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St. HOPE Extends NetSuite to HR, Payroll and Reaps the Rewards

Posted by Barney Beal, Content Director

When Joey Harris first came on to take over payroll administration at St. HOPE Community Schools, she had a conversation with the man who ran it before her.

“I sat down with him and asked his pain points,” she recalled during the SuiteConnect19 event in San Francisco in September. “He said ‘everything.’”

Fortunately for Harris, the nonprofit organization had just brought in a new human resources and payroll system to solve those very pain points.

Founded by former NBA All-Star and Sacramento mayor Kevin Johnson in 1989, St. HOPE began as a single, portable classroom that served as an afterschool program for Sacramento High School students. Today, it serves 1,800 students through five charter schools and manages residential properties as well as an Art and Cultural Center that includes a cafe, bookstore, barbershop, art gallery and 200-seat theater.

In 2017, St. HOPE implemented NetSuite to manage its financials, but the initial deployment was not the endpoint for the nonprofit. It has since added NetSuite Planning and Budgeting and SuitePeople HR and Payroll. St. Hope is still expanding its use of SuitePeople, but it currently manages about 150 employees in six different locations between two subsidiaries, ranging from full time to part time, hourly to salaried, on-call substitute teachers, interns, year-round workers and seasonal.

“The system just makes everything completely smooth,” said Julian Love, chief business officer.

It wasn’t always so smooth, however.

“When we decided we wanted to bring HR into NetSuite, I can’t describe what decade we were in,” Harris said.

Staff were tracking hours and pay rates on spreadsheets and scraps of paper. It took her predecessor 15 hours to run a payroll batch. Today it takes two hours.

“We could literally lose data,” Harris said. “Now with payroll with NetSuite there’s a lot of capability. My job is so much easier.”

For another operation, St. HOPE recently selected a different payroll system that integrated with the restaurant’s point of sale. Harris said she learned her lesson.

“A month in, I am spending so much time running a payroll batch for 80 employees,” she said. “When I do 180 [for the rest of St. HOPE], it takes me less than two hours. I got sold on the flashiness of the system.”

St. HOPE plans to move over to NetSuite Payroll when its existing contract is up. Indeed, having one system of record was one reason the organization chose NetSuite in the first place. In addition to adding SuitePeople HR and Payroll after its initial launch of financials, St. Hope has also added NetSuite Planning and Budgeting.

“That vision to have one system and everything integrate with it is holding true,” Love said. “We have that foundation and now we’re scaling.”

Watch how St. HOPE is transforming the Oak Park neighborhood.

Learn more about NetSuite’s human capital management software.