll-out– once we could actually see the software, and the reality of its potential first hand. The final few weeks came out strongly. During the go-live, you could feel it in the room. All our teams were on video from around the country. There was a different tone in everyone’s voice, a completely different mood. Everybody seemed so capable and empowered, and they still do. Our culture has changed thanks to the way VFP helped us design and implement our solution–  and I feel better about that than I do the amazing data and results at my fingertips. Of course…those are very nice, too.

Tip 3: Roll with the punches (and expect some interesting findings and adjustments through UAT).

Kim: What does this software mean for you as a leader?

Mike: As with any new concept, you encounter problems that you don’t know how to fix. But the team isn’t afraid to bring issues forward. They know that they’re not on their own, and they know that they don’t have to tolerate broken systems, wasted time, or things that should only take 2 hours taking 2 weeks. Ever again. We had to roll with some punches after UAT [User Acceptance Training]. Anybody implementing a system like this will. But those adjustments are only going to make things better.

What I bring in with my role is leadership in terms of how to think with this new tool. I need to keep encouraging it, and nurturing that cultural shift in what our workforce sees as attainable. New ideas are coming up that we hadn’t expected before. I have a new base with FinancialForce that’s making every connector be reevaluated. And my team is so engaged. There’s a new feeling in the air. Now that we’ve done something tremendous in only 7 months, everybody knows that we can do tremendous things.

Tip 4: Set a clear vision and stick to it.

Kim: So, what comes next?

Mike: Step 2! As big as Step 1 was, now we need Step 2 to really go after the front-end systems– for running events, and other processes of that nature. You need a clear vision; we’ve got one, and we’re ready to keep making it happen. We have a plan to replace cumbersome front-end processes with Salesforce-driven products– like a marketing cloud, and state-of-the-art donation tools. It’s going to absolutely redefine our potential.

Once we’re able to dig into donor tools– to quickly go into those systems and determine what’s generating X revenue, or what X will cost– we’re going to be able to streamline our processes even further. Then, the final stage will be the top-tier FinancialForce platform; it can go one more step, and it’s clear to me already that we’ll benefit from it.

Fully committing to Salesforce and FinancialForce is going to allow us to efficiently manage our events so we can get the best use of our dollar. Having financial control opens the door to thinking more broadly about where our efforts are, and where we’re focused. A good part of 2019 will be spent using this data to look at the organization holistically. Is it set up to maximize revenue generation– at the most effective cost? How are we improving the delivery of our mission to these families? We couldn’t even start to think about that without a single source of data and infrastructure.

Tip 5: Finding the right partner is critical.

Kim: What can you say about the experience of having an implementation partner?

Mike: The success of the FinancialForce implementation, and how we did this all– how the system was brought in, accepted, and how quickly we managed to do it– is shared with a lot of people. Paul and Stephanie’s partnership was a critical part in that. They are two of the greatest, nicest people I have worked with. Overall with this project, we had an incredibly aggressive timeline. I had a lot of vendors that I could have worked with, but VFP was the only one willing to leave ego at the door and adapt their methodology for us.

We needed a consultant who could take that step back to understand what needed to be done, and then jump in and get started. VFP understood the vision and joined me in a partnership. It’s an easy word to say– but that type of relationship is the only starting point when you’re trying to create an architecture like the one we have. They pushed through the noise and were flexible enough to truly own the project. They would raise issues that I wasn’t necessarily thinking about. If we went off road, they pulled it back. Paul had an additional role at UAT, and he ran it the same way. People thought that he was an MDA employee– that’s how invested he was in getting us the right tool.

This is not a common vendor relationship;. VFP has the right mindset on how to build relationships. It’s why I don’t hesitate to recommend them. They proved to me that I can work with partners in a different way. Which is nice, because it’s the only way I want to work. Unless you co-own the vision, you’re not really a partner. The outcome looks like we delivered a system. But it’s much more. I have a whole slide for the board delivering the benefits of partnering, and vendor partner excellence.

Final insight for CFOs

Kim: Any final words of advice for other CFOs, CIOs– or NFPs?

Mike: You have to do it. That’s the best advice I have– especially for Non Profits: they’re not nearly as accustomed to these processes. You have to go do it. The days of dropping in modules are over. The days of repeating steps are over. Every dollar used inefficiently is one less dollar that gets to your mission. You have to understand the importance of an investment like this. We have a truly centralized service center. We’re able to see precisely where the effort is. Everything flows.

