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How digital accounting software is transforming charity finance

Darren-Cran AccountsIQ
Published by Darren Cran on 14th October 2021

Charities have responded swiftly and creatively to the challenges of Covid-19. Most notably, according to the latest Covid-19 Voluntary Sector Impact Barometer, there’s been a huge uptake in the use of digital technology. This is evident in both frontline service delivery and back-office operations, such as finance, where many organisations have used the crisis as a catalyst to develop better and more efficient processes.

Here are some of the key charity sector research findings:

  • 81% of charities have changed the way they use digital technology as a result of the pandemic
  • 82% said their employees and volunteers were using digital technology to work remotely (compared to 41% before the pandemic).

The research also revealed that the main barriers charities face in their use of digital technology revolve around:

  • Digital skills (of employees, volunteers and service users)
  • The cost of equipment and software.

Here are 5 ways AccountsIQ’s Cloud accounting software can help charity finance teams overcome digital challenges:

1. Meeting the needs of complex, multi-income and multi-entity organisations

Many non-profits face more complex accounting challenges than commercial operations of the same size. For example, even relatively small charities can have overseas operations or separate trading entities, such as online and offline retail. As a result, they find themselves in a more complex accounting world.

Transparency is fundamental to charity finance, which is why AccountsIQ enables you to report on income and expenditure by up to six dimensions, for example cost centre, project, campaign and funding source. Traditionally, only enterprise-level solutions offered such extensive reporting; but they’re unaffordable for most charities. With AccountsIQ, you get all the functionality you need (along with licences, hosting, support, upgrades and disaster recovery) for an affordable monthly fee.

Many charities have multiple entities, centres or locations under one charity number. With AccountsIQ, consolidated reporting (including multi-currency) is built in. This transforms what was once a time-consuming process into one, simple click.

2. Making SORP compliance easier

AccountsIQ meets the needs of FRS102 and supports separation of funds and SoFA reporting.

Charity finance directors have long struggled to find a system that complies with the application guidance for charity accounting, SORP (Statement of Recommended Practice). Under the SORP, charities must provide detailed analysis of income and expenditure activities; that includes presenting and disclosing every activity and source of funds. Charities will often carry out a range of different activities and they need an accounting system that enables them to track all of them quickly and easily.

3. Enabling efficient, nimble operations through automation and integration

With AccountsIQ you can automate, simplify and integrate most of your data processing. Some of the key features that help keep charities operationally light include:

  • An automated cash collection sheet that tots up cash and then banks it online, while allocating it to its source in the chart of accounts. The same applies to integrated banking, expense capture, CRM and Gift Aid connectors.
  • Automated approval documents and alerts delivered to budget holders, who can instantly sign off via a mobile app. You can also automate payments, reconciliation and month-end journaling.
  • Pre-defined dashboards provide automated financial reports in real time. You can also build your own reports or work freely between your AccountsIQ platform and Excel.
  • The ability to integrate AccountsIQ with your front-of-house, point-of-sale and fundraising systems or with CRM systems, such as Salesforce.

4. Dealing with VAT reporting and Making Tax Digital (MTD)

AccountsIQ has full VAT/MTD capabilities for both single and group entities. That includes complex processes that many charities have to deal with, such as partial exemption from VAT. For example, it’s not unusual for a multi-entity charity to handle zero-rated, exempt, and standard rate VAT under the same charity number.

5. Providing a secure yet accessible finance system

Online security is essential when you’re holding sensitive data relating to high-profile trustees and donors or vulnerable beneficiaries. With AccountsIQ, your team has 24x7 global access to your finance system, with secure user profiling, unlimited storage, and minimal to no local infrastructure, making it ideal for multi-location charities. It’s easy to configure and intuitive for light or occasional users to use, even if they don’t have an accounting background.

Check out all the features of AccountsIQ’s Cloud-based Charity & Non-Profit Accounting Software.

AccountsIQ already supports the accounting needs of over 100 charities. You can read some of their stories here.

Sign up for our Charity Finance Webinar on 3 November 2021.

Our free charity finance webinar is ideal for anyone working in a charity finance role - from finance directors, CEOs and finance managers, to treasurers and trustees, and consultants.  

Our COO, Darren Cran, and Business Development Executive, Natalia Ferreira, will cover how we can help you meet your reporting and compliance requirements, including:

Reporting (by department, activity, project, or funding source) using multi-dimensional analysis with up to six BI codes to accommodate your operational structure

  • Dual reporting by activity and trading with support for partial VAT
  • Designated restricted and non-restricted fund reporting (fully SORP-compliant)
  • Single source of truth: how to integrate your critical systems (such as Salesforce, EPOS systems, donation systems, and GiftAid) using our API
  • Automated consolidation of trusts, funds and entities to a single or multiple charity number
  • VAT reporting/Making Tax Digital for single/group entity charities.

Reserve your free place at our Charity Finance webinar 11AM on 3 November 2021.

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