“Our systems have improved 1000%....”
It’s been said that it takes a village to raise a child, and since 1976 Children’s Village has been shaping the future of Philadelphia’s diverse population of young children through high-quality early education and academic enrichment programs. Located in Center City Philadelphia’s Chinatown community, Children’s Village is now serving a second generation of students, many of whom are in the same classrooms with the same teachers who taught their parents. More than 425 toddlers, preschoolers, and school-age (K-7) children are learning in a safe, child-centered environment that also offers nutritious on-site meals, support services for families, and a summer camp. The nonprofit won a national award for engaging diverse families.
Mary Graham, who has served as Executive Director since 1988, explains how she came to engage Your Part Time Controller (YPTC). “We were introduced to YPTC at a critical time in our organizational history,” she says. “Changes on the state level were affecting funding for early childhood learning, the organization was switching auditors, and the books were not in good order. We were spending a lot of time just trying to get our books together. I like numbers and finance, and I get a kick out of trying to predict revenues and expenses, but our books required work, to say the least.”
The new auditor suggested that Children’s Village’s situation was not complex enough to warrant hiring a chief financial officer and instead recommended YPTC. Helen Fox was assigned to them, and Graham and her board and staff could not have been more pleased.
“Over the years, we’ve gone from our auditors spending weeks and weeks conducting field work to get our books in order to now spending much less time,” she says. “The material YPTC prepares and presents to the board is provided to the auditors a few days later and there are rarely any significant revisions or audit notes,” Graham adds.
“Our systems have improved 1000%,” Graham says. “The resources we need to support our financial records have decreased. YPTC has raised its fees over the years we’ve been with them, however, because their work is so quick and efficient our overall annually spending with them has actually decreased. And they don’t try to drum up more business by forcing more work on us,” says Graham.
Graham appreciates YPTC’s stability and consistency. “Helen’s been with us from the beginning, so we don’t have to constantly explain to her the complicated world of child care funding. Her familiarity with our systems is a big help. YPTC understands the nature of nonprofit work,” says Graham.
Fox tracks everything and gives Graham and the board timely monthly statements with easily understood dashboards, which feature visuals and comparatives. “She educates the board and makes them more cognizant of their fiduciary responsibility. The only way for our Board members to fulfill that role is if they understand the numbers. Each year we get new board members and Helen always patiently explains the details to them,” says Graham.
Graham also appreciates that all of YPTC’s work is done on-site. “All of our paperwork is kept here, and if we have a question, it doesn’t take weeks to get an answer.”