Nonprofit accounting software now includes cloud-based software, a type of software that’s revolutionizing how organizations work.
A recent meeting of the AICPA nonprofit group examined the question of cloud computing for nonprofits. Nonprofit accounting, when it meets cloud computing, offers a flexible, effective, and efficient method of sharing accounting data and software throughout your organization. For many nonprofits, “going to the cloud” isn’t a question of whether they’ll head there or not—it’s a question of when.
What Is the Cloud?
Cloud computing refers to an internet-based method of computing that uses shared severs to access software and store data. If you’ve used programs like Google Docs, photo editing software, or even social media sites, you’ve been to the cloud. Each uses cloud-based functions to share resources, information, and more.
Cloud-based computing is rapidly overtaking software-based solutions. Some software companies are no longer offering disks of their products, but are instead offering download-only or cloud-only access. This offers many benefits, including easier updates and upgrades, monthly licenses, easier expansion for more employees to access it, and more.
Considerations for Cloud Computing for Nonprofit Accounting
For your nonprofit accounting needs, cloud-based computing has come a long way since its inception. Today’s cloud-based nonprofit accounting systems offer the same robust array of services as older software-based systems without the hassle of expensive packages.
There are still several considerations that the AICPA brought up in their meeting. These include:
• Security: Third party vendors of cloud-based services should offer information about the security levels and protocols they’ve put into place to safeguard your data and your donor data. What steps are they taking to protect credit card information and other sensitive data?
• Understanding: Make sure that the third-party vendors understand your organization’s needs. Although many nonprofits share common needs, each is unique, and a cloud-based solution should offer some level of customization, if necessary, to meet your needs.
• Data storage: Find out where the data is stored. Learn more about backup systems, system outage times, and other information that affects data storage and retrieval. Ask for facts, figures, and reports that support any claims.
• Protocols: If you decide to change vendors, what is their protocol? How can you access the data and how quickly can you remove it if you decide to switch vendors?
Reasons to Switch to the Cloud
Nonprofits considering making the switch to the cloud may want to know some of the reasons offered by others for making the move to the cloud. One reason that’s often cited is the lower cost of cloud-based computing. Since you no longer house the data on-site, you no longer need expensive servers or people to monitor and manage them. These expenses are reduced.
Data can be accessed anytime, anywhere, as long as you have an internet connection. This includes access for telecommuting workers, remote staff, or people traveling on business.
Lastly, security is better. Cloud servers are frequently backed up so that client data isn’t lost in the event of an outage. It’s a great reason to switch to the cloud.
Abila Cloud-Based Solutions from RBP Methods
Accounting software for nonprofits includes cloud-based Abila software from RBP Methods. At RBP Methods, we work hard to understand your nonprofit organization’s unique needs, and look for ways to support them. We know that it’s hard to understand the ever-changing world of nonprofit financial management, and we’re here to help you navigate it. We welcome the opportunity to assist your nonprofit. Contact us at 503-648-9051.