By Paul Sparkes, commercial director at true-cloud
accounting software provider, iplicit.
There are over 166,000 charities in the UK and many of these organisations have complex finance requirements at their very core.
And when it comes to accounting and finance software, these organisations have been underserved for too long.
The issue has been, historically, that the finance and accounting systems used have struggled to properly manage and segment funds and grants easily, and to enable reports to be produced efficiently.
Charities need to be able to plan their budgets effectively and confidently, being safe in the knowledge that they have a thorough understanding of their cost model.
This means their finance system must ensure income revenues, donor and SORP/SOFA reporting, fund management, partial VAT payments and analysis, and authorisations all run smoothly.
That’s why charities need true cloud accounting software to empower finance teams -streamlining existing processes via automation and intuitive workflows.
Here are some of true cloud’s key benefits…
1. Reducing server infrastructure
With cloud finance software solutions, charities aren’t plagued with the physical limitations that come with on-premise systems – such as the inflexibility of having to work on-site or connect via a slow Virtual Private Network (VPN), or ageing technology that’s more vulnerable to cyber-attacks. Instead, all they need is an internet connection and a browser.
This also omits the need for having several large servers on-site – not only reducing the overhead costs associated with support, maintenance, and upgrades but also freeing up the in-house IT team’s time.
Crucially, this makes it easier for finance teams to plan their annual budgets, as there won’t be any unforeseen, ‘reactive’ expenditure – providing greater resource security, as a result.
2. Always being up to date
Charities using a legacy system as part of their financial operations can find this incredibly limiting and unnecessarily expensive.
This is because NFPs will need at least one upgrade per year, meaning they’ll need to pay for a technical engineer to come to the site – and foot any associated costs, that often run into the thousands.
With a cloud-native accounting platform, however, monthly pricing should include licence fees, support, and regular updates, making monthly costs predictable.
As a result, charities don’t have to worry about upgrades or support fees, as they’re always on the latest version, they’re always compliant, and any bugs or system issues are fixed quickly – without requiring on-premise visits or any further charges.
3. Providing enhanced disaster recovery
A recent survey of the UK charity sector revealed that more than 95% of respondents believe that cybersecurity is important, but when they were asked to rate their own cybersecurity, the sector average was 6 out of 10.
But when it comes to finance software systems, it’s vital to have peace of mind that sensitive information is safely backed up, and highly secure. There is no room for anything less than a 10 out of 10.
True cloud solutions not only conduct regular back-ups, but they have physical security and failover servers – meaning even if the primary system fails, another server in a different location is automatically switched on. This is in comparison to on-premise systems, where it would take hours to replace servers and restore backups – costing time and money that is often outside of the planned budget.
As a result, cloud accounting finance software provides the much-needed, round-the-clock reliability, security, and accessibility that NFPs need – for maximum uptime and an enhanced disaster recovery strategy.
4. Enabling access from anywhere
While the uptake in hybrid working means that an increasing number of people are ‘working from anywhere,’ this isn’t something that charities are typically used to – even for those with numerous sites across the globe and multiple legal entities, finance staff have been office-based and remote workers have typically had to submit documents like timesheets and expenses, physically rather than digitally.
But with this greater need than ever to be able to log on remotely, charities’ networks need to be secure and easily accessible by both staff and volunteers – without the need for complex IT set-up, dedicated software installed on multiple devices or slow-speed VPNs that hinder productivity.
With the true cloud, if you have access to the internet, you can connect to your system.
Watch out for part two next month, and in the meantime, to find out more about iplicit’s cloud-native finance software and some of the charities that use it, visit the website.