First Nation grows new financial management capacity with ERP solution

Mattagami First Nation

an open laptop with a dashboard of charts and graphs displayed on the screen.

Located in northern Ontario, Mattagami First Nation is a small community of approximately 200 people with a total membership of about 600.

Services provided

  • Enterprise resource planning
  • ERP solution
  • Implementation
  • Digital strategy

The Nation employs 60 people and runs its own elementary school, as well as a state-of-the-art Community Complex that houses its administration offices. With the goal of obtaining First Nations Financial Management Board certification, Mattagami First Nation turned to MNP to help improve its outdated financial management software.

The challenge

Mattagami First Nation’s finance department had been using Sage 300 as its accounting solution, but the technology was outdated and younger staff members found it difficult to navigate. There were also glitches in the system that their implementation partner couldn’t solve. After sharing that they planned to upgrade their solution, the Nation’s Economic Development Corporation, who had success with QuickBooks in the past, introduced the finance department to MNP to explore how they could switch to QuickBooks, too.

The Nation talked to MNP, explaining that they needed real-time information and the ability to stay up-to-date with bookkeeping. They also wanted eight managers to have more independence over their budgets and spending. With the current system, the managers had to wait for reports from a finance department team member, causing a severe bottleneck as the whole organization was delayed in decision-making. Unfortunately, these were requirements that QuickBooks wasn’t robust enough to satisfy.

After a more in-depth discovery phase, the MNP Digital team proposed Sage Intacct as the right ERP solution for the Nation. The proposal was given to Chief and Council, who approved moving to the new platform.

The approach

Over three months, MNP Digital helped the four-person finance department transition to Sage Intacct. MNP followed its standard staged process, first identifying and documenting system requirements and then building and implementing a system that met the specific needs of the Nation.

Before going live, MNP Digital put the system through rigorous testing, ensuring it would meet not only the day-to-day data entry requirements, but also long-term Indigenous Services Canada reporting. In addition to the implementation, the MNP Digital team assisted with customizing dashboards, giving the finance team instant access to real-time information so they could make faster data-driven decisions. They also provided training and support to help the Nation get up to speed with the new system.

The next step for the MNP Digital team will be providing additional hands-on training to the Nation’s department managers so they don’t have to wait for finance to provide reports. They’ll then have the ability to access their departments’ financial information independently so they can use it for reporting and proposals, as well as budgeting.

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It's much easier to use than our former platform; it’s more consistent, and it’s more organized. The dashboards and checklists are very valuable as well.

– Juanita Luke, Executive Director, Mattagami First Nation

The result

The finance team finds Sage Intacct much easier to use and they’re not experiencing the ongoing system glitches they had with Sage 300. The Nation also decided to take part in MNP’s Customer Success Program, which includes monthly meetings to further customize the software, answer questions, and provide one-on-one coaching. One result of these meetings has been the addition of checklists to the dashboard, so everyone knows what needs to be done, which has been a huge boost for team productivity.

Through the Customer Success Program, Mattagami First Nation will be able to keep Sage Intacct working to satisfy its needs and now have a reliable partner in place to assist as they grow with the solution.

The new system also allows for easy changes and filtering when searching. More importantly, it will help the finance team achieve its goal of spreading financial information across the Nation more quickly and easily. Ultimately, the new ERP system will help the Nation obtain First Nations Financial Management Board certification, their main strategic objective outlined before the engagement, which gives members and other stakeholders confidence that the Nation is well-run, transparent, and accountable.

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Our partnership with MNP is the best decision we've made financially. The support we're receiving is going to help us reach our main goal of becoming certified through the First Nation Financial Management Board. This is going to help tremendously.

– Juanita Luke, Executive Director, Mattagami First Nation

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