FINANCIAL REPORTING & FINANCIAL CONSOLIDATION CASE STUDY - PROFESSIONAL SPORTS

How Secure Data and Reliable Reports Are Helping the Arizona Cardinals Drive Rapid Business Growth
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Snapshot: Arizona Cardinals

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Oldest franchise in the National Football League, originally founded in 1898
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Central finance team tackles all aspects of day-to-day accounting and financial reporting
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Integrations: Microsoft Dynamics GP for ERP

 

“We trust that our data is secure. We trust that our data is where it’s supposed to be. Trust that everything we pull out is working properly.”
Christine Harms
Controller, Arizona Cardinals
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The Arizona Cardinals Before Vena

While football is the first thing that comes to mind when thinking about the Arizona Cardinals, the organization’s businesses encompass much more than club operations. Besides the club, the Arizona Cardinals’ finance organization, led by Senior Director of Finance Christine Harms, also manages revenue and expenses for an array of complementary businesses.

With unique structures, business models and reporting systems for each business unit and department, the Arizona Cardinals’ finance team searched for a solution that would ease a reporting workflow that was cumbersome and time consuming. The team wanted to align with a vendor it could rely on beyond the initial training period and that could accommodate and adapt with a rapidly expanding business.

“We’re evolving,” Christine says. “We’re growing in complementary businesses to support football. We’re growing in new locations for our other businesses, and it’s just getting bigger and bigger.”

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The Vena Solution

A customer since 2019, the Arizona Cardinals’ finance organization originally adopted its Vena solution to consolidate budgeting and account reconciliation into one central source of truth, replacing legacy solutions. Since then, Vena has enabled the Cardinals to not only better manage its core business units’ financials, but to expand as well—most recently with the addition of a Boeing 777 for team game travel. 

“The wonderful thing about Vena is that I can add a new company and it rolls up into a parent and the reports are already there,” Christine says of the ease of consolidating new business units or revenue streams into the reporting system the Cardinals rely on for insight into the business. 

Christine says Vena also makes it easy to add or update templates and reports to keep improving the tools finance uses to gain detailed insight into the organization’s operations. For example, the organization is transitioning to a new point of sale (POS) system, myVenue, which will require a dedicated team to ensure that its API can transmit data to Vena for uninterrupted reporting. Christine says that the Vena team is working closely with finance to design a new workflow that allows the organization to report revenue consistent with its previous POS system.

The Arizona Cardinals With Vena

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Manages complex business scenarios, with trust in secure data and effective reporting
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Transitioning to new ERP and POS systems, working closely with Vena
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Rapidly growing complementary businesses to support club operations
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The Arizona Cardinals With Vena and Their Future Plans

Christine and her team continue to be impressed with the attentiveness of the Vena team. 

“They did an excellent job in training us, but they also do an excellent job of reaching out to us when we’ve been a little quiet to make sure everything is going OK.” She compared this approach to other vendors, who often disappear between onboarding and renewal time. 

“It feels like we have a whole expert team to guide us as we continue to grow,” Christine says. “Vena is not just our vendor but our partner. We are a family-owned business and we feel like we are part of the Vena family.” 

This close collaboration has led the team to expand its use of Vena beyond the finance group. 

“We’ve started looking at some of Vena’s pre-configured templates for account reconciliations so we can transition from the custom ones we’ve built to pre-configured ones because they present the information in a more attractive way,” Christine says. “As you get bigger, you want everything to have that pleasing aspect to it and know that the data behind it is strong.” 

And Christine has big plans. Her team is getting ready for Super Bowl LVII, which the Cardinals will host at State Farm Stadium in 2023. They will work closely with the NFL and the host committee to provide necessary data as the game approaches.

“We just continue to look at different ways of using Vena, not just for the financial tools that we traditionally always have, but those extra things that can help us with daily workflow,” Christine explains.

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Looking further ahead, the Arizona Cardinals—which has committed to a long-term, five-year partnership with Vena—plan to transition to a new ERP system. Vena will have a strong influence over which solution the Arizona Cardinals select, as Christine says the team wants to ensure a seamless migration. 

“Vena has never said it could do something and then couldn’t do it,” Christine says. “Everything that Vena could provide has met every piece of my imagination—and I have a big imagination! Vena is able to address every scenario in my head, which can be complex because you’re dealing with data coming from multiple sources.” 

The Cardinals’ level of trust in its Vena deployment is similarly strong. “We trust that our data is secure,” Christine says. “We trust that our data is where it’s supposed to be. And we trust that our reports are working properly.”

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