6 Red Flags to Avoid when Implementing Nonprofit Software

Red flag in a danger kite launching area

A red flag is used as a metaphor to signal that something is wrong. Although no one likes it when a red flag appears, if its warning is heeded it can be used to stave off potential dangers.

Although the process of implementing fund accounting software doesn’t propose the same danger as a wildfire, we know that if not done properly, the damage could be similar.  It’s vital that your team adopts new systems and if the implementation process goes awry, you may burn the staff which will leave scars for years to come.

To avoid implementation failure, watch out for these six red flags:

Lack of employee support. Hypothetically speaking, a CFO might independently purchase new software and run the implementation herself. But, it fails when this C-level executive doesn’t have a strong understanding of all the functionality the frontline team needs from the software. It’s absolutely crucial to have buy-in from the employees who will be using the system day-in and day-out. Plus, they can be a tremendous resource in determining system customizations and training needs.

Turnover in finance and management. Turnover in leadership can result in a canceled or delayed implementation. It’s important to have a strong leader in place who’s willing to get employee buy-in, drive the schedule, and manage the change.

Inadequate training and support. Don’t cheap out on training! Make the investment in training upfront, or it could cost you much more in the long-run. Your team will waste a lot of valuable time calling support if it isn’t properly trained during implementation, and the emotional toll this creates could cost you even more.

Improperly built reporting structure. Required reports need to be identified at the beginning of implementation so the structure can be built accordingly. When people can’t get the reports they need, it’s not typically a fault of the tool, but a fault in how the structure was initially implemented. A successful implementation means the reports are built automatically in the software.

Lack of separation of job duties and audit trails. If this isn’t correctly set up during implementation, it will, no doubt, need to be reconfigured. A correct set-up will help detect fraud and ensure data security. This can be a difficult task at a smaller nonprofit in which there are many shared duties.

Weak foundation of fund accounting basics. There can be an unrealistic expectation that by implementing fund accounting software, all of your issues will be resolved. However, if those leading the accounting department don’t understand the basics of fund accounting, they may create a structure that’s too linear and constricting.

Here at RBP Methods we offer nonprofit accounting software and many other solutions that we consider the best in the market today and, just as importantly, solutions that we believe will continue to be strong in the groundbreakers of tomorrow. We believe in stopping the 7-year-itch cycle of changing software. We have seen a great deal of change in the software industry for governmental sector and non-profit sector and we know what stands the test of time. Our years of experience, study, and in-depth industry knowledge give us the edge of quickly learning how to implement the best solution in your situation. For more information contact us, today.