The Council for International Educational Exchange, which organises international work and study programmes, has replaced its legacy applications based at its eight global locations with standard SunSystems accounting and business management software.
The council says it has improved information visibility and decision-support processes as it continues to expand student numbers undertaking work and study exchange programmes throughout the world.
Since 1947, the CIEE has been a world leader in international work and study opportunities enabling students, graduates and professionals to work, teach or volunteer in countries around the globe.
The organisation currently serves more than 25,000 students annually.
Before the implementation of SunSystems' package, the financial management of the organisation had been handled locally, resulting in the implementation of different financial and accounting systems in the eight locations globally. The resulting different programme codes and methods of reporting made central consolidation of financial information difficult to achieve.
As Brooke Squire, vice-president of the CIEE, explains, "To expand the businesses globally and ensure consistent programme quality across all the regions, the CIEE needed to easily reconcile financial information centrally."
To achieve this goal, the council decided to replace the legacy solutions with one standard solution globally. "We wanted a financial solution with one chart of accounts to support financial consolidation," Squire says.
"The system also had to be designed and proven for multinational business, in terms of multi-currency and lingual support and meeting local regulations."
Having conducted an extensive review of the financial accounting software market, the CIEE created a shortlist of three products. Further assessment led to the choice of SunSystems. "It was the most proven multinational system with many implementations globally and the company has a good development reputation," Squire says.
The CIEE then opted to work with financial systems reseller Eclipse Computing on the global roll-out. "At the time we had a sister company, Council Travel, that had also purchased SunSystems and successfully used Eclipse for the implementation which gave us a lot of confidence. In addition, Eclipse offered support across our eight offices which was very important," says Squire.
Eclipse advised the CIEE to deploy SunSystems on NT, SQL Server and Windows 2000 with individual servers in each location. For consolidation purposes, on a monthly basis, each international office would transmit a summary file to head-office for further analysis and reporting.
"As a non-profit organisation, good central information is worth its weight in gold," Squire says.