Here are the Basics for Nonprofit Accountants Interested In Cloud Computing
It’s just like switching your morning workout from the usual run to a group fitness workout. It can be scary at first, but after you give it a try you may never want to go back to that boring old run. Many nonprofit accountants can be reluctant about switching their files and systems to cloud based nonprofit technology. They are comfortable with their current system. With cloud computing you use shared servers and hardware to store files and run programs. These can be accessed from any device that is connected to Wi-Fi.
Concerns about switching to the cloud based nonprofit technology range from security concerns to cost concerns. Advances and changes in computing often come with some anxiety. Accountants who, in times past, purchased new hardware and upgraded their programs annually, suddenly find themselves considering site licenses, monthly or annual fees, and new business considerations related to cloud computing. It’s definitely a shift in how organizations think about their technology needs and roll out tech changes.
Dispelling the myths surrounding cloud computing can help you feel more confident as you consider the options. Cloud computing is now ubiquitous in many industries, and nonprofit accountants are catching on to its many benefits.
Cloud Computing Concerns
First, let’s address typical concerns shared by nonprofit accountants regarding moving to the cloud.
- Security: Many fear that because public clouds, or the typical cloud solution embraced by the average organization, aren’t as secure as paper-based files or networks housed within their physical office. Consider your current security situation for your files. Are valuable files backed up on your server? If so, where are the backups housed? Do you lock your file cabinets, and are they located in rooms with locking doors? Many offices use convenient central files that, while they take up less space and make it easier for workers to access, are by no means as secure as the company assumes. Cloud security, on the other hand, is usually top-notch. Because the companies providing the cloud invest heavily in security, they can afford the best and are constantly updating and upgrading their technology. They may still be breached or hacked, but they are probably more secure than what you are currently using.
- Costs: Cloud costs may be confusing at first, but they tend to be less than what you would spend on upgrading your hardware. Many cloud solutions provide a monthly fee with an annual subscription that offers significant savings. If you amortize the cost of hardware and software investments in the past, cloud computing tends to come out ahead in terms of cost savings.
- Mobility: Many nonprofit accountants take work home, especially during busy times of year such as end of quarter and the spring run-up to tax season. Cloud computing is mobile, and can be accessed anywhere you have a web connection. This makes it easy to log on from home, complete your work, and access it again from the office the following day. If you travel frequently, or work onsite at a client’s location, you can also access all of your files no matter where you are.
Choosing a Cloud Vendor
As you can see, cloud based nonprofit technology offers many advantages for nonprofit accountants. If you are considering a cloud vendor, review several to find the best match for your requirements.
- Check references and delve into the vendor’s reputation.
- Request data on downtimes. How does the vendor handle outages and problems?
- Do they have someone available 24/7 to help you by phone, email or chat, or do they limit communications?
- Who owns the data?
- Do they own their own server or rent space from another company?
- What support and backup do they offer? How frequently is data backed up, and what are their recovery plans if data is lost?
- What security do they have in place?
- What is the cost and contract terms?
Cloud computing offers exciting opportunities for flexibility, cost-savings and security. Moving to the cloud is usually a smart choice for nonprofit accountants.
Now that you understand how cloud-based accounting software for nonprofits can be useful for your organization, we invite you to give RBP Methods a call. Whether you’re interested in AccuFund Nonprofit Accounting Suite , Abila MIP Fund Accounting or other accounting software, we offer information, training and support to help you manage your nonprofit accounting needs. Please contact us today for more information.