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Implementing Financial Tracking with a Financial Superstar

Staff, student, and department financial trainings: Complete ✅

As SBVTC strives for financial self-sustainability, one of our long-standing to-do tasks has been implementing a consistent financial tracking system that could unite the whole school. You can imagine that this isn’t an easy lift (probably why it’s been outstanding for a while), and requires a lot of planning. We were initially looking at Intuit Quickbooks as a possible solution, but a lack of banking integration crushed that possibility. A new idea was needed, and Grace Kamholz provided the solution.

For several months leading up to the trip, Grace developed an initial workbook in Excel that might allow the school to standardize its efforts. It included summary sheets for each department and a simple form for entering data related to the various initiatives. But it needed testing, iterating, and refining.

Since we arrived in Uganda, Grace has tirelessly pushed this project ahead, design thinking and innovating through every step. She has helped the various school areas develop custom data entry forms and sat with each department to get them started on daily tracking. I think she’s on version 10 of the initial workbook, which reflects new additions to the individual department summaries, customized permissions for staff, increased granularity for data analysis, redesigned macros, and more – she has all but recreated Quickbooks by herself.

Over the course of a week she patiently went through the workbook with the different departments to explain how it worked and what they need to know to use it themselves. And finally, she launched her new system this past week for all departments, with enough time left in the trip to help troubleshoot any issues through the first round of data entries.

But she didn’t stop there…

Grace created a separate tracking workbook just for the farm so input, maintenance, harvesting, and production costs could be evaluated from year to year. She also led personal finance lessons for the students, where she taught basic concepts around responsible money management, budget creation, long-term consistency, return on investment, and debt avoidance. While not fully comprehensive of business finance, her trainings focused on ideas that are relevant to the students right now, as well as post-graduation, when many of them will be returning home to develop their own micro-enterprises.

It’s been impressive to see Grace work through it all, and I’m grateful she’ll be able to keep helping us for the next couple months!

Blog post written by Quin Gallagher, SBVTC Program Manager


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