Some Non Profits may not be able to afford getting it implemented all at once. Stephanie and Paul tell me this is something that can be built over three years, if need be. There’s nothing like FinancialForce on the market right now, so don’t waste your time trying to recreate it. You won’t be happy if you just replace the General Ledger– you’ll be left with same problems. Just faster. You have to think broadly. You have to commit to removing repetition. If it’s still slow, the process isn’t right.


Senior Implementation Consultant, Professional Services Automation Software

Job Posting

SENIOR IMPLEMENTATION CONSULTANT, PROFESSIONAL SERVICES AUTOMATION SOFTWARE

Apply Now

At VFP Consulting, we believe in hiring great people, not just great resumés.  We create value for our clients through exceptional service:  providing knowledgeable recommendations, identifying and mitigating risk, and challenging the status quo.

 

WHAT YOU CAN EXPECT AT VFP

You’ve got an extraordinary opportunity to join a small, successful and ambitious company on the rise, and to help shape our future.  Perhaps you’ve thrived in this kind of environment before, or maybe you’re with a larger firm and looking for a change of scenery.  We’re offering a chance to directly influence the evolution of our business with your talent, take your career to the next level, and have fun doing it.

 

WHAT THE ROLE LOOKS LIKE

As as Senior Implementation Consultant working directly with clients, you’re an advisor building strong and trusted relationships.  You’ll deliver end-to-end consulting services using FinancialForce PSA to support our customers’ business needs.  Typical projects involve requirement gathering workshops, documentation, data migration, system configuration, testing, integration, training and project management.  You’ll have a chance to own it all.

Our clients are located throughout the U.S. and many have global offices.  At VFP, you’ll get to work remotely from anywhere in the continental U.S. and travel to client locations as required.  On average you should expect to travel 30-50% of the time to support several concurrent projects.

 

RESPONSIBILITIES

  • Get involved from the start, using sound project management thinking to plan engagements
  • Add value to our customers through solid business requirement workshops
  • Guide our customers on recommended business practices for professional services organizations
  • Configure FinancialForce PSA per the customers’ requirements
  • Guide customers through user acceptance testing, using creative thinking to tackle unforeseen business problems
  • Train users of all levels on the use of Salesforce and FinancialForce PSA
  • Manage projects, including standard project management duties such as reporting as well as being the face of VFP to the client during the engagement
  • Fully accountable for the satisfaction of customers

 

REQUIREMENTS AND SKILLS

  • 4+ years of experience working in a professional consulting organization, ideally in a SaaS environment, implementing CRM, SFA, ERP and/or PSA applications
  • Management experience in a professional services environment is highly preferred
  • Experience with Salesforce and/or FinancialForce is highly desirable, and Salesforce certifications are a definite asset
  • Post-secondary education in computer science, business administration, or equivalent experience
  • Project management training and experience is an advantage
  • Proven technical acumen to translate business requirements into functional design
  • Strong analytical skills and the ability to think critically about solving business problems
  • Exceptional interpersonal skills, including communication, presentation and client management

 

WHAT WE OFFER

  • Generous compensation package, including bonus plan, benefits and perks
  • Work remotely from home and travel as needed
  • Flexible schedule, and high autonomy to manage your workload
  • Extraordinary teammates who are accountable, love what they do and support one another
  • Leaders who support your growth and stand behind you
  • Challenging work, and the chance to learn something new each day
  • Support for achieving Salesforce certifications, as well as continuing education outside of work
  • Team meetups throughout the year, and our annual Partner’s Club trip for our top performers
  • A culture that knows how to unwind and celebrate success

We’re looking for smart people with great attitudes and experience to join our highly regarded firm and further their career in the Salesforce ecosystem.  If you’re interested in learning more, we’d love to talk to you.

Apply Now

Habits are formed by doing something every day, and we think that is an essential can’t-live-without-it part of the job at VFP. We make excellence our habit. So you know you can count on us to look out for you and deliver the best.

Core Values

Where PassionMeets Purpose.


Account Executive

Job Posting

ACCOUNT EXECUTIVE

Apply Now

As an Account Executive at VFP Consulting, you will manage the full sales cycle of all sales opportunities assigned to you, following up on incoming or self-generated leads, coordinating with our partners on co-selling opportunities, communicating the value of our services approach, negotiating terms and prices, and closing deals.

