Head in the Cloud: How Cloud Accounting Can Benefit Your Not-for-Profit


By CCVO Guest Blogger Robin Butler, The Catalyst Group

Technology moves and grows fast, and as a Not-for-Profit, it may not be a priority to explore the new advances. However, familiarizing yourself with new technologies to modernize your practices can be impactful to the crucial work you do every day for the community. It can help you save more of your funds, and free up time to focus on your mission.

You’ve probably heard about “The Cloud” which is the catalyst for one of the newest beneficial waves of technology: Cloud Accounting.

Before you look up and ponder the skies - that is not the cloud we are referring to. Cloud accounting is a way to streamline your accounting data, move your receipts from a shoebox to an online system, review your finances with your accountant in real time, and so much more.

It’s basically moving your data online. If you have a smartphone you are probably already familiar with the premise. Your phone hosts a suite of apps that make your life a lot easier. You can order food, get directions, find a ride, and more. Cloud accounting is the same type of deal. Basically, your data is moved to “The Cloud” (secure online servers) usually through Quickbooks Online. From there, you can procure other applications that help make your accounting practices more efficient and reduce error. There are applications that house all of your receipts, notify you about outstanding invoices, and much more.

If you think about it, it’s like storing all of your money in a bank rather than under your mattress. Except, in this case, it’s your accounting information – and it’s just as secure.

Here are six key benefits of heading to the cloud:

  1. Receive funds faster: The cloud automates invoicing and tracks payables and receivables. It preserves your relationships with donors or vendors, as if there are ever any questions about an invoice, you can easily search it by any related keyword.

  2. Collaboration: You’re given the ability to real time review with your accountant. A relationship with your accountant is completely necessary, but the meetings can be time consuming. You and your accountant will always be looking at the same online data. There can also be multiple users within your Not-for-Profit, which makes collaboration easy and successful.

  3. Decrease your admin hours:  Data input is streamlined and you are cutting out a lot of paperwork.  Cut down the time it takes to go through expenses, receipts, and invoices by putting it all online. This also reduces the risk of manual error. There are automatic updates so you can spend more time focusing on your mission. Version upgrades, maintenance, system administration costs and server failures are no longer issues. Instead, they are managed by the cloud service provider.

  4. Make confident decisions:  With access to real time data available – Your current financial data is always up to date, which allows you to make informed decisions for the future of your Not-for-Profit.

  5. Be Mobile. Portable and Flexible: Access your data anywhere, anytime. It’s hosted remotely so you don’t need to worry about any downloads or updates. You don’t have to be sitting in your office to access your financials. This is also great for Not-for-Profits that may be spread out or in rural areas.

  6. Security: The cloud is secure and is regularly assessed by world class security professionals. It is more risky that something would happen to your computer rather than online. For example, if your laptop was stolen the thief would still need a password to access your cloud information. You invite users to view your data and you can control the level of access they have.

Catalyst works extensively with Not-for-Profits on all matters from audits to CFO work. With a team of dedicated specialists in this area, Catalyst becomes a key member of the Not-for-Profit client’s team to align performance and organizational goals. Recently, they were named one of the fastest growing cloud accounting firms in Canada. They would be thrilled to bring their knowledge in this area to your organization. 

Feel free to contact Catalyst to chat about whether cloud accounting could benefit you and your Not-for-Profit. You can reach them at 403-296-0082 or inquire@thecatalystgroup.ca.