If you work for a nonprofit, odds are you’re looking for ways to save time and free up resources so that your organization can focus on its primary mission. But when it comes to financial management systems, that desire can sometimes be misguided.
For instance, many nonprofit finance managers believe that hanging on to their legacy accounting systems is saving them money. When in reality, the inefficiency of these outdated systems has a negative impact on productivity that often ends up costing valuable time and money.
The technology available to nonprofits has improved dramatically over the years. And the old legacy, on-premise software that many organizations still have in place cannot keep up with the efficiency of cloud-based accounting software.
While many nonprofits have adopted these new systems, many are resistant to a change. If you’re one of these resistors, consider this: the sooner you make the transition, the faster you’ll likely be able to start freeing up resources and improving time management.
Cloud-based financial management systems save you time
As your nonprofit grows in size, the complexity of its processes also increases. As you’ve probably noticed, there inevitably comes a point in which manual processes become a drain on productivity. Because old systems can’t provide the capabilities a non-traditional business structure requires, employees usually have to find other, slower means of solving problems.
This epidemic is known as “spreadware” – referring to the gradual proliferation of manual workarounds, spreadsheets and paper-based processes that develop within many organizations. Spreadware has a massive negative impact on the productivity of nonprofits. But it is something that can be avoided by investing in a system that leverages the latest technological advances in the field.
Cloud-based systems alleviate the burden of system upgrades support and can easily integrate with other applications. By integrating on-premises and cloud-based applications with a strong cloud financial management system, your nonprofit can automate manual accounts payable processes and streamline workflows – ultimately saving thousands of dollars.
These systems also support remote access, meaning team members have the ability to access the system on any device – from any location. This capability speeds up the approval process dramatically.
Consider this example: The implementation of Intacct and Nexonia was able to drastically accelerate our client – Children’s Tumor Foundation’s – entire monthly close process by establishing automated journal entries and streamlined electronic approval process.
Providing a mobile-friendly solution for traveling employees to instantly capture receipts and enter expenses allows approvals to be automatically routed to the appropriate supervisor who can approve them on any device from any location. This alone saves finance teams at least two days per week of downloading transactions and manually entering invoices and expenses – not to mention the time tracking down information and approvals. Employees can be reimbursed faster and all receipt images are able to be stored in Intacct for easier auditing
Intacct’s grant management capability also allows you to add contacts, track tasks and manage billing—all in one place. This feature is fully integrated with other modules, such as the general ledger, purchasing, accounts payable, expense management and order entry modules – reducing redundant data entry and increasing efficiency by reducing errors.
Cloud-based financial management systems save you money
Many nonprofit organizations don’t have the budget to hire a team of IT experts. But cloud based financial management solutions can eliminate this cost by placing IT support responsibilities on the cloud provider.
With no capital expenses and reduced operating expenses for cloud computing, nonprofits can save significant money on traditional IT costs. These organizations can save thousands of dollars per year on software upgrades and the need for new servers. On top of that, many cloud based providers, such as Intacct, offer a lifetime discount to nonprofits that is re-applied every single year (see the intacct system checklist here).
Finally, Cloud computing solutions – in general – offer a lower total cost of ownership (TCO), higher reliability, increased sustainability and stronger security measures as users can take advantage of backups and disaster recovery.
Is a cloud-based financial management system right for your nonprofit?
More and more nonprofits are turning to cloud-based financial management systems to improve operations, strengthen oversight of fund accounting and grant projects, and alleviate the time and financial burden of managing IT systems while improving security measures.
Cloud-based systems are beneficial to these organizations because they include accounting, contract management, revenue management, project and fund accounting, inventory management, purchasing, vendor management, financial consolidation and financial reporting applications – all delivered in one place via cloud computing.
If you’re a nonprofit focused on future growth, the question of transitioning to a cloud-based system is more “when” than “if.” And the sooner your organization is able to adopt one of these systems, the faster you’ll be able to streamline processes, improve efficiency, and increase your organization’s effectiveness.