Not-for-profits, like businesses and other organizations, have been moving their accounting systems to the cloud in recent years. As a solution, cloud accounting offers a range of benefits over traditional software-based accounting systems: it is more cost-effective, more flexible, and more secure. Despite these obvious benefits, there are still not-for-profit-specific considerations that organizations should keep in mind when making the move to cloud accounting.
Not-for-profits should consider the unique compliance requirements they face, including tax regulations. These regulations place a great deal of importance on financial transparency, accountability, and accuracy. By providing real-time financial data, tracking expenses, and generating reports, cloud accounting software can help not-for-profits meet those requirements. However, not-for-profits must ensure their cloud accounting software is compliant with all relevant regulations and that they have the necessary controls and security measures in place. Your CPA firm may be able to assist you with a security assessment of your software.
Not-for-profits should consider the impact that moving to the cloud will have on their staff and volunteers. Many not-for-profits rely on volunteers to help with their accounting functions and moving to the cloud may require additional training and support for these volunteers. Furthermore, not-for-profits should consider how the cloud accounting system will integrate with their existing systems and workflows. Will the new system be easy to use, or will significant training be needed? Will it require significant changes to existing processes? These are important questions to ask before making the move to cloud accounting. Consider how you can use the change management model for your staff to implement the move to cloud-based accounting.
Not-for-profits should consider the impact that moving to the cloud will have on their fundraising efforts. Many not-for-profits rely heavily on fundraising to support their programs and services, but moving to the cloud may impact their ability to raise funds. For example, some donors may be hesitant to donate to an organization that uses cloud-based accounting software, as they may be concerned about the security of their information. Not-for-profits should be prepared to address these concerns and communicate the benefits of cloud accounting to their donors.
Not-for-profits should consider the cost of moving to the cloud. While cloud accounting software is generally more cost-effective than traditional software-based accounting systems, there are still costs associated with the move. Not-for-profits should consider the cost of the software, implementation, training, and ongoing support. Additionally, not-for-profits should consider any potential savings that may result from the move, such as reduced hardware and maintenance costs.
Not-for-profits should consider the security of their data. Cloud accounting software offers a range of security features, including encryption, multi-factor authentication, and regular backups. However, not-for-profits should ensure their cloud accounting software provider has strong security measures in place and that their data is protected against unauthorized access or loss. Not-for-profits should also consider the impact that a data breach could have on their organization and their stakeholders. A best practice to consider is reaching out to an Information Technology expert to provide security analysis.
Not-for-profits should consider the scalability of their cloud accounting software. Not-for-profits often experience periods of rapid growth or change, and their accounting needs may change as a result. Cloud accounting software offers greater scalability than traditional software-based systems, as organizations can easily add or remove users and features as needed. Not-for-profits should ensure that their cloud accounting software is flexible enough to meet their changing needs. While it may be easier to use a simplified software at first, moving to a more integrated software can be costly and time consuming.
Not-for-profits should consider the level of support that they will receive from their cloud accounting software provider. Not-for-profits may require additional support and training to ensure they are using the software effectively and efficiently. Not-for-profits should choose a cloud accounting software provider that offers comprehensive support and training options, including online resources, user forums, and live support. Consider asking the technology provider what type of dedicated support they can provide.
Moving to the Cloud
Moving to the cloud for accounting can offer a range of benefits for not-for-profits, including cost-effectiveness, flexibility, and security. However, not-for-profits must carefully consider the unique compliance requirements that they face, the impact on their staff and volunteers, the impact on their fundraising efforts, the cost of the move, the security of their data, the scalability of the software, and the level of support that they will receive from their software provider. By carefully considering these factors, not-for-profits can make an informed decision about whether cloud accounting is right for their organization.
If you are looking for assistance in moving to the cloud, Clark Nuber can help. Send me an email for additional questions you may have regarding cloud accounting.
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