VFP Consulting is an implementation partner with Salesforce.com and FinancialForce. The Account Executive will work closely with Account Executives from those partners in joint software / services pursuits. In addition, we also have follow-on services opportunities for existing customers. The Account Executive will also coordinate with VFP Consulting internal resources to support sales opportunities including the discovery and scoping processes.

You will use your specialized knowledge of ERP, CRM and the Quote to Cash business processes and experience with professional services concepts to resolve complex issues in creative and effective ways. Expert level knowledge of partner software solutions and VFP Consulting services will be required to manage the full sales lifecycle.

This is a remote position working from home anywhere in the United States with some travel required.

 

Responsibilities:

  • Strategically drive new business and manage assigned services sales and revenue targets.
  • Target and cultivate a professional and consultative relationship with our partners, Salesforce and FinancialForce.
  • Take a leadership role and accountability in working with cross-functional teams to develop winning proposals.
  • Generate new opportunities through existing relationships, lead-generation, and by scheduling and presenting at marketing events.
  • Follow up on incoming leads, schedule and present in remote or onsite meetings.
  • Follow up continuously on all potential sales pursuits, negotiate terms/pricing/contracts and advance them to close.
  • Participate in weekly sales meetings to present/assess the status of all existing pipeline of leads, opportunities as well as potential future target companies and pursuit strategies.
  • Travel throughout North America is required. Estimated travel is about 25% but will fluctuate over time.

 

Requirements:

  • 4-6 years as a Consulting sales or integration professional in the technology space, with focused experience selling ERP and CRM applications; primarily Quote to Cash.
  • Demonstrated knowledge in cloud-based business software and professional services
  • Comprehensive knowledge of budget cycles, procurement processes, and contract vehicles
  • Demonstrated experience in closing small to large, solution-oriented services opportunities
  • Demonstrated expertise in specialty, consultative, solution selling and business development skills to align the customer’s needs with our solution to drive sales and close deals.
  • Must be aggressive self-starter with strong relationship management and negotiation skills
  • Has excellent written, verbal and formal presentation skills to client audiences ranging from technical implementers through executive levels.
  • Know strength and weaknesses of key competitors

Apply Now

Habits are formed by doing something every day, and we think that is an essential can’t-live-without-it part of the job at VFP. We make excellence our habit. So you know you can count on us to look out for you and deliver the best.

Core Values

Where PassionMeets Purpose.


Senior Implementation Consultant, Financial Software

Job Posting

SENIOR IMPLEMENTATION CONSULTANT, FINANCIAL SOFTWARE

Apply Now

At VFP Consulting, we believe in hiring great people, not just great resumés.  We create value for our clients through exceptional service:  providing knowledgeable recommendations, identifying and mitigating risk, and challenging the status quo.

 

WHAT YOU CAN EXPECT AT VFP

You’ve got an extraordinary opportunity to join a small, successful and ambitious company on the rise, and to help shape our future.  Perhaps you’ve thrived in this kind of environment before, or maybe you’re with a larger firm and looking for a change of scenery.  We’re offering a chance to directly influence the evolution of our business with your talent, take your career to the next level, and have fun doing it.

 

WHAT THE ROLE LOOKS LIKE

As as Senior Implementation Consultant working directly with clients, you’re an advisor building strong and trusted relationships.  You’ll deliver end-to-end consulting services using FinancialForce FFA to support our customers’ business needs.  Typical projects involve requirement gathering workshops, documentation, data migration, system configuration, testing, integration, training and project management.  You’ll have a chance to own it all.

 

Our clients are located throughout the U.S. and many have global offices.  At VFP, you’ll get to work remotely from anywhere in the continental U.S. and travel to client locations as required.  On average you should expect to travel 30-50% of the time to support several concurrent projects.

