Cloud Accounting for Non-Profits – A Deeper Overview
Cloud accounting can help non-profit organizations to considerably reduce costs besides providing them several other benefits. With the help of Cloud accounting, organizations can stay relieved of the burden of complex IT resource management.
However, moving to the Cloud will always require making few considerations and Non Profit industry is no exception.
Non-profits should thus consider following points before they actually make up the decision to move their existing accounting software to the Cloud –
Cloud hosted accounting application can reduce your expenses while streamlining operations. The up-front costs being extremely affordable, allow the organization to become more efficient & productive quickly.
Your Cloud service provider should enable you to track all user activity easily. This is crucial to ensure transparency and accountability – both factors being highly critical to donors & employees.
Cloud accounting does beings along many advantages; however, you should consider the security standards of your provider. Taking a note of their risk management options can be a good move too. Perform background research to check if the provider has been responsible for any security breaches. Moreover, if so, what action the service provider undertake in order to remediate that breach.
Do your Board of Directors and Auditor favor your decision to make a switch to the Cloud? Having proper consent from both parties is crucial as they play a vital part in developing the required strategy helpful enough to achieve the current goals of the organization.
No issue should arise in regard to connectivity. Make sure that each & every member of your team needs can connect to the Cloud in order to perform their necessary tasks.
Service Level Agreement
A service level agreement must be necessarily in place between you and your service provider. This agreement needs to clearly set out the exact details regarding the performance standards, penalties and the security.
Cloud Compliancy Laws in the US
It’s a mandate for the non-profit organizations in the US to ensure that they fully comply with the PCI DSS standard (Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard). Compliance with the Sarbanes-Oxley (SOX) Act is also a mandate. These are the main laws that govern data storage & compliance.
Henceforth, Nonprofit organizations willing to accept any sort of credit card donations will necessarily have to comply with PCI DSS. Nonprofits will also be required to completely fill out a specific questionnaire in order to be given proper authorization.
Nonprofit organizations will also need to necessarily comply with SSAE 16 auditing standards. This would be required to ensure that the Nonprofit organization has the required internal controls & processes for whatever information it handles. Any sort of failure to comply may bring disrepute for a non-profit organization.
Besides these two laws, it’s also must for the nonprofit organizations to comply with any of the implemented Personally Identifiable Information like Social Security Numbers.
If your organization operates in the EU, or stores data on EU citizens it should ensure that the organization abides by the 1995 European Data Protection Directive (EDPD). The EDPD stipulates that the transfer to the personal data on any EU citizen outside the European Economic Area is prohibited, unless certain conditions are met. American companies that have signed the Safe Harbor Agreement are able to store and transfer data in EU zone.
Understanding the Security Aspects
It is highly crucial to ensure that your Cloud service provider has adequate security measures well in place. This involves not just complying with the legislation norms, but also ensuring that any sort of sensitive financial & donor related data is optimally safe.
When looking for a Cloud-based company offering non-profit accounting solutions hosting, it is thus important to consider the precise geographical location of the Cloud service provider as the location will be subjected to that particular country’s data protection & privacy laws.
Ultimately, the best way to fully ensure that your nonprofit organization does comply with these regulations is to look for some non-profit accounting software hosting provider that does comply. It is equally vital that your cloud provider service educated you about the various regulations regarding the usage & storage of data.
It’s recommended to look for cloud-based hosting solutions providers complying with the standard security protocols. Issues such as confidentiality, privacy, and technical security are well taken care of when you hire such a service provider. .
QuickBooks for Nonprofit organizations is usually considered quite secured software for hosting on Cloud. So, with your QuickBooks on Cloud, you can stay assured of better security provided your hosting service provider also complies with the security protocols.
What in Case you Choose to Change your Mind?
It does happen at times. Sometimes Nonprofit organizations initially decide that they want to move to Cloud; however, later they are though overwhelmed with the choice they made.
Though the possibility is quite low, but in case things don’t work out as you had expected, you may want to cancel your cloud accounting system. In that case, is it that easy to move away from the system? If you do choose to opt out, determine in advance how much will be the total cost.
However, that should not be the case as Cloud hosting has proved it’s worth in the current industry. Nonprofits can not only go for QuickBooks Cloud hosting but Sage 50 hosting and other related services as well.
It’s due to the reason that Cloud offers an easy, optimally safe way to access & manage data without requiring you to invest in expensive infrastructure.
Traditionally, Cloud computing was more suited to the needs of large nonprofit organizations capable of managing their own servers. However, it’s also now suited for smaller nonprofit organizations too.
Getting access to your accounting software in the cloud on a pure subscription basis without having any IT maintenance costs renders it easier to budget for when it comes to handling your Non profit administration costs.
Especially, with more & more people employed in Nonprofit organizations working out there in the field and requiring remote access to data, the essence of Cloud-based solutions for these organizations is pretty clear.