Every Nation Churches and Ministries is a Tennessee nonprofit working to establish socially responsible churches and campus ministries in every nation, with a diverse global team of staff and missionaries who travel frequently.
Before Center: Costly and Complicated
Every Nation used American Express corporate cards for many years. The program was pricey—around $100 per card each year—but it still took a huge amount of work for employees to track and submit expenses and for finance to reconcile everything manually. Processing travel expenses through payroll meant extra work for employees to deduct out-of-pocket expenses from their taxes and sometimes even bumped them into a higher tax bracket.
Every Nation’s CFO, Bill Lloyd, tuned into a Center webinar and felt Center would give them all the functionality they needed without the extra cost.
When the 2017 Tax Cuts and Jobs Act changed the rules for non-reimbursable expenses, Every Nation needed a new solution. They tried the Wells Fargo card program with “free” expense software for a couple of years but found it difficult to use and impossible to customize to their accounting and workflows. Staff usage (and compliance) never took off, and promised improvements never materialized. The team looked at specialized expense management software, but $10K/year was too much to spend.
One Week to a Customized Center Solution
Like many nonprofits, the organization has a complex accounting structure that needs to address fund accounting and track spend by project and subproject. The Center team worked closely with Every Nation to customize everything and roll out the new system in about a week. The team can now easily export and import Center data to their GL in Microsoft Dynamics.
Every Nation had previously issued cards only to travelers, but they took advantage of Center’s unlimited free cards to set up shared purchasing cards (P-cards) for recurring charges, department expenses, and purchases like office supplies and lunches.
“With Center, there’s no rush to close a statement at the end of the month. It’s more like a stream flowing.” Bill Lloyd, CFO
The Results: Broad Adoption and Real-Time Visibility
Center now provides an immediate, up-to-the-minute view on spend by any project, grant, region, department, or category. By moving a significant amount of spend from the AP process to P-cards they’re cutting far fewer checks, and the finance team no longer needs to wait a month or more for expense reports to be filed or to know where they stand. It’s easy to add new projects or subprojects so Center always matches their accounting structure.
“Center gives me amazing, instant transparency into our spend—by department, by spending area, by expense type.”
Compared to previous things they’d tried, many more missionaries at Every Nation have embraced Center and use the combined corporate card and expense software regularly, with rave reviews. The Center mobile app prompts team members to snap photos of receipts right away, which means no more crumpled or lost receipts and simplified prep for the yearly audit. The accounting team uses Center’s Dynamic Approvals to automatically approve in-policy expenses and route others to the right reviewers based on criteria like amount, project, or purpose—and improved expense compliance means reduced risk. Even better, the switch to Center has helped employees see finance and accounting in a completely new light instead of as the rule keepers or even the “bad guys” of the organization.
“Moving to Center was a big win for us. I’ve actually had people say, ‘This is the best thing you guys have ever done.”
Correcting errors had previously been so cumbersome that the accounting team usually took care of it, but Center’s built-in notifications make it easy for team members to fix mistakes and develop a stronger shared understanding of the policies over time.
“If we’re making the corrections for the staff, they’re never learning to do the right thing. Now we’re raising the water level in the whole organization by helping them learn.”
Every Nation also appreciates that Center is constantly improving based on customer feedback and has a clear roadmap for the future.
“Center’s just been a great partner for us. They are always listening to their customers and improving the product. Every week or month or so, something new comes out.”