When it comes to accounting software, one program does not fit all, especially when you’re in a nonprofit organisation (NPO). As a business falling under this category, you have specific requirements that most financial solutions don’t cover, so you need to use accounting software designed for NPOs.
In your line of work, you deal with things like grants, donors, and other less common financial debits and credits. Non profit accounting software in Australia or anywhere else should make the accounting and reporting process easier for you, not a headache. You need a program that includes these six selection criteria for that to happen.
Your Business’s Essentials
Let’s start with the most important feature: Everything that is unique to your staff and your stakeholders. Talk to those who will be using the software to see if they have any requests. After all, they’ll be the main people interacting with the program regularly.
It should be user-friendly and simple to understand. It does help if tech support is available in a timeframe that works for you.
Integration With Your Technology
Tech support will be an important part of the installation process, especially if you don’t have a “techie” in your office. As you decide on your software, look at the integration specifics and ensure it aligns with your current programs, hardware, and operating systems.
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Your current tech infrastructure has limitations. You don’t want to invest in something that is too memory or graphic-heavy to run quickly on your system or that won’t work on your outdated equipment.
You could upgrade, and that’s never a bad idea, but if that’s not in your budget at the moment, look for something that your current technology can handle.
With nonprofits, the cost is always a vital consideration. You can only purchase things that are within your budget. But be very cautious and ensure you’re looking at the whole cost, not just the initial purchase.
Accounting software often comes with licenses or subscriptions. However, you may also need to pay for training, support costs, added hardware, and ongoing expenses.
While you’re comparing programs based on prices, include:
- Subscription fees.
- All training and support costs.
- The expenses you’ll incur as you maintain and upgrade the software.
If the final figures are still within your budget or at least close to the target, you can keep looking at the rest of the features.
Now that you have a few potential software systems on your list, it’s time to start checking the reviews. Bear in mind that some of those positive testimonials will be paid for advertising, while some of the negatives will be from users who didn’t reach out for help or had a random bad experience.
What is the overall opinion of people in nonprofits like yours on various sites? Is the software easy to use? Are the tech support helpers good at responding? Does the report feature include everything it says?
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Cross off any software with consistently negative feedback. You don’t want to take a chance on something this important.
Next, it’s time to contact the vendors and request a free demo. You’ll get a short period of time during which you can use the software, ask questions, and get a feel for how it works. While you have the demo, make sure to check out all the essential reporting features you’d need regularly.
You’ve had your hands on the software and know how it works. You’ve talked to the company’s representatives to get a feel for their professionalism and support. The last aspect to consider is your challenges with your new system.
And there will be challenges, just as there are challenges to keeping your current system. But with the right software, the benefits far outweigh those drawbacks. Instead of seeing them as an obstacle, prepare for them, and your implementation will run smoother.
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For instance, with any new software, there’s a learning curve. During that time, your staff’s productivity won’t be quite as high as usual. This may mean a decrease in revenue, so you’ll want to be aware of and ready for that.
Regardless of the challenges, it’s exciting to bring new accounting software to help run a nonprofit easier. Use these six selection criteria to choose your next program and enjoy the benefits it brings you!