A major challenge that all organizations face, not just non-profits, is how to make sure that people can easily get to the information they need for making timely financial decisions. For example, it is very difficult for program managers to make purchasing decisions or schedule events and services if they don’t know where they stand versus their budget.
One way to deal with the preceding challenge is to give the program managers, for example, direct access to the financial accounting software. This can create other challenges, though, because:
- Software companies typically charge for each additional user so giving the program managers access to the accounting system can be expensive.
- There are security concerns with letting non-accounting users into the accounting system.
- Training non-accounting users to use an accounting system is not always easy.
Another option for providing information to various stakeholders like program managers is to periodically run reports and then provide them via either hardcopy or an electronic (e.g. PDF) version of the report. The problem with this approach, of course, is that it is not very efficient and the information that you provide can be dated depending on when the reports are run.
A better way of addressing the challenge of making information available on a timely basis is to use the dynamic reporting capabilities of Excel. By linking Excel directly to your accounting software database, you can inexpensively create custom reports and dashboards that provide on demand, real-time visibility into the key metrics of your organization.
With many accounting software solutions, linking Excel directly to the financial database is difficult at best. Fortunately, Microsoft Dynamics GP makes this relatively easy. That’s because it uses Microsoft SQL Server as the underlying database and it is designed to work seamlessly with other Microsoft applications like Excel. In fact, is comes with over one hundred Excel based reports, out of the box. It even has an Excel Report Builder option to help you create your own reports.
Microsoft Dynamics GP and Excel create a powerful reporting environment that every non-profit can benefit from. To learn more, please feel free to contact Maner Costerisan, your non-profit financial reporting experts.
Maner Costerisan – a Michigan-based CPA firm and technology consulting firm specializing in helping Not-for-Profits improve operations and support their mission through financial accounting, CRM and productivity software solutions. We are Certified Partners for Microsoft Dynamics GP, Intacct and Avectra Social CRM. For more information on how we can help you excel in these challenging economic times, please contact us or visit our website.