How Gateway School Improved Its Finance and Accounting Department
Gateway School is an educational institution in Santa Cruz, CA, that offers K-8 classes for students. The primary goal of the Gateway School is to encourage children to focus on living a life of purpose and staying compassionate throughout all areas of life. Offering strong educational values, whether it’s on-campus or through remote learning, is one of the core values of Gateway School.
Recently, Gateway School hired Shawn Padilla as a chief financial officer. Padilla quickly recognized that the school needed to improve its finance and accounting duties, including its entire system and processing features. Handling simple functions such as managing payroll was taking too much time, which created several inefficiencies.
At the time, Gateway School only had one bookkeeper handling daily financial and HR duties for the last 25 years. All of the intellectual property was tied to one person’s past experiences, which created a significant risk to continuity if that one person became sick or left the organization.
The main need at Gateway School was to focus on creating a more efficient and reliable accounting system. Padilla began searching for a new partner to help the school modernize its entire accounting system with the help of today’s technology.
Finding a Solution With Technology
Gateway School partnered with Armanino LLP to enhance its accounting systems and processes with a more modern design. Armanino is one of the most extensive independent consulting and accounting firms in the United States that works with many schools, such as Gateway. Outsourcing with Armanino gave Gateway much more scalability for staffing while also providing professional expertise for handling all types of accounting challenges.
Gaining access to a team with experience in working with other school districts plays an essential role in building credibility and helping to bring others along to accommodate these accounting changes, even if they were initially hesitant to these modifications.
Gateway School began the outsourcing process with Armanino by implementing Sage Intacct, which offers management for finances and account solutions based on the cloud while also providing ongoing accounting services every month. Once Sage Intacct was implemented, Armanino conducted a comprehensive evaluation of the accounting processes and procedures within the school, such as finding any areas in need of change and using software to fill any deficiencies to place the school for future success.
Working with Armanino was also an excellent cultural fit by creating a balance between being professional and friendly. According to Padilla, working with Armanino feels like another aspect of the Gateway team, which is a win-win situation for everyone.
The partnership between Armanino and Gateway dramatically improved their financial operations, even during the uncertainty brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic. Padilla credits the professional expertise of the Armanino team with helping to sustain momentum and obtain his original goals. For example, payroll is now getting finished within one day instead of taking over a week. Even better, the payroll isn’t solely dependent on the experience and availability of one individual.
Another significant advantage is the timely and much more reliable monthly monetary reporting system. On the other hand, no access to up-to-date financials can lead to bad decisions and even create the potential for committing fraud. Now Gateway School can access its finance reports within the last couple of weeks at the end of the month.
The partnership with Armanino provides Padilla peace of mind while also providing a solid support system for handling an unpredictable future due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Gateway School is a small institution, but Armanion provides the necessary resources and expertise of numerous professionals whenever you need them. Now Gateway School can do things that didn’t use to be possible due to this partnership. Padilla and other administrators can relax and feel much better now as if anything happens to a system or person; it won’t result in a catastrophic scenario.
Outsourcing these accounting processes and services allow Padilla and his team members to focus on more critical tasks, such as helping the school make better decisions during the pandemic. Padilla believes that they couldn’t have begun working with Armanino at any better time due to the lingering uncertainty of the pandemic, as it allowed the school to pivot swiftly in an ever-changing environment.
Armanino also offers Gateway direction and assistance on other issues, such as staffing and safety procedures, helping families with adjustable tuition payments, and making decisions on remote learning.
Without Armanino, Gateway would face even more challenges in trying to navigate an uncertain future. Gaining additional perspective from these professionals is extremely helpful for employees at Gateway.
Aside from overcoming the challenges of the pandemic, Gateway plans to continue to partner with Armanino for other activities, such as increasing its revenue, creating capital operations, and building financial resources for the future. The initial return on investment with Armanino has become incalculable, as it’s allowed Gateway to advance in other areas that weren’t previously possible.