It may not be at the top of your priority list but regular system reviews are key when it comes to ensuring that you are getting the most out of your investment.
Your financial systems are the bedrock of responsible stewardship and organizational transparency. In addition, access to financial data when evaluating grants, applying for new grants, determining fundraising campaign effectiveness, tracking operational expenses, etc., is critical to serving your constituents now and in the future.
We recommend an annual system review. Just as you budget and plan for each new year, it makes sense to evaluate how your accounting software has been performing and if it can meet the challenge of new goals you have for the organization.
An annual system review can be an opportunity to tweak small problems, identify and prevent future problems, evaluate the need for additional functionality, and uncover areas where additional training may benefit your team. Additionally, there are checklist items such as: are there any updates to the software, new versions, or simple patch fixes?
Our clients find that this simple and not so intrusive cycle of annual reviews addresses issues before they have a chance to cause major problems.
It’s a chance to get recommendations on extending the functionality you have in place and look at the long-term impact of doing so. This is especially important if your organization will have an increased number of grants to manage or a new grant with different reporting requirements. The same holds true for any new programs or campaigns your organization will be launching.
An annual system review is an opportunity to explore what additional reporting requirements you will need and make changes within the system to accommodate the requirements. Too often, accountants will revert to the habit of creating another spreadsheet, instead of getting assistance to configure the system to address the reporting needs.
If your organization grows and part of the growth is additional locations housing staff that need access to the system; an annual system review is an ideal opportunity to map the best method of providing access.
There’s an adage that says it’s easier to stay prepared than get prepared. Executing annual system reviews is the practical way to stay prepared.