Wealthy donors who fund most philanthropic foundations have high expectations around financial accountability, transparency, and efficiency. Cloud accounting software for nonprofit management enables grantmaking foundations and philanthropic charities to focus their time and energy on their mission. Nearly 76 billion dollars were given by charitable foundations in 2019. Seventeen percent of those charitable dollars are given to nonprofit organizations from foundations, and mostly through grantmaking, which is a lot to try to manage manually.
Finance leaders stated in recent interviews that Sage Intacct cloud accounting software helped them solve four of their greatest challenges:
1: Reducing the struggles and costs of outdated technology
On-premise accounting systems are older and come with many issues. They either tend to be overly complicated and expensive to maintain, or underpowered and lacking in functionality. You don’t get the specialized tracking, reporting, and accounting functionality you need, or pay too much for features you don't use. Either way, these solutions are inefficient and inflexible.
In contrast, cloud accounting software, like Sage Intacct, is designed specifically to meet the fund accounting needs of nonprofits as well as the unique needs of grantmaking foundations and philanthropic charities while remaining affordable and easy to use. There is no IT infrastructure to maintain and foundations never need to maintain the system or install an update to benefit from the latest functionality.
Another important benefit of cloud accounting software is being able to work from home (or from anywhere). This was highlighted during the COVID-19 pandemic. Foundations and charities with cloud accounting systems could shift seamlessly from working at the office to working from home.
2: Automate reporting and improve financial visibility
Philanthropic charities and grantmaking foundations often find it difficult to get the data they want in a usable format when using on-premises accounting software. Finance teams often pull the accounting data into Excel in order to manipulate it, since it can be hard to customize reports in the system. All of the manual data processing means that by the time reports are distributed, data contained is already days, weeks, or even a month old.
On the other hand, cloud accounting makes it easy to report on the data you want in easy-to-understand financial reports and dashboards. Sage Intacct offers role-based dashboards that enable at-a-glance information, so executives and managers can see what is most important to them. If there is a trend that needs deeper analysis, they can easily drill down to individual transactions data. The dashboards and reports display real time data, so you can spot trends, perform daily proactive analysis, and become a more strategic partner to the executive team. Real-time data has proven to be extremely important during the COVID-19 pandemic, giving you the data you need to respond to rapidly changing events.
With Sage Intacct, grantmaking foundations and philanthropic charities can create a variety of financial reports and dashboards that give key stakeholders a real-time view into the data they need for critical decision-making.
3: Streamline tax, audit, and accounting processes
Charities accounting and reporting processes show increased efficiency on cloud accounting software. Most foundations and charities complete their monthly close cycle in far less time by automating manual processes, including reporting, approvals, and data entry. On top of freeing up resources and saving time and money, the added efficiency of cloud accounting technology can ease the administrative burden associated with tax preparation and audits.
4: Improve insight for decision-making
It is important to see the big picture to improve financial insights, including all the data about grants and impact investments. Cloud accounting software with API integration lets you easily bring in data from grant management and investment management applications. Automatically exchanging information between systems avoids human error, and allows the organization to benefit from more timely, reliable insight.
Cloud accounting software helps foundations and philanthropic charities deliver better mission impact and maximize stewardship in many ways. From streamlining reporting and compliance to delivering immediate visibility, charity accounting in the cloud delivers better insights, efficiency gains, and the flexibility to respond to changing conditions.