From On-Premises to the Cloud: A Digital Transformation Strategy

By | Cloud, Nonprofit, Technology | No Comments
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Adopting forward-thinking digital strategies is critical for small and medium-sized businesses to remain competitive. This means not only updating existing systems but also moving in new directions.

One such direction is cloud native. Cloud native refers to a design and development approach that focuses on building applications and services specifically designed from the start to reside in the cloud. Companies began to shift from on-premises financial software during the pandemic. It quickly became apparent that on-premises solutions were not meeting their needs when people were forced to work from home. Companies with cloud-based solutions were able to move rapidly to work-from-home situations, keeping workers and customers safe. Now, many realize that cloud-based solutions offer more benefits than just the flexibility of the work environment.

But before shifting from on-prem to cloud, it is essential to have a strategy. Here’s how you can come up with a sound cloud-first plan that can help your company remain agile and competitive now and in the years to come.

Why Small and Midsize Businesses (SMBs) Are Moving to the Cloud

If you’re currently using an on-premises system for financial management, you may wonder what all the fuss is about cloud-based solutions. According to Gartner, 85% of SMBs are moving towards cloud solutions. Here’s why.

  • Cost: Cloud solutions cost less than their on-premises counterparts. Cloud solutions require no special hardware to run. The cloud provider updates the software. And, although you may want a good consultant for training, implementation, integration, or advice, no additional staff are needed to keep a cloud platform running.
  • Security: On-premises systems are generally secure from a cyberattack perspective if not connected to the internet. However, data can still be lost due to natural disasters, power failures, or hardware and equipment failures. Backups must be maintained and kept secure. Cloud systems, on the other hand, often provided multiple geographic locations to back up their clients’ data so if a natural disaster hits in one area, their data is protected. Data and systemwide backups may also be automatic, ensuring that nothing is lost due to equipment malfunction.
  • Remote Work: On-prems generally do not support remote work. Cloud platforms can fully support remote work. Although many larger companies have switched back to in-person or hybrid work, workers themselves continue to be supportive and eager for work-from-home opportunities. The ability to offer flexible work arrangements can help you attract talent from a wider talent pool and hire a more diverse team than you might find in the local area. It’s an important consideration.
  • Flexible: On-premises or monolithic systems are difficult to adapt to user needs. Vendors often lock users into their ecosystem, resulting in a poor fit between customer needs and software. These limitations can keep a company from finding the best software for their needs. Cloud systems are easily scalable. Even integration can be easier with the use of APIs (application programming interface) to enable different platforms to “talk” to each other as needed.
  • Scalable: Systems that are on-premises can be hard to scale without a full lift and shift or an entirely new license. Cloud systems are often sold by the user or access, meaning you can add staff without huge price increases or new systems needed.

Plan Your Digital Strategy

With so many benefits and few drawbacks, it’s no wonder that more companies than ever are moving to cloud-based solutions. Plan your digital strategy accordingly. If you are convinced that cloud solutions are the right move for your company, begin by assessing your current system noting what is working and what is not. Consider what you may need now, three, and five years into the future. Assemble a cross-functional team with representatives from all major company areas to participate in a selection team. Interview and choose a good consultant who will help you navigate the many considerations to find the exact system you need.

For nonprofits shifting to the cloud, consider Sage Intacct. It’s a cloud-based financial management solution that empowers nonprofits by removing IT obstacles. Not only is it 100% supported online – and needs no special IT personnel to manage it—but Sage Intacct also includes many automated workflows to reduce repetitive functions and tasks.

Welter Consulting

Welter Consulting bridges people and technology together for effective solutions for nonprofit organizations. We offer software and services that can help you with your accounting needs. Please contact us for more information.

Time Management Tips: Ditch the Digital Distractions

By | Cloud, Corporate Culture, Technology | No Comments

According to CNBC, the average American worker spends 5 hours a day managing email: reading, responding, sorting, deleting messages. That breaks down into approximately 3-4 hours checking business-related email and one hour managing personal email. Add to that tally the daily distraction from social media, instant messengers, text messages and telephone calls, and accountants may find little work accomplished at the end of their workday—except a clean, organized in-box.

With so many messages flooding our screens each day, is there a better way to manage the typical digital distractions inherent in the modern work world? The following tips may be useful to help you manage the daily electronic communications flow that threatens to engulf your day.

5 Tips to Manage Digital Distractions

  1. Turn off notifications

The first step to manage distractions is to minimize them. This includes turning off the sounds and on-screen notifications that often accompany many instant messenger programs. Most of us do not need to be notified of every single message arriving in our inbox, nor do we need notifications for instant messages.

