Nonprofits face unique financial pressures. They must manage donations from individuals according to government regulations. Many organizations feel the weight of this dual responsibility to donors and regulators. Finances must be managed carefully and charitable donors remain uniquely invested in how their donations are being used.
With this in mind, specialist accounting software for charities incorporates donor management into more traditional finance management tools. But switching to specialized software can be a laborious task.
Here we will look at why specialized accounting software is needed for nonprofits, the benefits it has, and how we can help you implement such a system. If you are used to working in a certain way, it can seem daunting to change, but it doesn’t have to be. We will offer help every step of the way.
Why Specialized Accounting Software Is Important for a Nonprofit Organization
Nonprofit organizations need an accounting solution that will allow them to track donors. It will also need to include information relevant to grants and trusts. The accounting features in most commercial software are still important. Extra features include fund accounting software that helps you maintain compliance.
Donor management software gives peace of mind to both you and the donor. People feel they can donate safely and with no chance of there being a scam. Meanwhile, you can be sure it will be a secure transaction and can keep track of donations. Automated, streamlined donor management means more time to dedicate to your fundraising and charitable activities. You can create budget forecasts, run reports, and keep audit trails so the end-of-year accounting process is much easier.
Improved Reporting and Analytics for Financial Management
When using Financial Edge NXT, you can benefit from a whole host of features.
- Financial planning and analysis designed for nonprofit and fund-based organizations.
- Customizable internal controls to ensure the highest standards of accounting and operations.
- Clear grant accounting modules make tracking income from grant sources easy.
- Purpose-built ERP systems create effective communication across your organization.
Analyzing where your finances come from as well as your outgoings will help you to run far more efficiently. Managing funds does not have to be a headache when you have software that simplifies the process.
Better Cash Flow and Planning
Cash flow is important for a nonprofit organization. You may not have the same financial goals as a profit-making business, but you still need to know where money is coming from. How much of your income will be from prospective donors? How much from grant funding? How much from corporate support? It will save time if you have a clear strategy that you will stick to. Part of this is a cash flow forecast.
Both small and large nonprofit organizations need to focus on cash flow as a primary concern. This is how you can plan for the future as well as ensure everything is moving in the right direction.
Integrate Donor Management with Financial Data
An important part of accounting systems for a nonprofit is donor management. Do you have regular donors who give you a guaranteed income each month? Are there more sporadic donor contributions? How much of your net profit is from this source? The best accounting software for nonprofits will allow you to keep track of this vital information. It is an important part of your annual financial reporting.
When you are receiving donations, there may be a lot of data entry work required. That is, unless you have a system that integrates donations with your database. Capital Business Solutions uses software that saves to the cloud. This means far fewer manual processes, smoother ways of working, and better security.
Nonprofit Accounting System Implementation Process
Let’s talk about what the process looks like. Once you’ve identified the need for specialist software, you can begin to plan its implementation. There are many details to consider, which is why organizations turn to Capital Business Solutions. We’ll help you through all the details.
But, for now, let’s take a big-picture look at the entire process.
Project Kickoff Meeting – Pre-Design Meeting
The project kickoff meeting will enable the project team and client to establish common goals. It is a chance to talk about expectations, timescales, and outputs of the project. Without this initial meeting, it is difficult to move forward. When it is clear to everyone what they expect from each other, you can all move in the same direction.
This initial meeting will give you a much better idea of how the system will work for you. It will also allow our consultants to understand any potential issues before they happen.
FE NXT Design Management, Training and Testing
This is about working together in order to implement the new system. A consultant will run training for all the staff members so they are familiar with how everything works. The system will have to be tested in order to make sure it is compatible with what the company is trying to achieve.
We will not go live with the new system until you are confident that you are ready to use it. Also that it is ready to cope with the demands of your work. Therefore, thorough testing is always put in place before you start. The training is extensive and is suitable for someone who has never used a system like this before. It is crucial you are confident in the way you will be working. We will not rush you through the training. We will make sure you understand what you are letting yourselves in for.
Data Conversion from Other Systems
Your organization will already have some kind of system in place. Converting the data across can be a time-consuming process, but is necessary. Our Blackbaud system has mapping templates to make the data extraction process as smooth as possible. Our consultants will make sure all of this happens with minimum fuss.
Whatever your current accounting system, we will find a way to streamline the data conversion process. If you’re using a standard package, such as Quickbooks or Sage, then this step will be fairly straightforward. If you have other software, we can still work with you to bring all your data across without loss.
Additional Consultant-Led Training and Best Practices
Some additional training will be required before the new system goes live just to make certain there will be no issues. We budget time for this training because it is always necessary. As your system is prepared for its live launch, we may identify specific issues. We’ll make the time to train your team so they have the information and expertise to use your new software fully.
Through our training, we’ll also help you develop your set of best practices. Your organization already has financial procedures in place. We offer experienced consultants who can help you reflect on these standards. Any room for improvement will be noted and pursued.
Consulting Support for Cutover, Go Live Assistance, and Post Live Support
Of course, it would be easy just to hand over the reins completely once the system goes live. This is not a productive way of working. Support has to be on hand while a team learns to use a new system. This is exactly what we provide. Our support team will always be just a phone call or email away.
We help organizations manage changes that may not feel natural to them. As your staff and donors adjust to the new system, our experts can help you spot any developing problems. If an emergency comes up or something is non-functional, we’ll be on hand to help solve the problem.
Advantages of Capital Business Solutions
There are a number of glowing testimonials that can be found from previous clients of Capital Business Solutions. A word that often comes up is ‘patience.’ We will always take our time with clients and explain everything in language they will understand.
One of our most memorable testimonials is: “Capital Business Solutions provided a painless, ‘no-hitch’ conversion from our antique software to the Blackbaud system. Not being strong computer users, we depended heavily on Capital Business Solutions to provide guidance and training for the new system. They came through beautifully, and their help with the redesign of our Chart of Accounts has proven invaluable. I will recommend their services without hesitation.” This is exactly what we do. We help everyone get up to speed with what our software can help them achieve.
If you’re ready to start planning your implementation, then please get in touch. A member of our support team will be happy to talk with you about the details of your case.