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How to make non-profit accounting as easy as 1-2-3

Non-profit accounting software for non-profit organizations are in a transitional phase this decade, as many of them are migrating to new software platforms in an attempt to strengthen their fundraising, streamline donor management and leave inefficient manual processes behind.
The 2015 edition of the Nonprofit Software BuyerView survey from Software Advice revealed that:
  • Forty-one percent of the surveyed buyers were replacing an existing software system in 2015, up from only 30 percent in 2014.
  • The main driver of such upgrades was the need for additional functionality, such as features that would simplify donor tracking and help with communications and outreach.
  • However, more than half (52 percent) reported still using general purpose apps such as Microsoft Excel and Google Drive (which the report characterized as "short-term" solutions that only increased disorganization), 1 percent less than the year before.
  • The report authors observed that fast-growing SMBs in particular were looking beyond these tools and striving to automate more of their processes, including donation handling and tax receipt generation.
  • Indeed, one company included in the survey saved 10 hours a month on report generation after it switched accounting systems for improved grant tracking.

    The previous year's report also highlighted the growing acceptance of cloud/web-based tools over on-premises alternatives, with 49 percent favoring cloud and only 2 percent prioritizing on-prem (the rest had no preference). Overall, we can understand these numbers as indicators of a gradual move away from reliance on paper ledgers, spreadsheets and similar tools, and toward fuller automation.

    Cloud financial software: The key to unlocking better non-profit accounting

    Today's non-profits are searching for superior accounting solutions because, now more than ever, they must provide visibility into financial performance to diverse stakeholders such as donors, boards of directors and personnel who have come over from the for-profit world. This is difficult to accomplish using only spreadsheets and limited platforms such as QuickBooks.

    Fortunately, a cloud solution such as Intacct fulfills all the specific requirements of modern non-profit accounting. After being planned out and implemented by a partner such as Arxis with non-profit expertise, it helps:

    Measure and document key outcomes
    Metrics tracking has become more important for non-profits in recent years. This practice keeps increasingly engaged donors and constituents in the loop about the organization's current financial performance.

    "Providing visibility is essential as non-profits face increased competition for funding."

    For example, you will want to use unique and well-defined tracking dimensions for focus areas such as funds, grants, programs, locations and volunteer forces. Accordingly, you will be able to provide a holistic view of your key outcomes, backed with thorough statistical tracking and comprehensive reports.

    Providing this level of visibility is essential as non-profits face increased competition for funding. Funding may also have strings attached, such as the various compliance obligations that come with government funds. Deep insights from their accounting platform help non-profits navigate these challenges and ultimately get the resources they depend on.

    Support organizational growth
    When non-profit organizations merge or take on new collaborators/partners, it's easy for the complexity of their finances to spiral out of control. Information may end up in silos or spread out across many error-riddled Excel sheets. Plus, there's the difficulty of dealing with multiple funding streams, adapting to new requirements and scaling your financial operations.

    Managing non-profit growth is easier with a cloud accounting system.
    Managing non-profit growth is easier with a cloud accounting system.

    Cloud financial software gives you on-demand scalability, so that you always get the computing power and storage that you need. Self-service reports, custom dashboards and numerous application integrations help reduce risky ad hoc reporting and put your non-profit on the path to financial sustainability.

    Work within tight budgets
    Non-profits often have to work through financial constraints that can hinder their efforts at expansion. Switching to a modern accounting system helps relieve the pressure that organizations can feel as they plan out their strategies and expenses.

    By being able to map costs to actual incoming funds, trim monthly close times and take advantage of prebuilt integrations with apps such as ExpenseCloud and ADP, non-profit organizations can turn their accounting systems into assets rather than liabilities. Potential Church saw the change immediately.

    "[W]e were able to reduce our accounting staff by one and avoid another full-time hire, saving us approximately $80,000 each year as a result of the extreme efficiencies we've gained with Intacct," explained Reggie Alexis, the church's controller.

    Simplifying non-profit accounting

    There are many unique requirements that non-profit finance teams must account for each day. Making the switch from manual processes and tools such as spreadsheets to cloud software gives non-profits more power to work with their donors and constituents, scale their operations and save money.

    These benefits are amplified by working with a trusted implementation partner capable of building a tailored plan for you and providing ongoing support and training. Arxis has specific expertise for helping you learn the ropes of Intacct and improving your non-profit accounting processes.






Tagged With: Sage Intacct

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