 

RESPONSIBILITIES

  • Get involved from the start, using sound project management thinking to plan engagements
  • Add value to our customers through solid business requirement workshops
  • Guide our customers on recommended business practices for professional services organizations
  • Configure FinancialForce FFA per the customers’ requirements
  • Guide customers through user acceptance testing, using creative thinking to tackle unforeseen business problems
  • Train users of all levels on the use of Salesforce and FinancialForce FFA
  • Manage projects, including standard project management duties such as reporting as well as being the face of VFP to the client during the engagement
  • Fully accountable for the satisfaction of customers

 

REQUIREMENTS AND SKILLS

  • 4+ years of experience working in a professional consulting organization, ideally in a SaaS environment, implementing CRM, SFA, ERP and/or PSA applications
  • Financial education and/or experience is highly preferred
  • Experience with Salesforce and/or FinancialForce is highly desirable, and Salesforce certifications are a definite asset
  • Post-secondary education in computer science, business administration, or equivalent experience
  • Project management training and experience is an advantage
  • Proven technical acumen to translate business requirements into functional design
  • Strong analytical skills and the ability to think critically about solving business problems
  • Exceptional interpersonal skills, including communication, presentation and client management

 

WHAT WE OFFER

  • Generous compensation package, including bonus plan, benefits and perks
  • Work remotely from home and travel as needed
  • Flexible schedule, and high autonomy to manage your workload
  • Extraordinary teammates who are accountable, love what they do and support one another
  • Leaders who support your growth and stand behind you
  • Challenging work, and the chance to learn something new each day
  • Support for achieving Salesforce certifications, as well as continuing education outside of work
  • Team meetups throughout the year, and our annual Partner’s Club trip for our top performers
  • A culture that knows how to unwind and celebrate success

 

We’re looking for smart people with great attitudes and experience to join our highly regarded firm and further their career in the Salesforce ecosystem.  If you’re interested in learning more, we’d love to talk to you.

Apply Now

Habits are formed by doing something every day, and we think that is an essential can’t-live-without-it part of the job at VFP. We make excellence our habit. So you know you can count on us to look out for you and deliver the best.

Core Values

Where PassionMeets Purpose.


Why MDA Needed an ERP and Why It Chose VFP Consulting: An Interview with Michael Kennedy, Chief Financial Officer at the Muscular Dystrophy Association

Why MDA Needed an ERP and Why It Chose VFP Consulting: An Interview with Michael Kennedy, Chief Financial Officer at the Muscular Dystrophy Association

I don’t give recommendations easily. But I can for
VFP – I appreciate that they are more than a software
implementation company, and have become my
partners in a massive transformation in the

way we use technology to make a difference.

MICHAEL KENNEDY, EVP & CFO,
MUSCULAR DYSTROPHY ASSOCIATION.

Mike Kennedy carved out an hour to talk to me in the middle of this year’s Dreamforce to share his vision: Evolve the way the Muscular Dystrophy Association, a nonprofit with a 64-year history, leverages technology to become a streamlined data-driven organization.

With a passion to make a difference and the drive to see it through, Mike has set in motion a clear innovative technology strategy aimed at providing best-in-class integrated technology solutions that further the MDA mission and drive increased fundraising.

With strategic and tactical help from VFP Consulting, the Salesforce/FinancialForce platforms will allow MDA to achieve two important milestones:

  • Reduced administrative overhead and the creation of a centralized service center executing more effectively within a unified technology
  • A way to provide constituents with additional opportunities to engage with the organization by implementing new channels and improving existing channels

These changes will be the backbone of MDA’s future and will empower tens of thousands of volunteers and staff in 84 offices across the country.

Kim: What is the business problem that VFP Consulting is helping you solve?

Michael Kennedy: The problem is twofold. In the beginning, MDA had antiquated and disparate front and backend systems. Once the extent of the problem was identified with VFP Consulting’s help, we chose FinancialForce to be the single end-to-end processing platform.

With VFP Consulting building the foundations of the technology architecture, we started the strategic thinking around moving MDA’s existing 60-plus systems into a single Salesforce-managed platform that will drive our fundraising and mission initiatives.

Kim: What other technologies is VFP working with to help you realize your vision?

Michael Kennedy: The front-end of fundraising will be driven by Salesforce partner platforms such as Donor Drive, One Cause, and Marketing Cloud, and MDA Care Centers and Summer Camps will have custom-designed Salesforce registries.  All of these programs will be supported by the FinancialForce platform implemented by VFP.

Kim: What aspect of the FinancialForce implementation will help you most in your job as CFO?

