[1+1 > 2] The Benefits of Integrating Best-in-Class Nonprofit Software
Integrating the various systems in your nonprofit’s financial management ecosystem provides much deeper financial insight, improved efficiency, and better leverage of your organization’s financial and impact data. In terms of visibility and convenience, adding best-in-class nonprofit software solutions together through integration yields a much more powerful solution than the sum of its parts.
This article will examine the difference between best-in-class solutions versus software suites. Then, we’ll explain why taking your financial management to the cloud means much easier integration between solutions. Finally, we’ll provide an example of a best-in-class ecosystem for nonprofit software by looking at some of the solutions from Sage Intacct Marketplace Partners and how they integrate with Sage Intacct.
What is meant by a ‘best-in-class’ solution?
Nonprofit leaders need to determine whether their organizations are better served by a best-in-class approach to nonprofit software or by a software suite approach.
As the name implies, best-in-class nonprofit software is the best solution for your organization in the functional area of that software. Best-in-class software is purposefully designed to provide more and better functionality for each department. It is not necessary to purchase everything needed for the organization from one vendor. Therefore, the finance team can focus exclusively on finding the best financial management tools. Not only do best-in-class systems offer better feature sets, but they also are designed to scale up with your organization.
With a suite approach, the same software vendor develops and releases a suite of solutions that work together to manage an organization. For example, an ERP suite usually contains solutions for order/customer management, accounting, CRM, HR and more. The advantage is that all of the solutions in the suite are already integrated and you only need to deal with a single vendor. On the downside, the purchase process for a software suite is usually long and requires a central decision-making committee. Most software suites need to be purchased up front as a whole solution. That means organizations often pay for more than they need and for various functionality they may not ever use.
Don’t source your world-class hamburger at an all you can eat buffet
Eating out is a good analogy for thinking about the difference between best-in-class and software suites. Best-in-class is like craving a world-class hamburger and going to a restaurant that focuses exclusively on burgers. Or getting a slice from your favorite pizza place. You go to the place that does it best. With a software suite, your burger is just one of many items on the all you can eat buffet. In other words, the cook (software vendor) may be great, but the cuisine you need (for example, fund accounting) may not be what he or she specializes in. Did you get a burger? Yes. Was it out-of-this-world good (functional)? Not so much.
Seamless integration lets you tailor best-in-class software to your organization
In the past, nonprofits that selected a best-in-class solution often had to integrate it with other on-premises systems, and that could be costly. Today cloud applications offer easier integrations through open APIs, or Application Programming Interfaces.
When you manage your organization with cloud-based, best-in-class solutions, you can tailor your choices to your needs. Perhaps you need robust financial reporting for lots of transactions, but you have a small staff with little in the way of Human Capital Management (HCM) requirements. Do you need time and expense tools? Does your organization have to manage inventory? Do you have lots of fixed assets or only a few?
With a suite approach, you’d get a little bit of everything but the capabilities in each area might be too deep or too shallow to match your requirements. With a best-in-class approach, you choose each solution based on the needs in that departmental area of your organization.
The Sage Intacct best-in-class solutions ecosystem
Sage Intacct is a great example of a best-in-class cloud financial management solution for nonprofits that offers easy API integration with other best-in-class nonprofit software. Robust Sage Intacct integration helps your data automatically flow into your financials, giving you a single place to get your full financial picture.
The Sage Intacct Marketplace offers a variety of innovative cloud solutions, all built to be best-in-class. Below is a quick selection of best-in-class solutions for nonprofits that integrate with Sage Intacct from day one. But you are not limited to these applications. Sage Intacct’s open API technology gives you the freedom to integrate Sage Intacct with any application you choose to add to your tech stack.
Advanced Salesforce CRM Integration for Nonprofits – Seamlessly integrate Sage Intacct with basic Salesforce or Nonprofit Success Pack (NPSP) for the high-level view you need to assess progress toward mission achievement. This integration can save nonprofits hours each month by eliminating the need to import and massage CSV files, create manual journal entries, or reconcile across systems.
ADP – Rather than duplicating time, dimension values, payroll and expense reimbursement data into two systems, share information securely between ADP and Sage Intacct with a few clicks of your mouse. This integration dramatically reduces the chance for errors and saves significant time and effort.
Bill.com – Get fully automated AP for Sage Intacct from this leading provider of cloud-based business payments. Set up robust business rules to simplify your approvals process. See a digital audit trail for every PO and invoice, and complete payment history for your vendors. Track your progress in processing approvals, POs, and invoices with intuitive, dedicated dashboards.
Nexonia – Automate expense reporting with deep Sage Intacct integration. Nexonia is designed to seamlessly integrate and sync against a range of Sage Intacct dimensions, such as: Customers, Vendors, Items, Departments, Locations, Classes, and more.
Sage Intacct Budgeting & Planning – Get sensitive data out of spreadsheets and emails and into a single, secure cloud-based budgeting solution. Everyone works on the latest version and knows who updated the budget and when. Create and save multiple scenarios within a single budget, so you can analyze multiple what-if scenarios.
ClickTime for NonProfits – Simplify grant reporting and cost allocations with a seamless integration between ClickTime and Sage Intacct. ClickTime allows your organization to transform timesheets from an organizational burden into a strategic enabler for both HR and Finance teams.
Fluxx Grants Management – Gain greater financial insight for more confident long-term decision-making. Save time and reduce errors by eliminating duplicate data entry with your finance and grant management systems in sync.
Atlas by MemberClicks – Designed for member-based associations, the Atlas integration eliminates double data entry with the Sage Intacct General Ledger and provides the ability to view financial data in the context of member information. Manage all daily transactions through your membership database, for complete member intelligence.
SchoolConnect by Wipfli – Gain advanced billing and other features for Independent Schools. Create flexible invoice formats to be sent to households or customers. Easily generate student charges by household for clubs, activities, and specific fees. Synchronize student management data, as well as tuition and payment data from other popular systems.
With so many rich sources of integrated data flowing across nonprofit software applications, nonprofit finance leaders and other key stakeholders can enjoy unparalleled visibility. Consider a best-in-class approach to leverage your organization’s financial information and create greater mission impact. It all starts with the right nonprofit software ecosystem. For more information about how to achieve nonprofit financial visibility with reporting and dashboards, download the eBook.
Nancy Master is a senior nonprofit industry marketing manager at Sage Intacct and is passionate about helping nonprofits achieve mission success. Nancy has more than 15 years of experience in software marketing and close to 20 years of experience working with a human services nonprofit organization.
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