THE Al-Khair Foundation is a substantial organisation. With a turnover of £29m, the faith-based charity delivers humanitarian aid around the world, both in response to emergencies and as part of long-term projects.
Running the accounts for an organisation spread around the globe is a big task – and the workload of the finance team used to be onerous. But switching finance software simplified the work drastically.
Alamgir Hossain, the foundation’s Head of Finance said:
“Producing our management accounts used to take between two and three days each month.
“Now, I don’t need those three days at all. I would say it takes half an hour to an hour.”
The Croydon-headquartered charity has seven field offices around the world, seven branch offices in the UK, two primary schools and a secondary school. There are three TV channels dedicated to reporting its achievements and raising more funds, plus a production centre in Bangladesh.
“All these things – the TV stations, the schools, the production office – are separate legal entities set up as subsidiaries of the foundation.
“Intercompany transactions are a large part of the work and we handle multiple currencies.
“Previously, those intercompany transactions were a nightmare, because every time you posted an entry in the journal, you had to post the corresponding entry into the journal of another company. You were continually trying to reconcile the accounts and often there were mistakes and omissions.”
The charity typically handles 3,000-4,000 invoices a year, aside from the 1,500 invoices it sends to collect school fees.
It previously used a finance system that could not provide a single chart of accounts.
“We had to have different charts of accounts for all six or seven companies and do a lot of manual adjustments.”
Switching to iplicit’s cloud accounting software has massively reduced the workload for the finance team, with under four full-time equivalent staff now doing what was the work of eight people. Alamgir says the new system costs two-thirds of what the charity was paying for its old software licences.
Compiling reports for the senior management team is now the work of moments.
“I can simply see the balance up to this month, or up to the previous month, broken down by different legal entities. Because there’s no importing or exporting of data involved, it’s basically an instant report.”
Alamgir says the whole organisation has seen benefits. He said:
“In the finance department, they’re very happy because we can work from anywhere. Sometimes people need information from me while I’m not on site, but I can log in and I can produce the report and send it instantly.
“It’s also saved a lot of time on things like payment reminders. Instead of having to manually send out reminders, we can use iplicit to send the first, second and final reminders without needing any third-party software. That’s a job that used to take six or seven hours every time. Now, it’s a half-hour job.”
The foundation is using iplicit’s project accounting features to track spending and income on specific initiatives.
“When the Morocco earthquake happened, we created a project called Morocco Earthquake. All the income donated for that purpose is allocated to the project, and any expenses or any funds transferred into the field offices are going to that project. We’ll also allocate some of the overhead at the end of the year, so we know the actual cost of the project, and that’s very helpful for us.
“The ease with which you can import and export live data into Excel is an extraordinary feature. I haven’t seen any other software that gives you that functionality.
“On top of that, the graphic interface is just very beautiful, as you switch between different views and windows.”