Michael Kennedy: Every organization needs reliable, timely and relevant financial information to help guide its goals. This is what FinancialForce can bring to MDA. In addition, it is important to me that MDA maximizes the mission impact of every dollar we raise. With FinancialForce end-to-end processing capabilities, we not only get superior financial information but we also achieve a streamlined process providing significant savings. VFP was able to quickly grasp these two critical requirements and help us build a successful platform.

Kim: What will a successful implementation look like to you?

Michael Kennedy: VFP has done a wonderful job in putting the FinancialForce implementation on a fast track. It was just too important to the organization to not have a state-of-the-art technology platform. For me, a successful implementation brings me the three key aspects every CFO wants to have:

  • House in order: processing systems deliver efficiencies and financial information can be relied upon
  • Relevant and timely financial reporting: a simple dashboard both for finance department overview as well as for front-end executives to understand where they stand
  • Influence: the right information will influence decision-making and allow my colleagues to achieve their goals

When the implementation is done, I’ll be able to look at financials and say, “Here is where we are struggling,” and make real-time recommendations based on accurate and timely data.  If we can access financials and metrics easily and see how things are connected, then MDA will be able to help more people more efficiently than ever before.

Shifting the organization to a single Salesforce/FinancialForce platform will allow us to become a more connected, efficient team. It will facilitate collaboration that just isn’t possible with our old systems.

Kim: From your experience, are the needs of nonprofits different than those of for-profit companies?

Michael Kennedy: Clearly, the end goals are different. For-profit companies are trying to satisfy the financial returns of shareholders, whereas nonprofits are delivering on a defined mission of help and support. Coming from a background as a CFO in both worlds, I can see so many similarities between how each gets to its end goal. Finance teams are relied upon to provide timely and relevant information of an organization’s activities. In addition, it’s just as important for a nonprofit to make sure that the maximum amount of every dollar raised gets to the intended mission. We have the same responsibility to our donors that a for-profit has to its shareholders.  Both for-profit and nonprofits need executive and financial leadership. Having the right technology in place, and insight, is critical in delivering that leadership.

Kim: You mention “insight.” What kind of insight will help MDA fulfill its mission?

Michael Kennedy: We are a large nonprofit organization operating in 84 offices with more than 600 employees and volunteers. Having timely insight into all those activities is critical to the management team to drive our mission and fundraising efforts in an efficient and coordinated fashion. It will answer a lot of questions: Are we doing things in a consistent way? Are we concentrating on the right things, working in the right areas? Where are we raising funds? Why do some regions outperform others? Are we maximizing our connections with our supporters and families? I have never looked at the CFO role as simply a policeman or the generator of data. Compliance and accurate reporting is important but being able to influence the organization is the bigger goal for finance. I come in every day ready to challenge how we do things and how we can become more efficient, never losing sight that each dollar saved goes to helping our community of individuals with neuromuscular diseases. Having the right technology platform is key to being able to achieve that.

Kim: What does the future of MDA look like with the help of this platform?

Michael Kennedy: MDA is about innovations in care and science for individuals with neuromuscular diseases. We are constantly evolving as an organization as new treatments are discovered to help these individuals. With a state-of-the-art technology architecture, we will be well positioned to support how we deliver on this evolving mission.

Kim: What’s it like working with VFP? How do they compare to other partners you’ve worked with?

Michael Kennedy: I give a lot of credit to Paul and Stephanie for building a team of professionals that provides clients with thought leadership and timely product delivery. VFP is recognized as a specialist in this field. I don’t give away recommendations easily, but I can with VFP. I trust their knowledge of business processes and I trust their dedication to what we are trying to achieve. They put business process first, then they zero in on a solution. Without that kind of active partnership and knowledge there would be a lot of wasted trial and error.

Kim: What do you see as the value of working with the VFP Consulting team?

Michael Kennedy: When I first met Stephanie and Paul, I was clear about what I wanted. I said,

“I’m not looking for an implementation service; I’m looking for a partner who can help me think this through and implement it.”

The advantage of working with VFP is that they see the bigger picture. They own it with you. I could only do this with a team that takes the time to understand our processes and how to improve them. The VFP team brings a valuable element to what we are trying to accomplish.

 

Coming soon: In Part 2 of the MDA story we’ll talk to Paul Rees, co-Founder of VFP, about the process of implementation, lessons learned and the all-important go-live on Dec. 1, 2018.