Tips for Implementing a New Nonprofit Fund Accounting Solution

Nonprofit-Fund-Accounting-SolutionHas your nonprofit organization recently switched to a new nonprofit fund accounting software solution? Or has your organization finally made the decision to switch to nonprofit fund accounting from commercial accounting software?

Switching to nonprofit fund accounting software (or upgrading your current software) can be a daunting process that many organizations would rather avoid. Changing software can become a nightmare if you are ill-prepared, often resulting in data loss and long periods of downtime. It’s no mystery why many organizations opt to operate in their current solution rather than switch to one they know would be a better fit.

However, changing your nonprofit fund accounting software does not have to leave you with a headache. With careful planning and communication among staff members, the process can actually be quite smooth and efficient. If you are ready to switch to a new nonprofit fund accounting solution, keep the following suggestions in mind as you go about choosing and implementing your new software:

  1. Include Employees in the Selection and Implementation Process
    While it may seem somewhat unnecessary to keep all of your employees in the loop, these are the people who will be most affected by a software change. Give them their due respect and keep their input in mind. When choosing a new nonprofit fund accounting solution, make sure it addresses the issues employees are currently having with the nonprofit fund accounting software. If it does not fix a problem or make the nonprofit fund accounting process more efficient, it will just become a burden on all employees involved.Once you’ve chosen your new software, make sure to explain all of the benefits of the new solution (which should include: better reporting, easy navigation, quality customer service from the vendor, etc.) and how it will affect your employees. Selling your employees on the new nonprofit fund accounting solution from the start will guarantee a smoother implementation and software adaptation process.
  2. Set up Training Procedures
    Before you even start implementing your new nonprofit fund accounting software, you need to decide what type of training will be needed for the solution and determine who should receive the training.
  3. Document Processes and Procedures
    Now is the perfect time to document your organization’s processes and procedures.  By documenting your processes and procedures, you are safeguarding your organization from any potential oversight and guaranteeing that the upcoming transition is as smooth and effective as possible.
  4. Ensure Easy Transfer of Your Data
    The most common problem organizations face when implementing or changing their nonprofit fund accounting software is data loss. Ensure that your data remains safe and accurate by choosing a solution with an import function. In addition, speak to technical support to find out if the import function is compatible with your current system. If the solution does not have an import function, make sure you have a detailed plan in place for data migration.Addressing the issue beforehand will keep your critical data and information safe and ready to function in the new environment.
  5. Check Out the Vendor
    Make sure that the vendor or software company offers your organization support through the implementation process. Software implementation is often quite tricky, and you will most likely need support every now and then. Address costs prior to implementation and makes sure that all additional costs are outlined in the beginning.
  6. Set a “Live” Date and Stick to It
    Many organizations prefer to go live with their software at the beginning of a new fiscal year. While this may be a great time to start, a new nonprofit accounting solution can be implemented successfully at any time of the year. If your organization does not want to wait until the beginning of the year, choose a new quarter or month to go live with your software.
  7. Check for Data Integrity
    Decide what type of conversion process you will use to ensure the integrity of the data transferred prior to implementing the new nonprofit fund accounting software. After the data has been converted, make sure the new software is producing the expected results. Print out all reports for every module and, prior to the conversion process, take a look at your current reports and make sure that the new software can give you the data you need in the proper format. If not, figure out how to create the proper reports.Before entering any new data into the new nonprofit fund accounting software, verify that all general ledger accounts and applications are in agreement. Compare trial balances and other important reports before proceeding.
  8. Have a Backup Plan
    Make sure that you have backups of any old software. If you don’t have a backup on hand, make sure your previous vendor does. It’s always good to be prepared!

While it may seem like a daunting process, changing to a new nonprofit fund accounting solution can be extremely beneficial to your organization. If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact us today.