Fantasy, Science Fiction, and Nonprofit Finances: 5 Reasons to Invest in Good Accounting Software

As any fiction writer will tell you, there’s a lot to learn from make-believe. What is life if not a series of stories, each with its own setting, characters, problems, climax, and solution? With this in mind, take a moment, relax a little, and fire up the nerdy side of your brain. Today I’m going to use some basic principles from fantasy and science fiction to illuminate some important concepts about why nonprofits need good accounting software.


Before you begin this adventure, you need to understand some fundamentals. First, in this story your nonprofit is the main character. Second, your nonprofit, like any adventure hero, has a mission. There is a long, sometimes beautiful, sometimes difficult journey towards achieving that mission. Third, there are other characters in this story. Among others, you have wise sages (the finance team), sidekicks (your nonprofit’s entire team of employees), and benefactors (funders). Lastly, this adventure will be hard work. If it was easy, someone else would have done it already.

Nonprofit Finances: 5 Reasons to Invest in Good Accounting Software
Nonprofit Finances: 5 Reasons to Invest in Good Accounting Software

Okay, wonderful hero, are you ready to learn five simple reasons why good accounting software will help you achieve your mission? Let’s begin. Good accounting software will help your nonprofit:


  1. Invest Now to Begin Building Your Powers for the Future


Implementing better accounting software before you grow is like the hero pausing to heal and learn new skills in a safe place before setting out on an even more dangerous portion of the journey.

If your nonprofit has plans to expand its offerings, implementing good accounting software can ensure the scalability of your organization’s finances. A high-quality financial solution is also flexible and customizable, which means it can provide the functionality you need even if your organization branches out into a slightly different form of charity, grows in its international dealings, decentralizes, or gains funds with complex restrictions.


  1. Help Your Sidekicks Complete Their Own Missions


To complete your mission, you will need to empower your sidekicks to use their best strengths for the good of the team. Your employees have goals of their own to complete, and many of them may not fully realize the importance of finances in their ability to do these missions. Many non-finance people are automatically intimidated by the money and bookkeeping side of the business. Unfortunately, it’s still important for them to understand their quotidian role in helping the organization be financially sustainable. A good financial system can offer easy-to-use interfaces and the ability to create dashboards that show KPIs or outcome metrics, which are a way of displaying data that helps employees who aren’t accounting experts track their progress towards a variety of goals. This can help your entire team feel invested in the financial success of the organization by showing the effect that money has when it comes to gaining resources or meeting other goals.


  1. Increase Support from Powerful Benefactors


Every hero needs patrons in high places to lend support when the going gets rough. When funders are deciding which organizations deserve their donations the most, they often focus on nonprofits with the most transparency and accountability. Nonprofits that can stand up to these high levels of scrutiny will do better in the long run because doing well in these areas, in addition to encouraging more funding, is a sign of financial sustainability.


Good accounting software will help your organization achieve these concepts by giving you the detailed, up-to-date information that you need to make good decisions about the future of your nonprofit. With the proper accounting software, automated features such as budgeting and spend management help ensure that your organization doesn’t lose money in unnecessary ways. In contrast, outdated systems, Excel spreadsheets, and manual processing can allow money to slip through the cracks, especially for growing organizations that are in the process of decentralizing.


In summary, higher financial efficiency will assure your funders that their money is being put to good use, and will encourage future funding.


  1. Help Your Sages Increase Their Wisdom


Your financial team are the sages that can guide your nonprofit by illuminating the journey ahead through their foresight. These sages are absolutely essential towards achieving your mission. Without somebody who will do a good job of keeping the books, your organization is dead in the water. Unfortunately, accountants have a finite amount of time, and nonprofits stereotypically rely on outdated financial systems that force the financial team to spend all of their time doing manual tasks. Things like report writing, budgeting, expense management, and invoicing can all require a significant amount of time if they involve too many manual steps. This takes away from time the team could spend doing more value-added work, and puts increased strain on them if your nonprofit tries to expand its services.


Good accounting software automates these processes and frees up your financial team, giving them time to improve their systems, track more data, double-check their work, and maybe even relax a little. Better financial software empowers your finance team to do more important things, and the information they will gain can provide crucial advantages when your nonprofit is trying to succeed in a cutthroat world.


  1. Be More Powerful


This is the top reason to have good accounting software. If you think this sounds like some sort of “join me or die” declaration from a magical overlord, you’re completely correct. That magical overlord is Money. Money doesn’t control everything, but it comes impressively close. We’ve all heard the saying “money is power,” and for your nonprofit that’s pretty much true. You have goals. Money will give you the resources you need to achieve those goals.


Bad accounting solutions can hinder your use of money for many reasons. Systems requiring lots of manual inputs, such as an excessive reliance on outdated spreadsheets, slow down the time it takes to acquire information. This means that by the time your team has compiled the data, it’s already old. Having the wrong accounting software can also limit the types of data you have easy access to. There is a lot more to good accounting than just the general ledger and a handful of subledgers.


A good financial solution, on the other hand, makes it easy to gather a wider array of knowledge. Many modern solutions will automatically update with real-time data, which means that you’re making decisions with the most relevant information possible. They can also incorporate more data into financial reports and dashboards.


Overall, good accounting software helps you understand how to use your money. Money is power. Know more about your money, know more about your power.


Alright, courageous hero. Now you’ve learned more about some of the financial tools you’ll need for your journey; go forth, gather your strength, and accomplish your mission. Come back for more information after you’ve reached the next solar system or simply contact a Partner like The Resource Group.


By Saeward Schillaci, The Resource Group

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