Turning off notifications varies according to your device. This article provides basic guidelines to disable notifications on most operating systems.  

  1. Set aside blocks of time for specific purposes

One way to handle email more efficiently is to set aside blocks of time specifically for responding to emails. Keep your email program closed until it is time to log on. This helps you avoid the temptation to check email repeatedly during the day. Let colleagues know that if something is urgent, they should phone you instead of emailing you.

  1. Utilize email filters

Email filters go beyond the typical spam filters which sort out unwanted email from business emails. Again, depending on your email system, you may be able to establish rules that presort email into categories you determine. You may be able to organize your daily emails more efficiently by project, type of communication, or urgency of task, depending on the rules you set up in the system itself. Speak with your company’s IT person to learn more or search online for tips establishing and using email filters for common email managers such as Gmail and Outlook.

  1. Adopt calendar apps

Are half of your emails requests for meetings? Many people find that most of their emails are indeed meeting requests or requests for blocks of time with which to meet others. Instead of responding to dozens of requests a day, your company can adopt calendar apps or shared calendars.

Calendar apps such as Calendly enable clients to request call times without viewing your calendar. The app synchronizes with your chosen digital calendar and displays only blocks of time available for meetings. The other party can request and secure a time without having to email you in advance. Other software such as Microsoft 365’s Teams enables users to view one another’s calendars without seeing engagement details and requesting meeting time.

  1. Establish communication preferences and timelines

Alert colleagues to your communication preferences. Limit the number of instant messenger apps your company uses and establish preferred communication channels and methods for your team. Lastly, establish clear expectations around response timelines. For example, let clients and colleagues know that emails are answered within one business day. This way, people know that if they require an instant response, they should pick up the phone and call you.

Cloud Software Helps Improve Communication

Whether you’re struggling with too many emails and not enough time or instant messenger overload, one thing that helps cut down the endless barrage of digital communications is cloud-based technology. Sharing financial data over the cloud, as well as collaborating on documents in the cloud, improves communication and cuts down on emailing documents back and forth.

With a few changes to your routine and habits and support from the right software, you’ll be able to better manage your digital communications and stop the feeling of being overwhelmed.

About Welter Consulting

Welter Consulting bridges people and technology together for effective solutions for nonprofit organizations. We offer software and services that can help you with your accounting needs. Please contact Welter Consulting at 206-605-3113 for more information.

What Are the Benefits of Moving to Cloud Computing?

By | Accounting, Cloud, cyber security, Nonprofit | No Comments

Cloud computing utilizes shared network hardware to mitigate against security risks and data loss. It lowers costs, improves access and speed, and is often considered the go-to option for many organizations. Let’s explore the reasons why moving to cloud computing can benefit your organization.

Improved Security

Cyber threats have increased exponentially in recent times. Only 26% of nonprofits actively monitor their network environments, a critical step to protect against threats. And more than 70% of nonprofits have not run any cyber threat assessments. Criminals know that nonprofits have neither the bandwidth nor the resources to defend against an attack, thus making them an even more appealing target.

Large cloud computing providers can afford to put into place rigid security protocols to protect donor and fundraising data. They can enact two-factor authentication, secure data transfers, and other steps to secure your data.

When selecting a cloud computing provider, look for one that has attained a Statement on Standards for Attestation Engagements (SSAE) certification, as designated by the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA). Such cloud hosts have undergone a rigorous audit of their systems, including privacy controls, and are less vulnerable to attack.

Private cloud (instead of public cloud) servers may offer greater security. Public cloud has suffered in recent times from data breaches caused by misconfigured servers. If privacy is of deep concern to your organization, consider opting for private instead of public cloud services.

Uninterrupted Access

Many nonprofits faced the sudden shift to remote work when the pandemic arrived. Cloud computing facilitates remote work by providing uninterrupted access to data and servers 24/7. Anywhere you have an internet connection, authorized personnel can log into the system. This enables easier telecommuting and meaningful work while traveling.

Regular Backups

Regular backups safeguard data as well as systems. Increasing data limits does not affect cloud storage, as more storage space can be added easily and quickly. Redundant systems ensure that, no matter what happens or where it occurs, the systems continue to run smoothly.


Cloud computing also offers nonprofits a more affordable entrée into enhanced computing power. Cloud systems hosted on shared or private cloud servers are maintained by the hosting company’s staff. IT staff can be deployed to solve onsite problems, provide daily IT services, and provide support for routine IT needs. There is no need for a nonprofit to invest in hardware, additional staff, or the space and equipment needed for staff.

