Monday, 27 May 2024
Monday, 27 May 2024

7 more signs your nonprofit organisation may need new accounting software

By Paul Sparkes, Commercial Director of iplicit, an award-winning accounting software developer

Is your accounting software costing your organisation time and money?

If you didn’t catch our previous article, here they are again – the seven warning signs that
your accounting software may be overdue for review…

1. Your server infrastructure is becoming expensive.

2. You’re facing costly software upgrades.

3. You’re not running the latest version of the software.

4. Disaster recovery is becoming more of a worry.

5. Your accounting software can’t cope with modern flexible working practices.

6. Your accounting software is struggling to integrate with your funding and membership system.

7. Your software doesn’t cope well with partial VAT.

But as the title of this sequel confirms, those seven signs are by no means the full story.
Here come signs 8 to 14…

8. Your software struggles to cope well with SORP/SOFA

Nonprofit organisations face unique challenges when dealing with compliance. They have
to meet the requirements of SORP and SOFA.

And that pressure has been increasing over recent years:

  • 28 August 2019 – the Charity Commission reported that only around half of charities’
    accounts met its external scrutiny benchmark (based on a sample of 296
    organisations).
  • 7 July 2016 – the then-new Fundraising Regulator went live.

But some charities still have entry-level accounting software that struggles to cope with
SORP and SOFA.

These organisations fear that upgrading to a new platform may be out of their reach. But in
reality, it almost certainly isn’t – the world of accounting software has changed
dramatically. And very much for the better.

9. Budget management is becoming more difficult

Trying to get more out of basic accounting software often involves spreadsheet
workarounds. These aren’t just time-consuming: they can result in more than one version of the truth.

And that makes it harder to make informed decisions about whether or not it’s safe to
spend money – especially when donations are falling.

Being able to see the right numbers in real time has always been crucial. And these days,
that doesn’t have to be difficult.

10. Your organisation now needs better control

Growth empowers nonprofit organisations, enabling them to carry out more of the good
work that’s their raison d’être. But the downside of that expansion is the seemingly
inevitable increase in management and administration.

It doesn’t have to be that way though. The best mid-market accounting software is feature-rich and very scalable – but it’s also intuitive and pleasant to use.

11. Managing expenses for your staff and volunteers is stressful

As your charity grows, then so does the number of employees and volunteers – along with
the number of claims for expenses. And even if those claims are not high in value, they may be numerous.

Lots of small individual claims, a messy pile of disparate paper receipts, lots of pressure to
account in triplicate for every penny spent – processing expenses can be time-consuming
and soul-destroying as you try to track down missing paperwork, confirm proof of purchase
and approve the expenditure.

Sometimes this ever-accelerating merry-go-round of emails and phone calls can take
months. It’s no fun for you – and even less so for the individual who put their hand in their
pocket and now requires reimbursement to help stave off their rising energy bills.

Fortunately, there’s an easy alternative. Good cloud accounting software speeds up and
simplifies the whole expenses process.

Users can file claims via their mobile phones. Approved expenditure items can be pre-
specified. Receipts can be photographed and attached to the claim – so everyone can see
them at every stage of the process.

Approval workflows further accelerate the work, saving a significant amount of time and
hassle.

12. You need more detailed trustee and stakeholder reporting

Charities usually have multiple entities, typically the charitable arm and the trading arm of
the organisation. And that can create hurdles for entry-level software platforms which tend
to be incapable of handling consolidated accounts.

Switching up to a more advanced (but not necessarily expensive) mid-market platform will
give you better real-time reporting. And it could well be cost-neutral, given how much time
it can save you. You may even save money.

13. Your system needs to integrate with other apps

This is a common issue. Increasing numbers of apps are migrating to the cloud because of
its added security and convenience for all concerned – for you, for the developers, for your
end-users and for the other stakeholders.

But what about older desktop accounting software that has failed to evolve? It can often
struggle to integrate properly with newer cloud-based apps.

These integration failures usually mean more workarounds for already hard-pressed
finance function teams.

14. Your staff are becoming disillusioned

Or disgruntled. And neither is good. Both can lead to burnout… it’s a slippery slope. But
organisations can sometimes continue to slide down it because they think the ‘Devil they
know’ is more palatable than upgrading. (Spoiler alert: it isn’t.)

It’s the old dilemma (or rather a big misconception). Organisations need more powerful
software but they can’t justify the cost of making the big leap to NetSuite, Dynamics or
Intacct. And they don’t relish the disruption of changing systems.

That dilemma doesn’t exist anymore. It’s a fallacy – because now there’s good, scalable true cloud accounting software to fill this glaring gap in the mid-market.

And best of all, this affordable software takes only 16 applied days to implement and install. No more months of disruption. No sledgehammer to crack a nut. Just the right software is implemented in a timely fashion.

Non-profits are all about doing the right thing.

And now you can do it more easily.

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