Before Callanwolde Executive Director, Peggy Still Johnson made the move to outsourced accounting services, she was handling all back-office work herself.
“For years we had an in-house bookkeeper, and when she left, I took on the accounting work to save the center money.”
Despite good intention, Peggy found herself weighed down with administrative work, which took time away from her core duties.
“I spent a fair amount of hours on the bookkeeping each week. And if I was preparing for a Board meeting, I could spend anywhere from 15 to 30 hours pulling together the required financial information,” Peggy explained.
Additionally, the former in-house bookkeeper facilitated a completely paper-based, manual process. This left Peggy to advance Callanwolde’s accounting into the technology age.
“I knew enough about QuickBooks® to input data and perform basic reporting,” Peggy recalled. “But I knew we really needed an expert to pull the reports required.”
In 2013, the Board advised Peggy to outsource accounting work so she could be free to focus on higher-value tasks, such as fund raising, program enhancement, and oversight of the preservation and development of the Callanwolde estate…what she does best!
Near the end of 2013, Peggy outsourced Callanwolde’s accounting to the Atlanta-based firm, Marshall, Jones & Co. The firms offers its OnDemand Accountant service—which enables clients to outsource complex compliance tasks to a team of experts.
“It’s one of the best moves I made,” Peggy stated. “Now we have a dedicated team of accounting professionals working for us, instead of relying on one person to handle this very complex work.”
“It’s one of the best moves I made. Now we have a dedicated team of accounting professionals working for us, instead of relying on one person to handle this very complex work.”
Offering Freedom, a System of Checks and Balances, and More…
Outsourcing the center’s accounting work not only freed Peggy Johnson from time-consuming back-office duties, but it also provided the necessary checks and balances.
“Using Marshall Jones removes accounting from inside Callanwolde, offering a sound financial checks and balances system,” stated Peggy. “This further protects us from fraud and other risks that non-profits face.”
Peggy Johnson was clear on all the benefits that she has experienced using the Marshall Jones virtual accounting service:
Peace of mind that an expert team is handling the work—instead of relying on a single point of contact to handle the accounting. No more gaps in work if someone goes on vacation.’
Expert support during annual audits—The onus of providing auditors with a long list of financial documents is now on the Marshall Jones team, relieving center staff from this complex, time-draining work.
The ability to request and receive custom reports—the Marshall Jones team has repeatedly supplied Peggy with custom reports to meet Callanwolde’s unique non-profit reporting needs.
Assurance that payroll is reported accurately—Marshall Jones takes care of reporting all payroll data, relieving in-house staff of dealing with this procedural task.
The convenience of working online—The firm’s advanced technology platform supports 24/7 online exchange of documents and data for ultimate convenience.
“I especially love the fact that I can get any custom report I need,” Peggy said. “If it’s a report that the Marshall Jones team has never created, they take the time to figure it out and deliver what I need. That is invaluable support!”
A Superior Performance…
Today, the financial management system within Callanwolde has been vastly improved. Complex non-profit accounting is being performed by an expert team of accounting professionals, headed up by a seasoned CPA, Charlie Jones.
“It pays to have experts do this work. Since we moved to Marshall Jones OnDemand Accountant service, we’ve been transitioned from a cash- to an accrual-based method—the standard in accounting. We are also receiving far more detailed reports that offer a clear view of the center’s financial health—supporting sound projections. All of this has created a level of financial transparency that we did not have before,” Peggy explained.
Callanwolde is a thriving fine arts center in the heart of Atlanta. Peggy described the center as a “working mansion.” She continued, “We have numerous programs in operation and host many events, including concerts, weddings, and more. My goal is to keep the center moving forward.
To do this I have to keep a laser focus on accounting. Marshall Jones makes sure that I always have a current and accurate picture of our financial status. This is critical to my job and to the life of Callanwolde.”