As the Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts transformed from a start-up to managing a new facility, it sought the technology to operate efficiently and practice sound financial management. The organization decided on a cloud-based implementation of Microsoft Dynamics GP, Microsoft Exchange Server, and Microsoft SharePoint Server. By moving to the cloud, the Kauffman Center saves more than US$600,000 in its three opening years and continues to bring memorable performing-arts experiences to the community, outsourcing ancillary functions. With Microsoft Dynamics GP, the organization streamlines the tasks of financial management, provides full financial transparency, and complies easily with complex reporting requirements. The Kauffman Center has also taken advantage of the cloud-based technology to help it pursue its sustainability initiative and prepare for future challenges.
The Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts in Kansas City, Missouri, which opened its doors to the public in October 2011, aims to enrich the lives of communities by offering extraordinary performing-arts experiences. The Kauffman Center’s new building quickly became iconic to its city and region and received praise for its dramatic, compelling design; excellent acoustics; and complete accessibility. A lean organization, consisting of 30 employees, manages the Kauffman Center’s business operations, focusing on the core mission of facilitating performances. The Kauffman Center outsources such functions as ticket sales, food and beverage sales, janitorial services, and IT to qualified vendors.
For several years before the opening of the new facility, the Kauffman Center ran as a start-up with a small staff. For accounting, a hosted instance of Intuit QuickBooks provided appropriate functionality. However, as opening day approached, the business was about to become more complex. Connie Silverman, who as the Controller at the Kauffman Center is also responsible for human resources and IT, explains, “We wanted to be ready with a robust financial management solution that would let us record and manage revenue, perform proper depreciations, manage fixed assets, and work effectively within a complex fund-accounting structure. We also needed the reporting capabilities to ensure our compliance, in terms of proper payment of taxes, grant management, bond financing, providing informational returns, and general transparency of our financial practices.”
Accessing the new financial management solution in the cloud continued to make best sense for the Kauffman Center’s business model. Silverman and her colleagues reviewed possible solutions to replace their current financial software.