View of data in a cloud financial management solution

Cloud financial management solutions: make better-informed decisions at your not-for-profit

According to the recent “2021 Nonprofit Technology Trends Report” published by Sage Intacct, of the more than 500 not-for-profit finance leaders surveyed, 58% indicated a decrease in revenue in 2020 for their organization. This is partially to be expected based on the current state of the economy and related events of this past year. Consequently, this landscape is also driving an increased demand for many not-for-profit services. While not a new sentiment, not-for-profit organizations are being asked to do more with less, in a time when those in need are counting on them most.

When every dollar matters, should organizations actually consider and prioritize investment in technologies such as a cloud financial management solution? They absolutely should. The opportunity cost of maintaining the status quo could be a significant hindrance on the ability to achieve more with less.

For many not-for-profit organizations, QuickBooks – including QuickBooks Online – has been the status quo for years. It is well-known and user-friendly, and it supports the basic functionality needed to operate accounting and finance functions. The concerns arise when organizations are then expected to scale their back-office operations while leveraging the existing technology, oftentimes leading to:

  • Time-consuming manual data entry and re-entry, increasing data quality concerns
  • Significant reliance on spreadsheets to support accounting/finance processes
  • Limited access to dashboards and reports to support decision-making
  • Inadequate internal controls associated with the accounting and finance functions
  • Challenges in evolving with new organizational requirements

These concerns can create substantial inefficiencies and inhibit organizations from achieving their goal of scaling to do more with less. The reality is there are other options that are cost effective and can address the above concerns, while also affording organizations with much more functionality. The prevailing notion that these other solutions are too expensive and require too significant an investment from an organization is false. Cloud-based financial management software has created a means for not-for-profit organizations to gain access to modern financial management software at a reasonable cost.

Today, there are several cloud-based financial management software solutions available on the market – Sage Intacct, Oracle NetSuite, Microsoft Dynamics 365, to name a few – all of which have greater functionality than what is available with QuickBooks. Examples of this functionality include supporting multi-entity organizations, and automating consolidations and currency conversion. Furthermore, there are even more high-level functionalities available, which is particularly helpful for not-for-profit organizations, including:

  • Ability to automate revenue recognition for compliance
  • Ability to allocate spend toward mission achievement
  • Ability to achieve real-time visibility with dashboards and reporting
  • Availability of pre-built dashboards to support transparency around disclosures
  • Availability of advanced internal controls for compliance and audit requirements

While every not-for-profit organization has a unique set of needs based on their charter, it is within reason to assume that any organization still on QuickBooks has some efficiencies to be gained in exploring an alternative cloud-based financial management solution. It could be the investment that allows an organization to finally achieve more with less.

For organizations stuck in the status quo and desiring to learn more about alternative solutions or how Baker Tilly can help, contact our team.

Ryan Pickering
Experienced Manager
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