“The roll out and implementation went very smoothly and we’re looking forward to the teams using it fully and reducing cycle times in our finance function.”
Peter Grobauer, Chief Operating Officer, CREB® The Situation
CREB® is one of the largest real estate boards in Canada. It is a professional body of over 5,100 licensed brokers and registered associates, representing 240+ member offices. It is a not-for-profit, voluntary membership organization that provides a full range of services to its members. Their Multiple Listing Service (MLS) System is a state-of-the-art solution that allows members (Brokers and Associates) to exchange information about properties for sale in Calgary and across the country.
As a member association, CREB® had been using a real estate industry specific, Client Relationship Management (CRM) solution to handle their membership operations. This system also had a basic financial management component which they realised was not able to provide the capabilities and information needed to support the current or future requirements of the Board. “The system was well over a decade old and we came to realise, and later discover, that the vendor was no longer going to support or develop it. It was also causing significant bottle necks in our finance function,”
comments Peter Grobauer, COO, at CREB®. “One example was reporting, which was taking several weeks after month or year end to produce figures for the board of directors. Work had to be done outside of the system in Excel spreadsheets and staff needed to do a significant amount of manual re-working. It was time to look for a modern, dedicated financial management solution that could greatly improve our operational efficiency.”
As part of an initial group of 5 Real Estate Boards (2 additional Boards joined these 5 at a later date) in Alberta and British Columbia including the Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver and the Realtors Association of Edmonton, they collectively appointed KMPG to provide consultancy services on a suitable replacement for their current system. Through research and a competitive RFP process, a shortlist of vendors and financial management solutions were selected including Microsoft Dynamics NAV, Microsoft Dynamics GP, Sage and SAP Financials.
It was also decided to split the requirement – separating the vendors of the CRM and ERP elements while also ensuring that, once installed both solutions would integrate seamlessly.
|ERP system||Dynamics NAV|
|Communications infrastructure ||Exchange|
|Desktop systems||Microsoft Office|
|Deployment strategy||On Premise|
“Altus Dynamics was recommended by KPMG to provide the financial management element of our new back office solution. But as a group, we all had a say in the final selection and the decision needed to work for all or none of us. In the end we all voted to go with Altus and I’m glad to say it was the right decision,"
says Grobauer .
CREB® and the other 4 boards chose to implement Altus Dynamics Financial Suite for non-profits, based on Microsoft Dynamics NAV 2009 RTC. The suite includes General Ledger, Accounts Payable, Accounts Receivable, Budgeting, Forecasting, Reconciliations, Asset Management and Cash Management. “ The Altus solution has taken our accounting function to a new level. We are now able to carry out tasks that were never possible before such as bank reconciliation or fixed asset management,”
comments Tyler Bertamini, Senior Accountant, Finance at CREB®.
The implementation of the solution took only 3 ½ months, start to finish due to the high level of functionality delivered out-of-the-box with a Microsoft Dynamics solution. “ We wanted to create a finance function that took all the knowledge and research Microsoft Dynamics used to build the base NAV product and modify our process to match how the product does things,
” adds Bertamini. “ This meant we could implement rapidly, based on a best practice solution.”
Currently, Altus Dynamics Financials integrates with the pre-existing CRM backend solution, but once the replacement CRM goes live, the link will be switched over.
|“We wanted to create a finance function that took all the knowledge and research Microsoft used to build the base Dynamics NAV product and modify our process to match how the product does things”|
| Tyler Bertamini|
Senior Accountant, Finance, CREB®
CREB® is now running their finance function on their new Microsoft Dynamics NAV solution, with the remaining boards going live in 2013. The Board is already seeing improvements in processes which are predicted to increase as all users get fully up to speed on the functionality. Improved Accounting Function:
With a fully featured financial management solution in place, work practices and processes have been streamlined.
Integration with the Microsoft Technology Infrastructure: Selecting a Microsoft-based solution has allowed greater integration into the other solutions currently in use at CREB® including SharePoint, Exchange and Office programs such as Outlook and Excel. Faster Reporting:
What used to take weeks to produce can now be done in a matter of minutes, with real-time reporting at managers’ fingertips. With all the data contained in one system, it will now be possible to produce ad hoc, month-end and year-end reports and accounts at the push of a button and integrates with Jet Essentials Reporting solution. Reduced Staff workload:
The new financial management solution will do away with previous tasks carried out, outside of the core finance system. There will now be no need for staff to work partially in the solution while doing other work in Excel or for the manual reworking of data by staff.
©Microsoft 2013 - For more information about Microsoft Dynamics, go to: www.microsoft.com/dynamics. For more information about Microsoft products and services, call the Microsoft Sales Information Center at +1 (800) 426-9400 . In Canada, call the Microsoft Canada Information Centre at +1 (877) 568-2495 . For more information on Altus Dynamics go to www.altusdynamics.com or call +1 (416) 516 0050 . This case study is for informational purposes only. MICROSOFT MAKES NO WARRANTIES, EXPRESS OR IMPLIED, IN THIS SUMMARY.