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Birch Family Services: reducing time spent budgeting by 70% with Workday Adaptive Planning

The background

Birch Family Services initially managed its budgeting and forecasting functions using spreadsheets. The non-profit organization experienced the common issues faced with spreadsheets including manual data entry, data and formula errors, version control as well as many others.

Cognizant of the limitations of spreadsheets, the organization went through the process of identifying a cloud-based budgeting system that would meet its budgeting and forecasting needs. In addition, the finance team had been unhappy with their previous general ledger system both in terms of the way their accounts were set up and the software’s functionality. The team also wanted an ERP solution that would connect with their new budgeting system.

Alight has been an invaluable resource for my team and me over the years. I had such a positive and helpful experience with my first implementation, that I immediately called them when it was time to do my second, third, and fourth implementations.

Josh Scher, CFO
Birch Family Services

The approach

As it became clear to the leadership team at Birch Family Services that they would be able enhance their FP&A insights with a best-in-class solution, they began developing a strategy to move their core finance and accounting processes into the Cloud.

The organization’s CFO had deployed Workday Adaptive Planning at a previous organization in the past and had been extremely satisfied with the platform and the value it brought. With the shortcomings of the spreadsheet-based budgeting process Birch Family Services was using, the CFO quickly reached out to Alight about the new initiative and desire to replicate prior success with Workday Adaptive Planning.

The organization also partnered with Alight to deploy a new cloud-based ERP system which was fully integrated with Workday Adaptive Planning to give the organization connected insights across platforms.

At this point, I don’t see how any agency can operate without using a cloud-based budgeting and forecasting system. In the non-profit world, Workday Adaptive Planning has been able to address all my needs and challenges throughout the budget process. With Workday Adaptive Planning you’re getting an all-encompassing platform where you can manage every aspect and facet of the budget in one piece of software. Because it handles many financial functions for you, you don’t have to spend time on non-value-added work that a lot of people do.

Josh Scher, CFO
Birch Family Services

reduction in time spent on the budget process

The results

For the finance team at Birch Family Services, the benefits of using Workday Adaptive Planning were two-fold: “With Workday Adaptive Planning , you’re gaining two primary benefits. First, you’re getting back the time you would typically spend doing non-value-added work. Basically, you’re not spending time creating spreadsheets, then checking and rechecking to make sure Excel is right. You’re eliminating all that time, so you can focus on analysis.”

Josh continues, “The second key benefit is you have an accurate forecast at all times. Our budget process used to be between three to five months long and would take 90% of everyone’s time. Since our budget staff has implemented Workday Adaptive Planning, our budget process is two months and requires only about 20% of our time. The platform gives you the time and freedom to focus on other high-priority goals.”

Workday Adaptive Planning is a great product all around. We use Workday Adaptive Planning integrated with our cloud ERP finance system for pretty much all financial functions, including revenue, expense, planning, and budgeting.

Josh Scher, CFO
Birch Family Services

Client profile Industry:

  • Individual & Family Services Employees: 1,000+
  • Location: New York City, US


Company bio 

Founded in 1975, Birch Family Services is a leading provider of education, employment, and community support services for individuals with autism and developmental disabilities and their families in New York City.

Every year, the organization supports more than 2,000 people across 31 locations in Manhattan, Queens, Brooklyn, and the Bronx. From preschool to graduation, employment, housing and beyond, Birch Family Services provides fully integrated programs and services to support individuals in achieving their goals across their lifetime.

Why Alight?

Having been a Workday Services partner since 2008, we have completed more than 600+ Workday Adaptive Planning projects. Our award-winning team is focused on helping organizations increase profitability and business performance by providing exceptional financial, operational and systems expertise.

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