Cloud Accounting: What Would That Look Like For Your Nonprofit Organization
Start With The End In Mind
Having a well put together cloud accounting system that can tie-in with your other applications, like donor modules, bill payments, payroll, and employee expense reports will save you time, which allows you to better use your best resource, time.
There are many challenges and obstacles for reporting for nonprofits including:
Fund accounting / tracking
Tight operational budgets
Inability to effectively distribute reports to internal & external stakeholders and volunteers
High dependency on Excel
What Would A Cloud-Bases Set-up Look Like
First, an organization will need a well built core financial accounting system that can track the needs of a nonprofit, including functional expenses, funds, programs, fund-raisers, and other activities all in one system (i.g. Sage Intacct). The system needs to be able to develop reports that can be created in real-time and without any manual processes like downloading data and manipulating that data in Excel.
Second, each organization needs to do a deep dive into their processes and procedures. This will help the organization determine which possible third party cloud systems would also help stream line a process. An example is Bill.com, which can quicken the time between paying bills and receiving payments for invoices. Another is Expensify, which streamlines the employee reimbursement payment or another like 2C Processor which can handle credit card and ACH payments. Not only do they help streamline processes, but they can also be helpful in the auditing process because of their documentation retention in the cloud. They are all also Saas based which allows for direct integration, thus posting transactions directly into the accounting system.
Third, a tech-stack will be finalized and plan for implementation would be developed with the decision makers and stake-holders. Roles and responsibilities for each employee would be determined, then set-up, and finally trained. A testing period would be done if needed, depending on the size of the organization and complexity of the set-up.
Lastly, there would be a go-live date and continuous tracking to ensure proper reporting. Custom dashboards would be developed, as predetermined, and allow the reporting genius of the accounting system to allow the organization to make timely decisions and place a greater emphasis on the missions of the organization.