While browsing the daily news cycle the other morning, I came across an Accounting Today article titled “Ready or Not, Change Is Coming.” Directed toward CPA firms and accounting professionals, this article stresses the importance of adaptability in the face of new technology. From restructuring management and communication lines, to maintaining a productive social media presence, the message is, “Change or die.”
The accounting profession isn’t generally viewed as a leader at the forefront of technology (a quick search for CPA firms on Twitter will quickly confirm that). For whatever reason, many accountants have to dragged kicking and screaming into new ideas, especially when it’s a change from “the way it’s always been done.”
But it’s not just CPA firms that have trouble embracing new technology. Many nonprofit organizations are just as reluctant to move forward and try something different. For-profit businesses struggle with the same problems, but the stakes are higher with nonprofits - it’s not just you and your employees who depend on the continuing health of your organization, but the people, places, and creatures you serve as well.
The reasons for avoiding change are plentiful:
“I don’t have enough time in the day to develop a whole new way of doing things.”
“Our budget won’t cover that this year. Maybe next year.”
“This system has worked just fine for the last ten years - why change it now?”
None of these reasons are wrong, but unfortunately it doesn’t matter. The world is changing around you, and you need to change with it or risk being left behind. Some of these changes are easy - everyone and their mother is on social media these days, and setting up a profile is completely free. Other changes are taken for granted - can you imagine not having a website in 2015? But some changes are more subtle, more complicated, and require a bigger commitment from every level of your organization. And yes…we’re talking about your accounting system.
Between the advances in cloud technology, digital document storage, electronic billing and accounting software, there’s no reason why you should be hanging onto an outdated financial reporting system. Implementing new accounting technology may seem intimidating at first, but the right accounting professional should be able to guide you to a solution that works for your organization (and at a price that you can afford). After all, a secure, rock-solid accounting system is not a frivolous expense - it is absolutely vital to the health and longevity of your nonprofit.