Top Five Financial Edge NXT Capabilities

March 18, 2021

Hello, I’m going to share with you today five of the top capabilities of Financial Edge NXT. We could certainly spend much more time in the system, but hopefully today you will see some exciting areas of functionality that could bring efficiencies into your school.  

You are seeing Blackbaud.com just to illustrate that we have our solutions with us wherever we have the internet. They are available on any device and browser and are completely mobile responsive. Some of the areas we will cover today could certainly be accessed on a smartphone, just as an example. It is like having a board report in your pocket at all times!  

For our time together today, we are going to start off with Expense Management, spend some time with Dashboards and Reporting, and we will end with showing you some automation all around Journal Entries that will show you how to quickly get your financial data into Financial Edge NXT, for real time reporting and up to date financials. 

Expense Management 

Let us get started with Expense Management. Just to set the stage, this is an area of Financial Edge NXT that you can give access to, without giving access to anything else in the system. You can give a slice of the Financial Edge NXT pie, without sharing anything else! This is intended for folks outside the Business Office for example, giving them a workspace to manage their expense activity, take care of gathering the details and documentation, and have it flow automatically into Accounts Payable for final review.  

On the left you see credit card transactions. Keep in mind, we would have already set up the credit card accounts in the system, indicating who holds those cards, and established the credit card feed. That feed then populates specific cardholder’s transactions for their review. When they click on, ‘work with my charges’, this gives them the space to provide the Business Office with the transaction specifics and the functionality to electronically attach credit card receipts. They can do this as often as they would like, throughout the month, with out the need to wait for an end of month expense report. In this process, you can accommodate approval processes, which creates an audit trail for you in the system. Once transactions are approved, they naturally flow into Accounts Payable for final review, which then you would match those transactions to your credit card bill and get that paid in a timely and accurate process.  

One the right side of Expense Management is an area called ‘My invoice requests’. Several ideas to keep in mind here, as you think through some of your Accounts Payable workflows, many of which may be very paper heavy and manual in nature. Within invoice requests this can be traditionally speaking with purchases made with vendors and invoices received that need to get paid. This can also accommodate reimbursement processes and the check request forms your school may have. When you click to add a ‘New request’ you are taken to a similar feeling screen as on the credit card side, this is intentional, we have built a simple and intuitive system for the non-financial users to use and ultimately help the Business Office. The main difference on this side of Expense Management, is once an invoice request is submitted and approved, it then flows in to Accounts Payable as an invoice record, all set up for your review, but with everything already attached and filled out. 

Expense Management has the capability to offer a lot of efficiencies around Accounts Payable. It essentially shifts the responsibility to the end users making purchases, versus always with the Business Office to chase down details and documentation and physical signatures of approval.  

Analysis Dashboard 

Our next area for review is our Analysis area, this is where we will find a couple dozen dashboards, all of which come with the system from day one! There are several areas and topics of information within the different dashboards, and keep in mind, you could have view only users in Financial Edge NXT. This is a great opportunity for all users, depending on their security rights, to access dynamic, up-to-date information (without always having to reach out to the Business Office staff members with their questions…!).  

Today we are going to explore one of our dashboards, and since we were just talking about Accounts Payable, I have selected an Accounts Payable dashboard to show you. With dashboards you do have filter options at the top, these will vary, depending on the areas of data being represented on the dashboard. You also are going to have more visual representations of your data with dashboards. And additionally, you have drill down access to your data, all at your fingertips. An example, I am hovering over the graphic showing me ‘Invoices by payment status’. As I explore that information, each segment of the graphic is lighting up for me, this is the system letting me know I can drill in for additional details. I am going to select the ‘Pending’ segment and now you can see I get a table of those pending invoices. If I want to take it one step more, I can drill into any one of those invoices and access the live invoice record. What I essentially did is transition from the Analysis-Dashboards area of the system, all the way into Accounts Payable, and to a specific Invoice record. Pretty seamless. That is how all areas of Financial Edge NXT work, we have intentionally made it very easy to move around in the system, always keeping your data at your fingertips! 

Reporting 

Along with dashboards, we also have all the traditional accounting reports you would expect to have, these too come with the system from day one! While we are here, I also want to point out several efficiencies that will make your life easier. Along with all the reports that would exist in your live environment, we have given you several options to get more quickly to the reports that you as a user run on a regular basis (top three tabs: Recently run; Frequently run; Favorites).  

