By Paul Sparkes, commercial director at true-cloud accounting software provider, iplicit.
Last month, Paul shared the first instalment of the seven benefits of true cloud finance software for Non-profits – and here are the remaining advantages for charities to consider…
5. Improving system integrations
Multi-system integration has always been a challenging area for nonprofits, but with charities increasingly using a variety of cloud-based applications to run their daily operations, they require seamless integration and high-speed/highly secure remote working access – which isn’t possible with on-premise alternatives.
However, with public application programming interfaces (APIs) on modern-day systems, the ability to integrate between existing fundraising, donor, and membership systems has never been easier – and it can be tailored to meet the needs of the individual charity.
Some organisations with legacy accounting software may have been told that they can have their solution hosted in a data centre – so that it functions like cloud – but while this may reduce server infrastructure costs, it doesn’t allow for seamless integration as true cloud does.
This is because the technology was never designed to work this way.
6. Enhancing reporting capabilities
True cloud software allows charities to break free from the restraints of limited reporting and provides inbuilt dashboards that deliver detailed actionable insight in seconds – making trend-spotting far simpler and decision-making swifter. This also eliminates the need for manual intervention across multiple spreadsheets.
Analysis is also made easier across all areas of the organisation – such as partial VAT, SORP/SOFA-compliance, plus fund, trustee, and donor reporting – providing powerful real-time data for all stakeholders, that can help to drive income growth and operational efficiency forward.
Donor reports – to provide detailed feedback on how and where particular funds have been spent – can also take weeks to compile, yet typically less than two days with a charity-specific, modern-day cloud accounting system.
In addition, older systems often fall short of being able to meet these requirements effectively and require extensive reworking of data to produce management, funder, and statutory reports.
7. Streamlining complex operations
For years, nonprofit finance leaders, and their teams, have commuted to the office, used physical filing cabinets to store vast amounts of critical information, and relied on Post It notes as helpful reminders to approve paper-based documentation.
When the pandemic struck, they had to remotely access whatever documents they could via a VPN and visit the office when no one else was there, to access physical paperwork that wasn’t part of a digital workflow, so they could sign off specific tasks.
With a true cloud solution, however, none of this is necessary. Charities benefit from configurable approval workflows – ensuring that effective sign-off processes are maintained along with a full audit trail of submissions and approvals.
As a result, non-profit teams can control spending effectively and automatically, and both staff and volunteers can easily add timesheets or expense claims – either via their browser or the app – which makes it quicker and simpler for managers to authorise. This digital process also helps to eliminate human error by virtue of removing the manual data entry part of the process.
Additionally, multi-level rules functionality enables the right level of control to be maintained, irrespective of whether an employee is working from home or in the office, with all documentation and backing evidence stored in one centralised, digital system
True cloud accounting solutions also help charity finance teams to keep track of restricted and unrestricted funds, in multiple currencies – segmenting each by fund type.
Ultimately, charities have a clearer picture as to where they are against budget and meet new SORP/SOFA compliance requirements quickly – without overloading office resources with time-consuming, manual tasks.