How Non Profits can Benefit with New Accounting Software

Most organizations begin with a financial solution with either industry specific or manual processing in Excel.  When your organization moves beyond the entry level, it may face a number of challenges as you hit the limits of accounting functionality.

Some software simply wasn’t designed to provide professional financial management capabilities to growing organizations that require more and better visibility into financial and operational performance such as automating key processes; providing anytime, anywhere access; supporting multiple currencies and locations; customizing functionality; and integrating with other critical applications.

How do you know when it’s the right time to make the move? Which options should you consider? What are the hidden costs of waiting? And how can you measure the costs against the benefits? Here are a few things to consider when contemplating a move to a cloud computing–based financial management system:

  • Decide on the best time to switch from Excel or legacy software to a more robust , financial management system.
  • Identify the hidden costs of continuing to use Excel or legacy software.
  • Evaluate the available alternatives.
  • Compare the costs of the status quo with the benefits of switching.

Understanding the costs of staying with the same system

Growing organizations that continue to use Excel or legacy software may find that they’re spending extra time managing work-arounds outside the application. They may not even realize the number of inefficiencies getting in the way of conducting day-to-day business. It’s all too easy for these inefficiencies to become ingrained over time. And because there’s no immediate cash outlay, doing nothing may seem like the only option—or at least the most cost-effective option. However, these organizations may be incurring a broad range of hidden costs.

Some organizations discover calculation errors that require manual intervention. Organizations with sophisticated accounting requirements, such as grant tracking and purchase order tracking, often find the need to develop work-arounds because their Excel or legacy software doesn’t provide built-in capabilities for these complex processes. Financial organizations will often export data to multiple spreadsheets, set up dummy accounts, and ultimately create additional journal entries to be entered each month—or even develop homegrown applications for recording revenue or expenses outside of the system. These work-arounds can lead to duplicate entry errors or reports based on incorrect or stale data, introduce inefficiencies into the process, consume additional time and resources, lack control and compliance, and create another source of information outside of your financial management system that does not allow you to continue to rely on inefficient manual processes.

How to identify the need for Increased productivity

  • Is the organization over-reliant on manual, paper-based processes?
  • Can there be a lack of integration between financials and other organizational applications?
  • Are their decreased staff productivity as a result of inefficient and manual processes?
  • Can inadequate data and lack of insight into the organization enable concerns?

Although some software is considered proven effective  for some organizations, Excel and legacy software simply weren’t designed for growing organizations that need advanced functionality to manage sophisticated processes. To accurately forecast upcoming business opportunities and plan proactively, organizations that manage complex business processes need an overarching view of company operations in order to identify process gaps as well as areas of strength. Enhancing collaboration and providing robust controls over data and deep integration can only promote strategic decision making and support growth-oriented or technology competiveness.

Excel and Legacy software limitations drive the need for all organizations to graduate to a more robust system. Organizations want flexible reporting, with built-in multidimensional architecture, that delivers accurate and timely reports with relevant insights into data. Role-based dashboards deliver real-time global and local visibility of the state of the business to the right stakeholders at the right time, providing deep insights into business performance.

Why is now the best time to change to better financial management software?

Extensive integrations with leading applications enable organizations to easily and cost-effectively assemble interoperable systems of best-in-class applications, providing the best solutions for their business needs. Easy, user-defined workflows automate, control, and streamline processes as needed to optimize operations throughout the organization.

Despite the costs of continuing to use Excel or legacy software, when faced with the cost of changing now versus the cost of postponing, many organizations conclude that it’s more cost effective to keep what they have. But some systems can be extremely cost effective. In fact, the time you save—just from automating critical processes and eliminating spreadsheets—can often pay for the entire cost of moving to the new system, and typically in just a few months.

You can prove this for your own organization by comparing the full cost and productivity implication of continuing to use Excel or legacy software with those of a new financial management system. Thousands of organizations like yours have already made this comparison and found that graduating to a new system results in a tremendous, positive ROI.

John C Peace is COO of Accountnet.  Accountnet, Inc. is a full service operational Microsoft Value Added Reseller in New York City, whom has worked with hundreds of organizations and it’s President serves on a board, enables educational events that provides CPE credits and hosts Non Profit events at Microsoft. or call 212.Dynamics.

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