You can also run multiple reports, all at the same time, and the entire system remains available to you to keep working. When you experience the opposite of that, you know of the pain, when you are left sitting there watching your system think, while you are at a standstill. We set out to make that better!  

Here is just one example of a budgeting report. I have a lot of options when working with the canned reports that come with Financial Edge NXT. Many different filters and parameters can be applied to reports, to make them as customized as you need. Additionally, once you get your reports where you want them to be, you can certainly print them from the system or export them. You can export all reports as Word, Excel or pdf documents.  

And one extra bonus for today…if you export reports and share them with users of Financial Edge NXT, they can drill into the system live for additional details. Drill down functionality is a common thread throughout the system, which as I have mentioned, keeps your data at your fingertips! You can see I am looking at this report from within Excel, but as I hover over ‘Contributions Default’ you can see that my cursor changes to a hand, this is the system letting me know I can drill into that account directly from the report. Just to be clear, a security element is at play here, this is specific to users who have been access to Financial Edge NXT. Rest assured, this does not open the system up to just anyone. You always have control of security settings.  

General Ledger  

We are rounding out our time together as we land on the General Ledger, Journal Entry area of Financial Edge NXT. We could of course come into this area and start adding a journal entry. But what I wanted to show you would be more opportunities to have some automation and certainly reduce manual data entry, even importing in this case as well!  

My first example involves our Microsoft Excel Add-In feature. What I am showing you is quite simply a payroll journal entry. May not seem exciting on the surface, but it becomes quite interesting when I show you how this was created. And keep in mind, this is not limited to payroll information, it is for any information you need to get into the Financial Edge NXT system for posting to the General Ledger! I just happen to have a payroll example because everyone does payroll. The cool thing about this journal entry (Batch #3226), it was not created in the system, and I did not even have to mess with an import. It all started in Excel. For this scenario, I have downloaded my payroll information and I now need to get it into Financial Edge NXT. With our partnership with Microsoft, I have a couple extra buttons in Excel, and my favorite one is ‘Create Journal Entry Batch’. When I click on that it prompts me to sign into Financial Edge NXT from Excel, I need to give access for the two systems to connect. Once I do that, it immediately connects live to my database and automatically maps my data for me. In that very quick process, it confirms all the data is mapping to active and correct areas of my GL distribution. Once that is good, I am ready to submit this into the system. It will then automatically create my Journal Entry for me. It arrives in an open/pending status, that is important, as it gives me the opportunity to review the information from within the system before I post. And I always like to take it one step further, attachments! This too is an area that is throughout the system. We now can go as paperless as we would like, keeping history and documentation live in the system for future reference (or for audit season of course!). In this example, I will certainly attach the spreadsheet we were just reviewing, I just drag and drop it into the system, and it now lives on the journal entry record.  

Two other journal entries I wanted to share with you. The first is one created from the integration with the Raiser’s Edge NXT (Batch #3099). This is powerful. It gives you the ability to not only integrate your fundraising and accounting solutions, but it also helps to keep your staff integrated and on the same page. This journal entry was all initiated in Raiser’s Edge NXT, where our Advancement staff captures contributions and donor intent. Once they batch those contributions, we can push them into Financial Edge NXT, which creates an open/pending journal entry like this one, all ready for review and posting. The days of double entry and human error are a thing of the past. We also create the reality of becoming timelier with our gift entry, bank reconciliation, and ultimately reporting. 

And last, but certainly not least, I have a SmartTuition (Batch #2618) journal entry. This too was automatically created through the integration between Financial Edge NXT and our Tuition Management solution. We can keep all our tuition details up to date, family balances current, and day-to-day transactions accurate, with all that detail naturally flowing into Financial Edge NXT for posting.  

At the end of the day, when you have the additional solutions of Raiser’s Edge NXT and Tuition Management, they act as sub-ledgers to Financial Edge NXT. This allows for real time data collection and an ease with financial reporting.   

Well, that was quick, certainly giving you a high-level view of some of my favorite Financial Edge NXT capabilities. There is so much more to our true fund accounting solution. If this time together has made you curious, please reach out, we would be happy to provide a deeper dive demo into the power of Financial Edge NXT. Thank you for your time!

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