Many people assume that once you’ve invested in nonprofit accounting software, the hard work is done. You’ve done your research, chosen a viable solution to fit your organization’s needs, and now you can sit back, relax, and let the software do its thing. Right? Not exactly. In order to continue benefiting from your fund accounting software, you need to be proactive about its upkeep. Software maintenance is one of the lesser talked about subjects on nonprofit software blogs; however, we think it’s one of the most important issues related to your software investment.
When you invest a substantial amount of resources (time, money, etc.) into a fund accounting software solution, there is a reasonable expectation that the software should provide benefits to your organization for years to come. For nonprofit organizations with a fairly stable environment, this is the case. However, some circumstances warrant a shift in the functions and design of your accounting software. If these changes are not addressed in a timely manner, your software and accounting processes could become ineffective.
What could disrupt the effectiveness of my fund accounting software?
There are many events that could disrupt the effectiveness of your fund accounting solution. Even something as simple as insufficient training could have the potential to impact the effectiveness of your solution. Here’s a list of the most common things we’ve seen impact the effectiveness of our clients’ solutions:
- Functional reorganization
- Merging with a similar organization (or organizations)
- The inclusion of more or substantially different types of funding
- Key financial personnel turnover
- Significant growth of operational revenue
- Significant loss of operational revenue
- The introduction of substantially different programs, services and activities
- New nonprofit regulatory requirements
- New nonprofit financial reporting expectations
- The passage of time
If your organization has experienced one or more of these natural nonprofit life events, it may be time to evaluate the effectiveness of your fund accounting software and see if any changes need to be made. It’s important to note, however, that just because you are experiencing deficiencies with your software does not necessarily mean you need to replace your entire solution. In fact, more often than not, the solution lies in the software itself. You just have to utilize a few tools and processes to obtain the level of efficiency you once experienced.
If I don’t need to replace my fund accounting software, how do I go about maximizing its effectiveness?
In order to realize the full potential of your fund accounting software solution, you need to periodically evaluate your system and how you are using it. Start by asking yourself the following questions:
- Are we fully utilizing the applications and features contained within our fund accounting solution? If not, what are some specific ways we can start using these to improve our processes and maximize our efficiency?
- Is the Chart of Accounts designed for our ideal operational and financial reporting structure? If not, what changes need to be made?
- Is our financial system working seamlessly with our entire back-office operation? Are our solutions communicating well with each other, or are there information gaps?
- Is everyone on our team adequately trained on the software so it can be properly utilized?
- Are there optional tools or 3rd party applications that we can integrate with our software to improve our financial accountability and effectiveness?
If you can begin identifying the areas of inefficiency within your fund accounting software and developing solutions (either features already contained in your software or outside of your solution), then you can restore your software back to the effective solution it was meant to be.
If you could use some help maximizing your software’s effectiveness, contact us today. We routinely help our clients better utilize their fund accounting software solutions so they can operate to the best of their ability and continue making a difference in their communities.