Good financial management is critical to the success of nonprofit organizations, even if it might not be the most exciting topic. Every organization is challenged with delivering better transparency to constituents and being effective stewards of donor resources. Beyond the basics, they need to connect the dollars they raise and spend to the outcomes their organizations seek to achieve.
At NetSuite.org, we realized that enterprise resource planning (ERP) software could address these challenges in ways that traditional accounting software couldn’t. Integrating nonprofit fund accounting, back-office operations, and data consumption from multiple online sources into a cohesive whole provides a platform for addressing transparency stewardship and outcomes.
Since 2007, NetSuite has made a base donation of our software available to qualified nonprofits and social enterprises to enable them to move from manual, disparate systems into our cloud-based ERP. Since launching, the program has grown to serve more than 550 nonprofits and social enterprises with free and discounted software.
Nonprofit Financials Accelerator, a Tool for Self-Implementing Organizations
For many nonprofits, financial constraints make self-implementing new technology the best option. It was for these organizations that we developed the Nonprofit Financials Accelerator, a seven-week online course to help them understand the ins-and-outs of migrating their financials to NetSuite and go live faster.The course includes weekly webinars focused on a particular aspect of NetSuite financials and assignments that participants need to complete between each meeting.
Legal Aid Society of Rochester was one of three organizations selected to take part in the initial Nonprofit Financials Accelerator pilot. The Society decided to move to Netsuite after realizing that reporting had become a cumbersome process of downloading financials from Blackbaud Financial Edge into Excel and manually manipulating the data into a format that could be understood and shared.
Aaron O’Neal, Controller at Legal Aid Society, felt confident in being able to handle the implementation project given past experience migrating to new systems, but saw the invitation to participate in the accelerator as an extra incentive.
“Participation [in the accelerator] opened our eyes to the things that weren’t being captured in our old system,” said O’Neal.
O’Neal is looking forward to having access to W-9s within NetSuite, rather than having to dig through piles of paper. He added that the weekly webinars were straightforward, and that access to NetSuite.org’s Customer Success Specialist Nicola Gabancho has been helpful to getting answers to organization specific questions. His main challenges with moving forward with NetSuite was converting all of Legal Aid’s old cumbersome data into NetSuite and aligning their chart of accounts with the new Unified Chart of Accounts.
Set to go live in early April, O’Neal says the Legal Aid Society team is wrapping up their migration and making sure that everything moved over correctly from their original system.
“We think it [NetSuite] is going to make things much easier,” said O’Neal. “NetSuite is helping us become more efficient, allowing management to get more information.”
NetSuite.org will launch the second iteration of the Nonprofit Financials Accelerator in April. If you’re interested in participating, please contact your Account Manager.