How Charter Schools Benefit from Purchasing Software
At their best, charter schools become more than just classrooms. Schools are the glue that binds communities together.
With that purpose rooted firmly in its mission statement, Tennessee’s Gestalt Community Schools has grown to multiple campuses and supports students from kindergarten through grade 12. And Procurify is proud to support that vision.
We interviewed Rene Fumich, finance and accounting manager at Gestalt Community Schools to take a look at what Procurify has done for this growing chain of charter schools.
Starting with a mission
We’d like to start off with a question about your organization – can you describe the vision / mission / mandate of Gestalt Community Schools?
We started from something really small, and our vision has grown over the years. Now, there are four schools. At Gestalt Community Schools, we really focus on having our scholars be community ready, college ready and career ready. We really try to produce a well-rounded scholar and give them the opportunity to see things that they might now be exposed to in their particular areas of the city.
An old purchasing process, and outdated system
Can you illustrate what the purchasing process was like historically at the charter school? What was the process like before you adopted Procurify?
For the two years that I was here before Procurify, we used spreadsheets. We had a purchase order designed in Excel, and whoever was to make the purchase would fill the sheet out and we would just hope they had the latest version of the sheet. Also, we had varying degrees of proficiency with Excel, so in the event we had people who were challenged with Excel we might get a spreadsheet with incomplete information on it or, really, just anything you could imagine.
Once we got the sheet, it was put into a Dropbox folder by the person making the request. After that, I would go in and try to make it neater and put in the budget information. Finally, I would convert it to a PDF so it could be digitally signed by our CFO. After she signed it, it would go to another Dropbox folder. If we had time, we would email the person who made the request and tell them it was ready and place the order. As you can see, there was no automated process. It got done, but the timing was difficult.
The problems this caused
Can you distill what the problems were in that scenario?
Our purchasing process was really challenged by two issues – timing and knowledge of Excel spreadsheets. The purchasing process really depended a lot on my schedule, as well as our CFO’s schedule. We had to touch every single PO. As for the varying degrees of knowledge within Excel – if someone wasn’t comfortable, or had no knowledge of Excel, they could just destroy a spreadsheet.
Making the switch to Procurify
With that process as context, why did you decide to use software? Why did you choose Procurify?
Because of our growth, we were starting to issue more POs per year. And, I should mention, we have an in-house policy that every purchase of more than $100 dollars needs a PO. So, managing all of that was a real challenge. Dropbox, as well, had failed us a couple of times and we had lost a lot of important information.
From an audit standpoint, if we were requested to provide an approval chain for a PO, we may or may not have been able to provide it. I knew that we needed to do something different. When I started looking at Procurify, it was the notification process in the software they really caught me. I always know I have a PO waiting for me to approve. And, once I make an approval, everyone else involved also gets notified so the purchase could be made quickly. The whole communication aspect of Procurify really appeals to me. It is absolutely a time-saver.
I also like the consistency of the software – one PO looks like the next PO, which looks like the next PO.
Customer success with Procurify
Can you comment on Procurify’s customer success? Along with design, support is something we take very seriously. How has our support been for you?
I reached out not long ago, and spoke with Carol Huang (a member of Procurify’s Customer Success team) because there was something I wanted to add to Procurify. I hopped on a call with her and she showed me that what I was looking for was actually a recent update to the design. And, that’s been indicative of my experience the whole way through. Any time I’ve reached out, the response has been very quick and my questions have always been answered.
Imagine this: you are the star of the next Procurify commercial and you have to distill your experiences with Procurify into a short message. What would that message be?
My goal in my job is to support our schools, and simplify the work lives of all of our staff. Procurify has really helped provide us with success in that goal this year. It really has simplified our work life.
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