Not-for-profit organizations contend with a multitude of financial reporting regulations that can lead to ongoing challenges in the accounting department.
Not-for-profit specific revenue restrictions, for example, increase the complexity of sorting and reporting donations, investments, and other revenue. And without effective bookkeeping tools, paper receipt and source document management can deteriorate to the point where it makes accurately tracking and reporting expenses a nightmare.
Ready to streamline your not-for-profit's bookkeeping process? Then let’s take a look at some of the not-for-profit bookkeeping tools you can use to dramatically improve your organization’s back-office performance.
Start with the Basics: QuickBooks Online Accounting Software
Cloud-based accounting software is the backbone of your not-for-profit's bookkeeping functions. And as one of the most popular cloud-based accounting software, QuickBooks Online (QBO) is not only easy to use, it also boasts a range of features relevant to not-for-profit organizations.
QuickBooks Online is ideal for not-for-profits because it:
- Allows for added visibility to track budget spend within your organization,
- Facilitates proper categorization of donation, grant, expense, and program activity-related transactions,
- Enables the setting of limited permissions, synchronization of bank account transaction feeds, and the activation of audit trails,
- Generates practical financial reports for donors, management, and tax purposes
Best of all, QBO integrates easily with all the automated tools featured here, allowing for automated workflows and the easy sharing of data within your organization!
Keela: Management Software for Not-for-Profit Organizations
Vancouver-based Keela is on a mission to help not-for-profits raise more money and generate a greater impact. Their powerfully simple cloud-based management software was specifically built to provide not-for-profits with everything from donation and CRM (customer relationship) management, to an email marketing platform.
Keela allows your organization to gather, track, and organize donor (and other contacts) data and activity. You can then use that information to develop targeted funding communications in the form of simple (but sophisticated) email campaigns.
Not only does Keela integrate with payment tools like PayPal and Stripe, it also lets you track donations by type, feeding that information directly into your QBO software.
Stripe and Plooto: Receivables (and Payables) Made Easy
Managing not-for-profit finances can be especially troublesome when it comes to your accounts receivable and accounts payable. By using data-encrypted automated tools, however, you’ll effectively reduce the handling of cash, while creating a viable audit trail.
Stripe is a quick and easy online payment app that can accommodate one-time credit card donations, as well as recurring payments. Plooto, meanwhile, can also help you collect donor funds – and will streamline your payables, too.
Plooto is a versatile app that:
- allows your organization’s signing authorities to approve payments remotely,
- submits those payments electronically, then
- marks your invoices as paid inside QBO
By taking advantage of secure automation to manage your payments, you’ll gain full visibility into the movement of funds and will improve your internal controls.
Expensify: Simplify Your Expense Reimbursements
Minimizing and accounting for not-for-profit expenses – especially those associated with employee spending – is simpler, and more reliable, when you use an expense application like Expensify. Employees can take photos of their receipts with their phones, submit them online, and Expensify will automatically generate an expense report.
Expensify is also customizable in the sense that you can attribute expenses to specific funds, and policy rules can be set to flag expenses requiring board review. This helps do away with irregular expense accounting that can trigger an audit.
Receipt Bank: Do Away with Paper Document Storage
Many not-for-profit clients find that managing their paper receipts can turn the complexities of not-for-profit financial reporting into a nightmare. With an advanced document management tool like Receipt Bank, however, you just photograph your bills, receipts, and invoices, and the app:
- extracts the data from those photos using OCR (Optical Character Recognition) technology,
- enters it into your QuickBooks program, and
- permanently stores both image and extracted data in the cloud
Not only does Receipt Bank do away with paper files, but it’s also an easy way to start building reliable accounts payable and cash flow analysis systems.
Beyond the Basics with QBO Payroll
One of the biggest advantages of working with QBO is their Payroll software. QuickBooks Online Payroll software lets you easily calculate and run your employee payroll - with accurate, up-to-date tax rates – from anywhere.
QBO Payroll also offers free direct deposits and payment options that allow your not-for-profit organization to customize pay schedules, as well as the rules surrounding pay types, deductions, and contributions. The advanced version of QBO Payroll will even file your taxes for you and handle your employee T4s.
One of the best reasons to introduce these bookkeeping tools into your organization's bookkeeping process is how it can free you to focus on the things that really matter: networking and fundraising, cultivating strategic partnerships – and ultimately growing your organization. However, choosing the right tool and implementing a new system can be challenging.
If your organization does not have enough resources or time to properly manage your books, outsourcing your books to a not-for-profit-savvy accounting team is a great way to keep your back-office functions under control.
Not only will working with a seasoned not-for-profit bookkeeping service provider help you gain better visibility into your revenue and expenses, but your organization can also benefit from modern accounting features like:
- Cloud-based data storage that delivers virtual access to authorized personnel,
- Rigorous security standards that support your financial accountability, and
- Automated tools and apps specifically designed to boost your efficiency
At Enkel, we’ve helped many not-for-profit organizations automate and manage their bookkeeping processes using the cloud-based technology tools mentioned above. Contact us to learn more about how we can help customize and efficiently your organization’s bookkeeping process.
How We Select and Evaluate Our Recommended Software
We thoroughly research and test the apps we include in our regular workflow for Client bookkeeping services. After deciding on criteria for evaluating the software and then researching the app itself, we tested the app, noting its strengths and weaknesses. We then work with the app for at least a few weeks before deciding whether to recommend it to our readers. We use the software as it was designed for its intended tasks. For a detailed walk-through of how we select and evaluate software, please see the details of our process.