In 1943, facing the destruction and mortality of World War II, a group of Christian pastors gathered to pray for peace. Their discussion afterwards inspired them to form the Conservative Baptist Foreign Mission Society to educate others about Christianity and provide aid to people facing hardship. This organization would later become World Venture. A 75-year-old Christian mission agency, World Venture’s work is centered around advocacy and the spearheading of humanitarian efforts for over 500 families in 65 countries worldwide.
Driven by Faith
Inspired by Christian values, World Venture brings together a wide range of perspectives and understanding to assess and solve key issues affecting individual communities. As Vice President of Finance and Administration John Benza relates, missionaries become totally immersed in the communities they’re serving. Improving living conditions requires a holistic view of each individual situation. This necessitates a strong understanding of a community’s history and environment. By understanding the real-world struggles the people face, mission workers are able to construct the actionable plans for recovery and apply their own expertise to solve these problems.
John related that World Venture missions encompass agricultural development, education, hospital development, environmental restoration, and more. In Madagascar, a project is being undertaken to restore the environment which is suffering from massive deforestation. From a Christian perspective, this not only protects physical creation but also helps the people facing hardships directly attributed to environment loss. Due to a massive civil war, Uganda went from an agricultural epicenter in Africa to relying heavily on imported food. World Venture is constructing a school to provide children with a well-rounded education, in addition to teaching key agricultural techniques to reinvigorate the country’s farming.
Migration to IT Innovation
In addition to the physical work and logistics, John realized the need for tools and systems to coordinate their massive operations. Well coordinated IT systems and strong accounting processes are very much the oil of World Venture’s machine.
Originally, World Venture relied on a 40-year-old accounting system that simply couldn’t adapt to the current needs of their growing operation and the fast-paced modern environment. The system was slow, used a lot of data, and was difficult to use in conjunction with other functions. They recognized the need to simplify and streamline their IT structure, which led them to switch to Salesforce as a CRM and migrate their finances to Accounting Seed.
They started by implementing new processes in Accounting Seed and Salesforce while working parallel with the legacy system simultaneously in order to migrate gradually. Incorporating the core functionalities bit-by-bit made the system come together clearly and smoothly. Once core features were in place, the customizable features of the Accounting Seed software were immediately put to use.
A Need for Scalable, Customizable Operations
World Venture processes over 200,000 donations and cash receipts through Accounting Seed each year, achieving $35M a year in revenue. The funding is then dispersed to all of the efforts abroad through wire transfers. All this financial information has to be customized according to individual families, needs, and project specifications. The flexibility of Accounting Seed’s system made this possible while also reducing the need for the manual data entry which was heavily required by the older system. Accounting Seed reduced the processing time of each receipt from 3.5 minutes to a mere 19 seconds, giving all parties a real-time view of the finances in question. These expedited accounting functions, along with Accounting Seed’s mobile features and security, also gives peace of mind to all the people involved in the various missions. Additionally, Accounting seed’s new data archiving benefits, Big Objects, has had a major effect in reducing the company’s need for data storage. So far, just over seven years of data were archived with an 8% reduction of storage utilization – this is from just one year’s use of the feature.
A Web Of Support
John related that there are numerous factors in mission work that people usually don’t consider such as supplies inventory and travel expenses. All these factors use money and all of them, while different, need to be managed in a way that the reporting is consistent and accurate. World Venture uses several other programs within Salesforce to manage its operations. Because Accounting Seed was built for Salesforce, it can be easily linked with other vital software including AssetOptics, Case Management, Expensify, and others needed to manage specific functions. As World Venture migrated to Accounting Seed, these other systems were merged into the whole accounting cycle.
Accounting Seed’s process re-engineering allowed these solutions to consolidate all their data in a single home, fluidly bridging the finances into a united accounting system. This boosted the accuracy of the data altogether, ensuring the lines of information stayed within Salesforce while not becoming constricted by any single program. With Accounting seed, World venture built a unique management system that functioned as a literal web of support for the multiple needs of its missions.