Non-profit finance transformation helps finance leaders unlock the power of real-time data and automation, so they can become more strategic in their analysis, planning, and decision-making. Making the shift to finance transformation is not really about technology. Non-profit transformation involves the pursuit of strategies and processes that empower your organisation and decision-makers to achieve strengthened mission impact while maximizing efficiency and stewardship.
Rather than being the focus of transformation, technology’s role is to provide the foundation and tools necessary to implement change and enhance visibility. According to BDO’s 2021 Non-profit Industry Overview benchmarking survey, 64% of non-profit organisations plan to invest in new technologies. When asked about strategy, 40% said they wanted to automate operations.
When Sage Intacct surveyed non-profit finance leaders about their top internal challenges, non-profit finance leaders expressed frustration with inefficiencies that waste time and a lack of visibility into financial performance, outcomes, and data from other areas of the organisation.
Addressing the above challenges are the five main ways finance transformation helps non-profits increase return-on-mission:
Nothing is more frustrating than having limited staff and resources, yet having their time utilized on manual, low-value work. That’s why automation is the engine driving non-profit finance transformation. By automating routine work, staff can contribute more toward the mission. They’ll like their jobs better too—a key benefit in the current tight labour market.
Improving staff utilisation and increasing organisational efficiency not only drives better results, it also ensures non-profits exercise the best possible stewardship over funding. Here’s a sample of the benefits that automation unlocked for non-profits using Sage Intacct for Non-profits:
Ever feel like as soon as your team completes monthly reporting, it’s time to start pulling reports for the next month? If you do, you’re not alone. One in five non-profits spends a full 40+ hour week on monthly reporting—that’s three months out of each year! The biggest drag on reporting time is an outdated or underpowered financial system. If you have to pull information out and manipulate it in a spreadsheet every month, it slows down the process and potentially introduces errors.
Best-in-class cloud solutions provide easy-to-use, automated reporting. Instead of circulating static reports, the finance team can provide leaders with real-time dashboards containing dynamic reports and data visualisations. Leaders stay better informed and the finance team can spend more time analysing performance and less time formatting reports.
Without the real-time visibility made possible by a cloud financial management solution, leaders often have to delay decisions or make them without knowing all of the relevant facts. Backward-looking reports and analysis force organisations to operate on a reactive footing rather than a proactive one.
Transforming finance with a modern, cloud non-profit financial management solution enables staff, leaders, donors, and board members to operate with real-time insights about financial and operational performance, including outcomes and KPIs. For example, this Outcomes dashboard in Sage Intacct can be tailored for each user’s role, so it will display the most critical metrics that support mission success.
Without integration between business applications, non-profits cannot see what’s happening from a high level across the organisation. Data connectivity is an integral part of non-profit finance transformation. Without it, data simply doesn’t flow where it is needed and that can lead to various departments keeping their own set of tools, reports and spreadsheets—a disaster for both data accuracy and information sharing.
It was often very difficult, time-consuming and costly to integrate on-premise software systems. Luckily, cloud technology is very different. Open API architecture lets best-in-class cloud applications connect easily to one another, so non-profits can use the best applications for their organisations with confidence that data will not get trapped in disparate systems. With connectivity that transforms, decision makers analyse information in one place even though the underlying data may be flowing from many systems, including accounting, billing, donor/grant management, case management, CRM and others.
When email first arrived on the scene, it opened up a whole new kind of collaboration within organisations. It’s a great tool, but with time, email also became a burden to keep up with. Endless email threads. Mailboxes stuffed full of old emails being kept ‘just in case’ you need to refer back to them later. Worst of all, much of that history and data get lost when a team member leaves the organisation.
Non-profit finance transformation should include better ways to collaborate. It’s preferable to address questions and resolve issues within the system of record. Keeping conversations inside the financial management application provides an auditable trail of information and ensures you don’t have to explain a situation repeatedly.
Transforming the finance function with a best-in-class, cloud non-profit accounting software can help non-profits achieve a higher return-on-mission. In our rapidly changing world, it’s very difficult to make wise decisions without the automation, reporting, visibility, integration, and collaboration made possible by non-profit finance transformation. Sage Intacct’s cloud accounting software and solutions helps thousands of non-profits move forward in their digital transformation journeys.
The Akuna Solutions Team