In direct conflict with cut backs, the importance of embracing the digital world has never been more prevalent in the charity sector.
Why do charities need finance software?
Challenges facing charities is a balancing act of cost reductions with the need to invest more in IT to improve efficiencies such as integrating the online capture of donations with back office solutions and to report effectively the performance and activity from the distribution of funds. Budgeting and planning has also been heavily reliant on spreadsheets making it difficult to control and measure activity in supported regional locations.
At Xpedition we have been engaging with our charity sector customers to look at how we can support them through charity finance software innovation to meet their cost-saving and financial management objectives.
Here, we outline some of our analysis and initiatives to help charities choose the right financial management software and achieve real savings and efficiencies.
Xpedition is a supplier of financial management solutions predominantly to the charity sector. We are guiding our clients through the transition into the cloud delivering cost-effective charity finance software solutions that provide fast and continued return on investment, and/or help to improve the management of financials.
Required functionality for best-in-class financial management
To future proof your charity it’s important to look for a financial management system that can adapt to a rapidly changing environment and provide a robust platform for growth.
The requirement for cloud-based financial management solutions is becoming urgent for some charities. For others, it’s a strategic necessity.
At present, your charity’s finance department may utilise a combination of disparate systems and manual processes. This is effective when you are all working in the office together, but it’s an issue when you are not. Important data becomes harder to acquire and collate. You may not be able to access it from home or your mobile and all of a sudden, being paperless has never been such a priority.
Enabling flexible working is the norm in a post-covid world. Charities are routinely looking for ways to reduce their carbon emmissions and reduce overhead costs. They’re also mindful that prospective employees and stakeholders are increasingly choosing to work for businesses that empower remote workers, to support their own work-life balance.
Remote working also increases charity’s operational resilience and supports business continuity. You’re no longer reliant on in-person meetings and physical work spaces to find information and make critical decisions. Your employees can continue to work securely and efficiently on-site or anywhere else.
As well as harnessing the cloud to enable a remote workforce and ensure your charity’s operations remain bust, there are a number of granular capabilities you should look out for when selecting new financial management software if you are a Not-for-Profit organisation.
Core functionality should include:
- General ledger, receivables, payables, bank reconciliation, electronic payments and purchase orders. Analysis at multiple levels (for example: funds (restricted and unrestricted), events, projects etc.
- Full Budgeting & forecasting capability. Integration with other operational systems such as fundraising, CRM and volunteers database.
- Advanced reporting and capabilities including the production of SORP and SOFA reports. Intuitive Business Intelligence/dashboarding capabilities across multiple data sources.
And enhanced functionality could include:
- Digital transformation capability
- Cloud enablement and smart device access
- Outlook integration
- Management of projects with timesheet entry to aid donor reporting
- Sales order and invoicing for any trading activity
- CRM functionality
- Workflow – digitise manual processes
- Document management and OCR
- Employee expenses
“We now have a much more flexible cloud solution at a fraction of the cost of putting the old system in the cloud. With the core functionality in place, we are able to take advantage of extra features for efficiency and productivity at our own pace. Our most engaged users are keen to innovate to make the most of Business Central – we’re encouraging them to come up with new and better ways to manage our international and local finances. We are learning more about Business Central every day and planning future process automation and integrations, with Xpedition’s ongoing support when we need it.”Ronald Kansere, Finance Manager, International Alert
Discover International Alert’s financial management solution success story.
Partial VAT Exemption for the Charity sector
Some goods and services are exempt from VAT, such as charitable fund-raising events, education and training.
VAT-registered organisations that incur any input tax that will be used to make exempt supplies are classed as partly exempt.
Recovering tax amounts can be complicated and time consuming, so looking for charity finance software that incorporates a Partial VAT solution can make your year-end easier.
Xpedition’s Partial VAT for Dynamics 365 Business Central helps charities to:
- Calculate Standard, Partial and Exempt VAT amounts
- Allow for multiple VAT Posting groups to be created (Recoverable and Non/Part Recoverable)
- Fixed percentage calculations – as agreed with HMRC
- Retrospective calculations to a single posting account or the original expense line
- Dimension level set up – Different VAT percentage rates can be held against cost centres, funds, projects etc.
- Entries can be made against transactions in Payables Management and the General Ledger
- Each transaction line within Business Central can be posted to a different VAT posting group
- Full reporting and enquiries within core application
- Integrates with Business Central’s Making Tax Digital functionality
Microsoft Dynamics 365 Business Central – leading charity finance software
At Xpedition, we’ve brought together our charity sector expertise with deep knowledge of Microsoft’s all-in-one financial management solution to develop enhanced functionality for charities and take an already market leading solution a big step further.
Powered by Microsoft Dynamics 365 Business Central, Xpedition provides a complete, end-to-end financial management solution that drives efficiency and cost-savings for charities.
It’s a cost-effective, proven approach that harnesses Microsoft’s leading, powerful, innovative and user-friendly technology and augments it with the unique features and functions that charities need.
Backed by our team of leading experts, we leverage the power of Micorosoft Dynamics 365 charity finance software to provide you with the perfect platform for all your financial management, reporting and business management needs.
World Animal Protection’s approach to financial management software selection
World Animal Protection’s mission is to create a better world for wild and domestic animals. The charity works to end needless animal suffering and seeks to influence the global agenda for animal protection, raising awareness of animals’ importance in our world. The charity recently embarked on a journey to replace its outdated financial management software.
Kate Brown, Systems Project Manager, explains: “All but one of our global offices were using the same NAV 2015 system, located on a physical server in our London office. Colleagues had to access it via Citrix if they were not in London. The main driver for this project was the need to renew Citrix soon – we were looking for a better value solution and to avoid replacing hardware. We have a cloud first strategy, so we wanted a modern cloud solution that would fit with the rest of our IT estate.”
Kate says, “We were looking for long-term cost savings and to achieve our company strategy of cloud-first. With Business Central in the cloud, we won’t have to do any more costly and time-consuming upgrade projects – this was a key point in the business case from an IT perspective.”
World Animal Protection selected Xpedition as its new Microsoft Dynamics 365 partner after undergoing a full procurement process. Kate says, “We were impressed with the Xpedition team because of their proactive approach. Their presentations and demonstrations were convincing and showed proof of their experience. We were confident we were putting our trust in a partner who had successfully delivered everything we wanted – on- premise to cloud and NAV to Business Central migration. Because they had worked with many charities before, we knew they had a clear understanding of our sector-specific needs.”
As well as moving to Microsoft Dynamics 365 Business Central, Xpedition helped to bring across the Prophix reporting solution that the finance team used.
“We don’t have to worry about backups and disaster recovery anymore” says Kate. “Costly and disruptive major upgrade projects have been replaced by regular incremental updates – they’re far easier to manage as part of our day-to-day work, and they don’t cost anything.”
Read the World Animal Protection success story.
Why Xpedition for Charities?
Xpedition, a wholly owned subsidiary of Touchstone Group, has been engaging with Not-for-Profit and charity sector clients for in excess of three decades, supporting them through technology innovation to meet their cost-saving and financial management objectives. With over 100 Not-for-Profit clients across the Group, our experience in the sector is unrivalled.
At Xpedition, we guide your path, through the implementation of intelligent cloud-based business applications. We help our clients to understand how technology can empower their organisation in real terms.
When your mission has the potential to change the world, having the right digital strategy to support your operations is paramount. It can help you save time, cut costs and improve efficiencies across your organisation.
Our experts will help you accelerate your mission through expert advice and innovative finance and accounting solutions, underpinned by Microsoft Dynamics 365 Business Central.
Discover our financial management solutions for charities.