Transforming Grant Compliance Auditing with Power Platform
Moss Adams LLP, a leading public accounting firm headquartered in Seattle, Washington, offers a comprehensive range of accounting, tax, and consulting services to public and private middle-market enterprises. With a legacy dating back to 1913, Moss Adams is ranked among the 15 largest accounting firms in the United States, providing specialized grant compliance services to large foundations and non-profits.
Moss Adams, in their role as a compliance manager for non-profit grants, was encountering substantial inefficiencies due to manual auditing methods. Their existing process was heavily reliant on a combination of email correspondence, tracking through Smartsheet, and financial reporting via Excel spreadsheets. This led to a labour-intensive workflow, which required significant attention to detail, but also introduced a lot of opportunity for human error. For example, sending notification emails, analyzing and reviewing reports, troubleshooting data entry errors, following up on missing documentation, answering partner questions, and generating compliance packets were all tasks steeped in manual labor.
A review revealed that over an 18-month timeline, the team dedicated more than 22,000 hours to report reviews alone. This underscored the challenge faced by Moss Adams; the existing process was not only inefficient but also resulted in a considerable financial burden. This was a great opportunity to leverage Power Platform automation capabilities to introduce change to this process and deliver value to the client.
Setting a Goal
Moss Adams’ primary goal was to streamline the auditing process, specifically reducing the time it took for auditors to process individual financial reports. The aim was to transform a process that previously took hours into an efficient operation that could be completed in around 10 minutes per report.
Lantern collaborated with Moss Adams to implement a cutting-edge solution using Microsoft’s Power Platform. This new system replaced the Smartsheet process with a canvas app for the auditing process and a Power Pages portal for subrecipient financial report submissions. The solution incorporated Power Automate workflows, Dataverse, Azure B2C, dataflows, adaptive cards, and Power BI for a comprehensive and streamlined approach.
The project was executed through agile development, breaking down the implementation into phases—MVP, Phase 1, and Phase 2—allowing for iterative improvements based on user feedback. Design sessions were integral in shaping the solution, involving the collaboration of Moss Adams’ business requirements with Lantern’s business analyst and solution architect.
Working through Challenges
A critical challenge was creating a fully indented financial report in PowerApps and establishing the necessary data hierarchies. The team addressed this through design sessions, iterative development, and adapting the solution to evolving business requirements. The project also faced the pressure of a tight deadline, but successful collaboration and phased development ensured the timely delivery of the MVP within three months.
The project significantly impacted Moss Adams, reducing the time and effort required for auditors to review and sign off on individual financial reports from hours to just 10 minutes. This not only saved considerable labor costs but also enabled Moss Adams to scale its Grant compliance service line and cater to new clients effectively. Subsequent analysis of the time savings over 18 months shows total manual hours reduced to 6,475 from 22,568, and report modifications in that time period went from 368 to 0. Modernizing the reporting eliminated the need for report modifications.
End users, in this case, the auditors, experienced a remarkable reduction in labor required to process reports. The estimated savings in labor costs exceeded a million dollars, underscoring the tangible value delivered by the solution.
This story exemplifies how innovative implementation of Power Platform can revolutionize traditional auditing processes, bringing efficiency, scalability, and substantial cost savings to a business. The successful integration of Power Pages and the Canvas App not only met Moss Adams’ immediate needs but also exposed Lantern to new possibilities in financial reporting integration. This case story showcases the transformative power of technology in optimizing business operations and fostering growth.
Don’t let outdated processes hold you back. Lantern can help you innovate with Power Platform – your pathway to a more agile, productive, and cost-efficient future.
Over an 18-month period to October 2023
- Number of Users Impacted: Over 500
- Monthly savings in hours: 894
- Monthly value of FTE time saved: $295,029
- Total value of FTE time saved to date: $5,310,525