Important Questions to Ask When Moving to the Cloud

If you’re convinced that moving to a cloud-hosted fund accounting program or another cloud-based software system is right for your nonprofit, there are several key questions to ask about the software under consideration.

  1. What is the process to migrate to the cloud? How challenging will it be? What is our organization’s participation in the process? Understand the time and money it will take to make the move to the cloud.
  2. How do the features of this system compare to what I have now? What is better, different, or will change? What remains the same?
  3. Who owns the data? Some contracts have the hosting company owning your data. Read the fine print.
  4. How difficult or easy is this software for our team to learn? When checking references with other software users, ask them this question to obtain direct feedback from other customers.
  5. Will there be any system downtime?
  6. What if we wish to stop using this system or move to a different one? What is the process?
  7. How frequently are backups made and how can we access them if necessary?

Cloud computing makes good sense for many nonprofits. It offers numerous advantages and few disadvantages. If you feel it is the next step for your organization, contact Welter Consulting for assistance.

Welter Consulting

Welter Consulting bridges people and technology together for effective solutions for nonprofit organizations. We offer software and services that can help you with your accounting needs. Please contact Welter Consulting at 206-605-3113 for more information.

How Cloud Accounting Software Transforms Nonprofit Success

By | Accounting, Cloud, Nonprofit | No Comments

Stories are powerful ways in which nonprofits generate interest in their mission, secure donations, and obtain grants. Many nonprofits rely heavily on story-based marketing, for example, to share their mission and demonstrate the value of their work.

One way in which you can greatly enhance the power of your stories is through the thoughtful use of data. Data, although it may seem the antithesis of story-based marketing, actually underpins and supports stories to make them stronger and more effective. Here’s how cloud-based nonprofit accounting software can transform your organization in many ways, including how it tells your mission-driven story.

What’s Happening Behind the Financial Scenes?

In order to use data effectively, you must be able to access it in real-time. That’s where cloud accounting software comes into play.

Cloud-based systems rely on internet-enabled connections for users to access and update the system. This means that no matter where your personnel are working, their data flows quickly and efficiently into the cloud-based accounting system.

Another benefit of a cloud-based accounting system is its ability to provide a 360-degree view of all aspects of the organization. From marketing to accounting, grant funding and program-based initiatives, you’ll be able to get a clear and accurate picture of the financial data with cloud-based accounting systems.

Outcomes and Performance Matter to Donors

One way in which cloud-based accounting systems transform nonprofits and help them tell their stories is through outcomes and performance metrics. Both matter a great deal to donors. Many are very concerned with how funds are being used, especially given so many stories in the news about nonprofits wasting funds. The news, of course, exaggerates the bad news and makes it seem like fraud is lurking around every corner, but the impact on donors should not be underestimated.

With real-time visibility, you’ll be able to make better decisions to improve program impacts. Knowing your numbers means you can effect change in various program areas, applying funds to programs that are succeeding. This can enhance and boost both outcomes and performance, which in turn, can be shared as part of your organization’s success story.

Analyzing real time data and key performance indicators (KPIs) is what sets the top nonprofits apart from their counterparts. Such data and KPIs can only exist with the right visibility and data to enhance decision making.

Reducing Data Silos

Another way in which the right cloud software enhances a nonprofit’s ability to tell and sell their story, thus garnering support for their mission, is by reducing data silos. Disparate systems often hinder data sharing. It’s hard to get what you need when you have to ask colleagues to run reports or wait for someone to come back from vacation in order to access a system. With cloud systems, access can be shared among all employees. Levels of data visibility can be controlled; of course—the CFO needs different data than the receptionist. But all employees have the opportunity to view many aspects of organization wide data. This enables shared, improved decision making and collaboration, reduces data silos, and makes it much easier for all to work towards fulfilling the organization’s mission.

Improved Impact Through Collaboration

It is this collaboration that is essential to the modern mission-driven organization. Today’s nonprofits run effectively through teamwork and shared vision. Without shared data, they can struggle to achieve their goals. With shared data, it becomes much easier to discuss, share, and brainstorm, collaborate on problem solving, and come up with creative ways to handle the many challenges nonprofits face. The right cloud accounting software is essential to the success of many modern nonprofits.

Welter Consulting

Welter Consulting bridges people and technology together for effective solutions for nonprofit organizations. We offer software and services that can help you with your accounting needs. Please contact Welter Consulting at 206-605-3113 for more information.