These are challenging times for the not-for-profit sector. On top of the continual pressure to secure funding and donations, charities need to find ways to work more flexibly, improve efficiency and optimise their resources. According to a recent report ‘45% think that their charity isn’t agile enough and that their culture needs to change’. The Charity Digital Skills Report 2019
Adapting to a more modern way of working, supported by better technology, could cut costs, improve effectiveness and future-proof organisations, enabling charities to accelerate their mission in both the near and long term. This is supported by recent research which shows ‘More than two thirds of charities want to use digital to increase their impact, whilst 59% want to make more effective use of data and 48% wish to use it to improve service delivery.’ The Charity Digital Skills Report 2019
But some organisations are cautious about adopting the new, digitised processes and systems that commercial firms typically use to streamline their operations. That may be because of the upfront capital investment traditionally required, or because it’s unfamiliar to the organisation’s culture. Perhaps it’s not knowing how much easier it is to adopt the latest technologies.
Typically, charities and not-for-profits work communally, to engage support and maintain a strong sense of collective purpose. Some leaders and managers may therefore question the effectiveness of flexible and remote working in this environment however research suggests on the contrary.
‘Younger charities (under ten years of age) are more digitally active and are reaping the rewards. They are more likely to be ‘doing their business on the move’ (47%) so they can place focus on their donors, supporters and beneficiaries’. Lloyds Bank Charity Digital Index 2019
Others have taken the leap to embrace a new way of working and are reaping the benefits. Freed from old, on-premise systems that were holding back their ability to evolve, they are discovering better and more efficient ways to manage, make decisions and communicate to support their teams and beneficiaries, charity Cloud technology.
‘Nearly one-third of charities (30%) recognise they now save at least one day a week due to their digital practices’ Lloyds Bank Charity Digital Index 2019
Run your organisation from anywhere
Remote working tools and Cloud infrastructure can deliver value and help charities make the most of their people and resources, no matter when or where they’re working. More and more not for profit organisations are moving to cloud-based systems, so they can access vital data and business activities any time, knowing the information is secure and up to date.
There’s no conflict with a culture of hands-on teamwork. In fact, Cloud-based online collaboration tools and instant access to data can make it easier and quicker for staff, supporters and partners to work together and make decisions confidently and responsively. Digital transformation can bring communication, core activities and information-sharing online, so they’re accessible to everyone, all the time.
Embrace cloud Financial Systems
The need for Cloud Financial Management systems is becoming more urgent for some not-for-profit organisations. For others, it’s a strategic priority.
At present, your organisation may operate financial management using a combination of legacy systems and manual processes. This works when you are all in an office together, but it’s a problem when you aren’t. Crucial information is hard to acquire and collate. You may not be able to access it from a home office or mobile device and all of a sudden, being paperless has never been so important.
Enabling flexible working, including working from home, is becoming more and more normal – and an increasing imperative. Not-for-profits are routinely looking for ways to reduce carbon footprint and cut premises and overhead costs. They’re also mindful that prospective employees, volunteers and associates increasingly choose to work for organisations that allow remote working, to help with their own work-life balance.
Remote working also gives not-for-profits increased resilience and supports business continuity. You’re no longer reliant on teams gathering in offices and workplaces to access information and make critical decisions. They can continue to work securely and efficiently on-site or anywhere else.
Sustained efficiencies and economies
An all-in-one Cloud financial management system that’s accessible from anywhere, using any device, can help you run your organisation more effectively. You get better visibility of data in real-time for all users from a single and accurate source of truth. It improves communication, collaboration and reporting across the organisation.
The financial management cloud solution Microsoft Dynamics 365 Business Central also integrates fully and seamlessly with Office 365, other Microsoft apps and your fundraising and other specialist systems such as CRM. This helps generate value from your existing Microsoft investment, building out what you have already. It’s a familiar interface that staff find easy to navigate, so there’s no barrier to immediate, organisation-wide adoption. For increased efficiency, it streamlines and automates processes like Partial VAT, Making Tax Digital and compliance, reducing the need for manual, paper-based processes. You can even include the likes of Project Accounting if needed.
Charity cloud technology including financial management solutions are often more cost-effective than an on-premise system. For example Microsoft Dynamics 365 finance solution, Business Central, delivers exceptional value and flexibility, because it works on a pay as you go per user per month license basis. Subscriptions include regular updates and maintenance, carried out centrally and securely by Microsoft. The cost of maintaining and upgrading on-premise systems is a thing of the past. And there’s no upfront capital expenditure in systems and infrastructure, because the system and data reside in Microsoft’s Cloud.
A Cloud financial system can be the first step to transforming your efficiency
With Microsoft Dynamics 365, you can take a step by step approach to digital transformation. Starting with financial management means the core performance and finance data and tools you use for key decision-making, compliance and reporting are the first priority. Business Central integrates readily with all your other systems, including customised software. If and when you’re ready to take the next step with Dynamics 365 by adding Cloud customer management or other modules, they’ll integrate seamlessly too.
Cloud project planning and deployment can even be delivered remotely
We’ve delivered many projects either fully remotely or using a hybrid approach.
Remote delivery is attractive because it can cut costs, reducing the need for travel and streamlining meetings and communication. It’s particularly useful for not-for-profit organisations that have many offices in the UK or internationally, where a remote approach is essential to roll-out. It’s efficient, socially responsible and sustainable – core values for many charities.
These are all reasons why not-for-profit customers have successfully implemented Dynamics 365 Cloud financial management and customer engagement systems using Xpedition’s remote delivery approach. Projects can be completed within weeks with minimal disruption to your work. Even if your organisation is not used to any kind of remote working, we can give you the support and guidance you need to embrace the approach, it’s what we’ve been doing for years.
We’re here to help not-for-profits meet remote working challenges
To find out more about how Xpedition can help your organisation move vital finance systems into the Cloud, get in touch.