The Not for Profit sector has had a tough year with many charities’ income seriously impacted by the Coronavirus pandemic. Not for profit accounting is often quite complex, as not for profit organisations typically have much more reporting complexity than commercial businesses of the same size. One of the challenges often facing CFOs in the charity sector, is finding an accounting system which meets their reporting requirements at a price they can afford.
Challenges faced in Not for Profit accounting
Many not for profits struggle to deal with multiple VAT treatments, multiple currency transactions and SORP compliance reporting, all of which AccountsIQ accommodates including:
- Managing restricted and non-restricted funds and SORP requirements
- Producing SoFA compliant reports
- Posting transactions and reporting in multiple currencies
- Consolidated reporting and revenue recognition across multiple revenue streams
- Gift Aid reporting
- Consolidation of multiple legal entities including trading operations
Many not for profits’ reporting requirements mean that the ‘starter’ cloud accounting systems are not suitable. But there is no need to get a custom-built finance solution as AccountsIQ meets the needs of complex accounting and multi-dimensional reporting, without the huge cost of an ERP system.
Artichoke Trust were looking to switch from Sage Financials to a new finance system which was strong on dimensional reporting and analysis and that provided the structure for SORP compliance. Neil Goulder, Finance Director, Artichoke Trust explains:
As a charity managing multiple projects at once, each with varying budgets and funding sources, Artichoke Trust has unique accounting requirements when it comes to project accounting which need to be SORP compliant. In particular, it requires a granular level of detail to ensure accurate recording of core project costs as well as the ability to record project costs against phases.”
Dimensions are really important to us. We looked at Sage 50, but that only had two dimensions. We needed at least four, covering cost centres; projects; project phases; and individual light installations. There are some very expensive systems which can do it but there aren’t many affordable systems which offer this level of flexibility. That was an absolute ‘must’ from our point of view. AccountsIQ is the only product I’ve seen that allows you to create these ‘conditional’ dimensions. Neil Glover, Finance Director, Artichoke Trust
SORP compliant reporting
AccountsIQ is brilliant at accommodating the structure needed for the SORP. We pull the information into our format live from AccountsIQ through Excel. It’s an incredibly quick and efficient process. Neil Glover, Finance Director, Artichoke Trust
Increasing efficiency in not for profit accounting with automation and streamlined workflow
Not-for-profits are often staffed with employees who are volunteers as well as paid employees whose skill-sets can vary greatly. It is important to make processes as efficient as possible and ensure the finance system is intuitive, easy to work with, and has adequate controls in place to limit user activity as appropriate. Many not for profits put up with legacy finance systems which can be costly and difficult to update. Software-as-a-Subscription (SaaS) type cloud finance systems are a real option for those looking to drive down cost and move to smarter finance processes.
AccountsIQ features an automated bank reconciliation functionality and a document manager which means month end reconciliation process can be sped up considerably. Paperwork can be uploaded against transactions which makes it much easier to provide information to auditors and also facilitates a mostly paperless environment, which enables data to be kept in one place, largely automated, without the need for other spreadsheets or manual processes.
I really like the way the Bank Rec module works. The system with Sage Financials was so overcomplicated we never used it and worked in spreadsheets instead. AccountsIQ is very straightforward. I like the way it recognises past transactions and fills in as much of the information as it can, which really speeds up the process.
With smart use of the dimensions coding structure, I can get every piece of information needed into AccountsIQ so that I don’t have to maintain control accounts manually in Excel. It saves us a huge amount of time.
Sophisticated Not for Profit accounting software
AccountsIQ has designed affordable not for profit accounting software which is written from scratch as a true cloud product to meet the more advanced accounting needs of larger organisations. As a Cloud-based accounting application, it comes at a more affordable price than PC-based systems with similar capabilities. Supporting over 100 charities whose operations span multiple legal entities worldwide, AccountsIQ has been proven to meet the complex accounting and consolidation requirements for the charity sector.
John Tate, ex-Special Adviser to the Charity Finance Group wrote a report on the issues facing the charity sector and reviewed AccountsIQ’s accounting software suitability for charities.
AccountsIQ has enormous potential to produce Management Information Reports. In order for us to create automated reporting packs and make dashboards meaningful, we have been working with AccountsIQ’s very flexible coding structure to ensure it is optimised for our purposes. The ability to define user access and create custom reports will allow us to cascade reporting throughout the Trust in a relevant way.”
Charlie Inigo-Jones, Director of Finance, Hampshire Cultural Trust
Integration with other applications for fundraising, membership or event management
Some of AccountsIQ’s customers in the Not-For-Profit sector include:
- Welsh Council for Voluntary Action
- Whale and Dolphin Conservation
- Artichoke Trust
- Hampshire Cultural Trust
- American Chamber of Commerce Ireland
- Enclude charity technology consultancy
- Archdiocese of Dublin
- Diocese of Southwark
- Diocese of Arundel and Brighton and hundreds of others.
Charities often have a wide range of issues to deal with when choosing not for profit accounting software, so if you would like to see how AccountsIQ makes accounting for charities easier for organisations large and small, get in touch, Request a Demo or join one of our Webinars.
You may be interested to read our COO, Darren Cran’s article ‘Seeing through the cloud: automating finance for charities’ for ACCA’s Accounting and Business Magazine.