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Anyone using Banner Finance and Blackbaud's Raiser Edge?

  • 1.  Anyone using Banner Finance and Blackbaud's Raiser Edge?

    Posted 15 days ago

    Hello Community! Apologies in advance for the length of this post. 

    I'm looking for guidance from anyone whose school uses Banner Finance for their accounting system and The Raiser's Edge as their alumni/fundraising CRM. Our Controller has asked for resources from other schools related to their posting process as he and I work together to improve efficiency and accuracy between our two systems.

    I don't have enough accounting knowledge to best articulate my concerns. This is the first time I've ever worked with an organization that puts everything into a clearing account. There is also an unsustainable amount of manual work related to pledges, pledge payments, and non-cash contributions that there must be a better way. Below I've described these pain points: 


    All gifts to the university are posted twice: First to a gift clearing account and then 'moved' from gift clearing to its final designation--manually on the finance side--using a post file from RE to Banner. 
    Student Accounting Cashier posts transactions such as wires and ACH transfers, lockbox deposits, merchant account disbursements, etc. to a gift clearing FOAP. This is usually in summary. It's a single clearing FOAP (Fund Org Account Program) where all philanthropic revenue goes until it's 'cleared' out of the FOAP by a file from RE. 


    Meanwhile, my team processes gifts in Raiser's Edge sometimes before, and sometimes after she has posted the associated revenue to said gift clearing account.  All credit card gifts, for example, are entered into RE before the cashier posts the disbursement to the gift clearing FOAP. However, lockbox gifts are processed in RE after she has posted any given day's lockbox total as a single transaction. One of the main issues with this is that she is posting a total for the day: Lockbox 01/01/2022 $45,000 / where as we are posting that $45,000 as individual transactions. It's a very manual process to link up gift batches, much less individual transactions, to the totals she is posting to the gift clearing FOAP. 

    In The Raiser's Edge fund records have a GL Distributions tab. This is supposed to map gifts according to their purpose, type, etc. to the correct Debit/Credit accounts in Banner. ALL of our funds have the same Debit side: the gift clearing FOAP. By posting a file from RE to Banner using the gift clearing FOAP as the debit, it 'clears' the amount out of the gift clearing FOAP.... but then someone in finance has to move it to the actual Debit/Credit account. As long as I have been here (over 2 years) we have not been able to reconcile the two. We carry forward a balance of more than $100,000 FY to FY. Any time I have asked for the 'real' debit and credit accounts I am told no, we must use the gift clearing account. 

    I'd really love to skip the gift clearing account altogether - and map each fund to its proper debit/credit combination - and post gifts only once. 



    Everything is posted as cash (or as an out-right gift).
    Pledge payments are not posted as pledge payments. Rather, I provide a monthly report to the finance team and they review the pledge report and manually reduce the balance of the pledge in a spreadsheet. We aren't actually posting our pledges either -- the finance team keeps track of them in excel.

    Stock gifts are posted as cash. I am not sure how they keep track of gains, losses, and/or fees. I have to post stock gifts 'unsold' even though they have been sold. Otherwise this creates too many transactions in the file. This is another monthly report that I provide to finance so they can see which of the gifts that have been posted are not actually cash.  This is also an issue with the gift clearing situation because I am posting the transfer amount/the amount that the donor is credited for without also posting the net amount we receive. The cashier posts only the net amount to the gift clearing FOAP. These two will never match so I don't know how it gets 'cleared'. 



    Any guidance, advice, or resources would be greatly appreciated. 



    ------------------------------
    Cameron Alzubi
    Director, Gift Administration
    Illinois Institute of Technology
    calzubi@iit.edu
    giftadmin@iit.edu
    ------------------------------



  • 2.  RE: Anyone using Banner Finance and Blackbaud's Raiser Edge?

    Posted 12 days ago
    Hi Cameron,

    This sounds like a very challenging situation. Tying daily deposit batch totals to disconnected gift entry line-item batches is a prescription for a never-ending headache. Typically, for RE users, deposit batches are aligned with gift entry batches, so there is no guesswork as to which transaction was batched where on either the deposit or gift-entry side. Otherwise it's nearly impossible to untangle. The FOAP may be contributing to some problems, but I think a solution starts with transactions getting grouped, logged individually, and shared with your office so your batches match. It seems likely that this work is being done - surely the deposits are itemized! - but just not getting over to you to mirror. Regarding transactions that you enter before posting happens, eg CCs, the same logic holds, but in reverse. Both sides have to agree on what the control date will be, and do daily batches of the same set of transactions.

    Thank you,
    Isaac Shalev
    Data Strategy Expert
    Sage70, Inc.
    (917) 859-0151
    isaac@sage70.com

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