Scott Kurteff, CFO
Our relationship with the SGA Pulse team began with rejection. Twice. If we were dealing with anyone else, that would've been the end. Our experience with SGA Accounting was so profoundly wonderful that we asked SGA about a conversion to SGA Pulse. At the time, SGA Pulse had been rolled out to a select few YMCAs. SGA explained that ensuring premier functionality and customer service took precedence over growth. They were not ready to take us on and compromise the ability to deliver. For this unwavering commitment to paramount standards, I only have the deepest respect. A couple years later, we desperately needed to switch our Sales & Membership system within an extremely short timeframe. This was during the holiday season to boot. For the second time, SGA rejected us – with grace and compassion of course. In this case, the obstacle pertained to their success in lining up continuous customer implementations over an extended period. We had checked with SGA's competition too, only to be told this rapid conversion was "impossible." Unbeknownst to us, the SGA Pulse team reconvened, to see if even the most unconventional and narrow path was achievable. They brainstormed creative solutions, considered what they knew of us as a customer, and called the day after we had reached out. Forget the impossible: SGA said they could make it happen. What followed was perhaps the most impressive, successful, and unthinkably fun experience of my 25+ year career. SGA's technical prowess and capacity for smooth implementation is unrivaled. The system's ease of use, time-saving automation, flexibility (crucial during disruptive events such as Covid), and SGA's stellar customer support are dazzling. Yet, the powerful core of our relationship with SGA is their heart, optimism, caring manner, and a sense of being a part of their spirited family. Rejection has never felt so good.
Amelia Baker, CMO
When we opened 2020, we began contract renewals with our former operations software provider. As the pandemic ensued and as our future became less certain, we felt it necessary to pursue other avenues. There were pain points present with our prior service and frankly, our organization needed a different level of features and support. Our Y had been a long-standing customer of SGA using accounting software for more than 10 years. We had watched and followed their progress over the last 4 years as they developed a sales software that matured into a robust platform. Many Ys will tell you that we just do things differently than the rest of businesses and there is truth to that. Ys have unique business practices and SGA has invested the time and talent to develop their team and product in a way that truly supports Y needs. We loved the opportunity to sign on with SGA and collaborate with them on possible future features, but also to work closely on customizing our SGA Pulse experience to match what our Y needs. Internal conversations surrounding our decision making to shift operations softwares was rooted in which provider could serve us for our future. The SGA and YMCA teams were presented with an unprecedented (2020 buzzword) challenge. We needed to implement a new software, work intimately with the core Y and SGA teams, train our staff – all remotely, all without any in-person interaction. Both teams were up for the challenge. It didn't come without bumps in the road or things that would have been just plain easier to do in-person, but that's to be expected. A colleague gave me some advice before we started this process. Beware of the trough of disillusionment – the moment you question why you're doing this and what the heck were you thinking. Every software conversion will have that moment and we had plenty of those times when workload was overwhelming and everyone was learning something new, together. Both SGA and our Y were presented with challenges neither team had experienced before and together were able to push through. Every staff member in our organization is learning a new software. We were with our prior provider for 18 years and it had been a while for some and a new experience for most to have this level of disruption to a core operations software used daily by our staff. Our staff teams were and remain excited to learn the new system. Our front line training was reduced by 75% from 8 hours to 2 hours – direct savings for our Y. The system is easier for our part time staff to learn and understand. That alone is a huge benefit for all Ys, always but especially now. The customization available in the system to match business practices is refreshing and exciting. We have a lot to learn. We have many features to explore. We know SGA will continue to be there with us to have thoughtful conversations to support our growth and recovery. The dedication to system improvements is commendable. We can't wait to see what's next.
Allison Watkins, CFO
When I call SGA, it's always a live person that picks up the phone. That's huge. Someone is going to answer who seems to always ask about my day, and then is going to do whatever it takes to solve my issue. And I like that it's always the same people; the support team is small enough that we get to know them, and they get to know us. It feels like family. Working with a smaller company has been an absolute positive. They're big enough to get it done for everyone, but small enough to give individual attention. My suggestions, requests, and problems get immediate attention. There's no red tape. There's no bureaucracy. It's the same core group of people making decisions. And they're making good decisions. Before we transitioned to SGA, our accounting system and all of the financials were completely centralized in the finance director's office. In order for any branch staff, program director, or membership director to get financial information, it had to be given to them by the finance director. It was a single sheet of paper. When we put in SGA it was a complete paradigm shift for the staff. I cannot tell you how much they appreciate the transparency. They never had access to their own numbers before. Now they do, and having access to all of this underlying transaction information has completely changed the way they manage their financials. I can't think of anything that I haven't been able to solve with the Detail Report Writer. I've been able to get every single report I've ever needed. I've been able to build it, either by myself or with the help of SGA's support staff. The software is beyond functional. It's great software as it is. I'd continue to use it for 6 months or even two years from now if SGA were to go out of business tomorrow. I feel like even if SGA went away, I'd be ok. Having the SGA accounting platform has literally changed my day-in and day-out routine. It's made my actual accounting and finance work easy enough that it gives me more time to focus on strategy and how to move my Y forward, as opposed to spending my time figuring out how to run reports for example. As a finance director, I can focus on the big picture things that need my attention as opposed to the daily things that can be so beyond time consuming when you have inefficient software. Working with SGA feels like a true partnership, not at all like the normal vendor/client relationship. Having SGA means feeling like you have someone in your corner.
