The Five Biggest Benefits of Cloud Financials for Non-Profits

We have been selling and supporting mid-market financial accounting (ERP) software solutions at Maner Costerisan for over twenty years.   During that time, we’ve primarily focused on selling and supporting Microsoft Dynamics GP (formerly Great Plains).   In recent years, however, we have also sold and supported Intacct, the leading cloud-based ERP solution.    The reason we added Intacct to our portfolio of products is due to the growing interest among our clients in wanting the ability to access their financial accounting software through the cloud.   For prospective clients, this interest is even higher.  In fact, many prospective clients are now demanding cloud based solutions.

Unlike Intacct, Microsoft Dynamics GP has historically been an on-premise solution that runs on an organization’s in-house servers.   Like Intacct, however, Dynamics GP has also moved to the cloud.    It is not a true, designed-from-the-ground-up cloud solution like Intacct, but it now has a web-based (browser) interface and it is available with a multitude of hosting options.  Hence, organizations no longer need an in-house server to run Dynamics GP.   It is fully cloud enabled.

So, why did Microsoft move Dynamics GP to the cloud?    Why do we sell and support two cloud products?   Why are organizations so interested in the cloud?   What are the advantages of a cloud based financial accounting software solution versus a traditional in-house, server based solution?

Like any technology, there are pros and cons of both cloud and on-premise solutions.    The benefits of the cloud are becoming more obvious every day, though.  Here are the top five benefits as we see them.

  1. Access from anywhere, anytime. One of the biggest benefits of having your financial systems in the cloud is clearly the access to information.    With a true cloud application, all you need is access to the internet.   If you have that, you should theoretically be able to access your financial information at any time, from any place and through any device.   In today’s competitive, 24×7 world, that’s a huge advantage for any organization.
  1. Fail-Safe Backups. With today’s cloud solutions, you can be assured that your data is being safely backed up and that your backups will be available, if needed.    You can’t always say that with on-premise solutions.   We can share numerous stories of clients, who thought they had good backups only to find out when they needed them the backups weren’t available or couldn’t be restored.  Because of the economies of scale the cloud providers have, they can afford to invest in state-of-the-art, fail-safe backup systems.
  1. Disaster recovery. Unfortunately, most small- and mid-sized businesses with on-premise software solutions do not have good disaster recovery plans.  The reality is they are simply too costly to implement.    This is not the case, though, with cloud providers.    Once again, they have the economies of scale to support extensive disaster recovery plans.  Best of all, these disaster recovery plans are simply part of your annual subscription fee.
  1. Flexibility & Scalability. With traditional on-premise solutions, it is always a challenge to balance computing capacity with need.    Because of this, organizations frequently purchase much more computing power than they really need because they want to be safe.   Alternatively, they may not purchase enough computing capacity and, hence, risk downtime or other consequences.    With cloud based solutions, you never have to worry about having too little or too much capacity.   Even if you have a rapidly growing or seasonally based solution, the computing capacity can be automatically adjusted up or down, as needed.   Depending on your organization, this can be a very significant benefit.
  1. Get out of the IT Business – Focus on mission. Last, but not least, is the benefit of freeing up your people to focus on your business or your mission versus dealing with server and other IT-related issues.   This, plus the peace of mind of not having to worry about IT, is a benefit that is difficult to put a value on.  There is no doubt, though, freeing up resources for more value-added tasks offers significant benefits.

In summary, there is a huge movement toward cloud-financials and there are good reasons for it.  If you aren’t already in the cloud, maybe it’s time to start looking at it.

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About the author.  

James Meyer has an MBA from the University of Michigan and is a Microsoft Certified Professional and an Intacct Certified Consultant.    He has over thirty (30) years experience working with financial accounting / ERP software as a consultant, software developer, end-user and value added reseller.    He works primarily with small and mid-sized organizations and has spoken at numerous industry events.    He can be reached at [email protected] if you have any questions or would like to learn more about the services that we provide.

About Maner Costerisan.

Maner Costerisan, a Michigan-based CPA firm, Microsoft Gold Certified Partner and Intacct Partner, specializes in helping businesses improve operations and support their mission through accounting, financial management and productivity software solutions.   We are certified resellers for the leading mid-market accounting software solution, Microsoft Dynamics GP, and the leading cloud-based financial management and accounting software solution, Intacct.    For more information on how we can help you get more timely access to information and do more with less, please contact us or visit our website at www.manersolutions.com.

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ERP professionals providing insight and advice for not for profit organizations.