Smithsonian Early Enrichment Center
"I know I've gotten my money's worth..."
The Smithsonian Early Enrichment Center (SEEC) may be the best-kept secret in Washington. “Nobody knows we’re here,” says Dr. Kimberlee Kiehl, Executive Director. The Center, a separately incorporated 501(c)3 housed at the Smithsonian Institution, is a model laboratory school with a museum-based curriculum that addresses the Smithsonian mandate for sharing knowledge. Founded in 1988, SEEC soon became much more than a place that cared for the children of Smithsonian employees.
SEEC believes that museums should be an integral part of early learning for every family and in every community. SEEC invites children to be extraordinary, to wonder, and to explore the world around them; it teaches them to search for knowledge rather than simply be fed information. SEEC believes that education happens best when it moves outside the walls of a classroom and into the surrounding community. The SEEC model has become a national resource for high-quality early education and programming for young children in museums and has been shared with thousands of educators and museum professionals around the U.S. and abroad.
When Kiehl arrived in 2012, some accounting processes were not as tight as she was used to. “I didn’t always know exactly where the numbers were and that was disconcerting,” she says.
A new auditor confirmed Kiehl’s opinion. “Things were really loose in some areas and the new auditor brought many issues to light.” The board of directors looked at a lot of options including bringing the controller function in-house.
But after a personal presentation by YPTC President and Founder Eric Fraint, SEEC opted to engage Your Part-Time Controller. “I liked them for a couple of reasons. They come here and that’s lovely. In the past there were drop-offs and pick-ups of information and we had to send things out. Now, YPTC Associate Jennifer Altrudo comes here, she talks to us, and we work through it.
“I just loved the way Eric talked about reporting. I love that I now get reports. I know exactly who the money went to and when it went out. Budgeting for the next year is so much easier!
“I love that I’m getting only however many hours I need. It may be more than I paid under my old contract but I know that I’m only paying for work that’s getting done. If Jennifer gets done early on a Friday she leaves. I know I’ve gotten my money’s worth. We operate on a tight budget and that’s important to me,” she says.
“I like the structure of the way they’re set up. They’re on-site here with us. Because we’re so small, with other firms they would propose sending someone who was third-string and we wouldn’t get very good service. But Eric was really personable. He saw me personally and talked me through the reports personally and we have managers come to talk with us as well. They’re great partners.
“YPTC has brought me peace of mind and that’s been great!” she adds. “You have changed my life as I feel like I actually know where the money is and where it is going now. Thank you!”