Tom O'Neil, CFO
Our YMCA switched to SGA in 2010 from Y-Vision. We had hopes that it would be an upgrade, but had no idea how much of an upgrade! The program is very efficient and our staff love it. The best testimonial we received was from a youth director who is better with kids than with technology, when he said "I can really understand our accounting program for once!" The ease of use of the program has made it possible to have our staff enter their own budgets and track their own financials each month. The staff love the different budget templates for membership, programs, and payroll, and don't even need to know that they were very easy for the accounting office to set up. Our favorite feature is one that we didn't even notice during the sales evaluation – the drill-down feature. Branch managers love the ability to see the financial statement for the entire branch, and then just right-click to see category details by department or program. As CFO, I love the ability to analyze the entire Association in this way. Our payroll data also easily imports in from ADP. This is one of the reasons we chose SGA. The support team at SGA is also top-notch. Most organizations brag about their support, but SGA follows through on their claims. We almost always get same-day solutions to any question or problem we have. I wouldn't hesitate to recommend SGA to another Y. I think anyone that chose SGA would be pleasantly surprised with the functionality and productivity gains they experience. Have them call me if they want more reasons to choose SGA!
Jaye Helm, CFO
Before we had SGA, our association was managing finances 4-6 weeks behind. We would distribute financial information about a month - two weeks into the following month. Our reaction time to trends and problems was way too long. SGA allowed managers at our branches to access up-to-date financial information during the month as we posted payroll, invoices and revenue 2-3 times weekly. In budgeting, branch managers used to put budget information into Excel and send to the corporate office to be entered. Now, budgets can be entered by the branch staff responsible for them. More calculations and information lines can be used to backup budgeted numbers. We have used the budget components and the forecasting tools to enhance the financial management of our association. Also, unlike before, a new employee can go into SGA and see the rationale and justification behind the budgeted numbers. SGA's customer service has been very beneficial. I can talk directly to the people that wrote the software when I have a problem. I would definitely recommend SGA to YMCA's and any other small to medium-sized business.
Michelle Kotas, VP of Finance, Controller
Converting to a new general ledger and accounts payable software package has been a top priority for the YMCA of Metropolitan Detroit in recent years, particularly as it became more and more obvious how inefficient and antiquated our current system was. After a very thorough and comprehensive RFP process, SGA stood out among all of the software vendors that we researched on a number of levels, including software functionality, customer service, and value and price. We were highly impressed with how well SGA met the unique needs of our YMCA. Having never gone through a software conversion and implementation, I was expecting an arduous, time intensive and complicated process. Working with SGA, the conversion and implementation went smoothly and efficiently. While there is a significant amount of time that is involved in any software conversion, the SGA team and the user-friendliness of the software helped to make the process as painless as possible. At the end of the project, we were both surprised and extremely pleased with how well things had gone. Now almost a year later, we continue to be pleased with SGA and the choice that we made. Staff throughout the Association have commented on how much they like SGA, the ease of use, and the quantity and quality of financial information available to them. The implementation of SGA has raised the financial awareness and acumen of staff across the Association. We particularly like the G/L Online Financial Statements tool, which allows us to create tailored financial statements and reports to meet a variety of management needs. The drilldown capabilities within Online Financial Statements provide powerful analytical tools for reviewing and understanding the financials. The budget development process has also improved dramatically with SGA, allowing for more realistic and accurate budget expectations. I look forward to our continued relationship with SGA and the ongoing improvements and software developments that will aid us in the fiscal management of the organization.
Renee Yost, CFO
I was expecting the conversion to follow suit with other conversions: time consuming and filled with trial and error, but it was nothing like that. It was very streamlined, and very little was required on our part which was nice. It didn't require a ton of training, and it was just a super-smooth process. I can't say enough good about it. Both my staff and I are very pleased with the end result. We had several things we wanted to implement in the new system in terms of paying some of our vendors though ACH, importing data, and several other things. They have all worked really smoothly. We are able to easily get things set up, and SGA was very helpful. We were able to check several of those things off our list that we had been talking about for a very long time. We're all very excited, and we're seeing a lot of things now that we both can do to streamline our processes and just make more efficient use of our time. I actually think that in real life, what we're getting from SGA is even better than what was presented to us before we signed on. I didn't need much training; SGA is laid out very well, and I think it just intuitively makes sense to finance/accounting types of people. It's simplistic and yet very powerful. The combination of those two things is just wonderful. There is probably more power and functionality there than we even realize. The thing that I have loved about SGA is that the customer service is just fabulous. I call. They answer the phone. We get to talk to somebody. We get our answers fixed. You just don't always get that with other software companies. I just love the personal service we get. SGA's willingness to help us transition was also just very helpful. I cannot say enough good things about SGA. I have become a very big fan of SGA Accounting.
Mick Sokolowski, CFO
As the CFO of the YMCA of Greater Fort Wayne, I had been thinking of and on about replacing our general ledger, accounts payable, and budgeting software. As many people do nowadays, I did an internet search and came across SGA. After looking at the list of YMCA clients, I decided to contact a few of them. Amazingly, not one of them had anything negative to say about the people at SGA or the product. After making the decision to go with SGA, the conversion process couldn't have been easier. They had us up and running in about 1 month. All of our data came over from our old system without a problem. I initially had some hesitancy since I made the decision later in the year knowing that budget season and end of the year reporting was fast approaching. The software is very user friendly. The functionality of the software is impressive, from the drill down capabilities of the Online Financial Report, to the report writer features, and to the budgeting features. All of the staff has been very happy with the change. Equally important has been the great customer support we get from them. Contrary to what sometimes happens after the sales has been made, there has been no drop off in the availability of help or timely response to any of our questions. If you are seriously looking at making a change to something better, I would highly recommend you give this a look.