Multifactor Authentication in the Modern Digital Landscape

By | Nonprofit, Technology | No Comments
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Everyone who is a cybersecurity professional agrees that multifactor authentication (MFA) is better than single-factor authentication when it comes to protecting systems from phishing. MFA depends on varieties of methods to verify a user’s identity such as emails and text messages, however, experts are finding that cyber predators are finding workarounds to MFA. So, what can your organization do to best protect itself from phishing and/or cyber-attacks?

Identify Your Vulnerabilities

What makes system access security most vulnerable is human involvement, which is unavoidable in most cases. For example, if a text-based MFA is sent to a phone without MFA, then it becomes pointless to use it. It’s important, then, to ensure that when it comes to your company’s systems, there’s a clear and concise guide for employees to follow to help prevent breaches. If your organization doesn’t have a guide for best MFA practices, we’ve got you. Below are some things to consider:

  1. Trust Your Vendor

Like any software, look for red flags beforehand. For example, is the vendor claiming to be “unhackable” in the same way the Titanic was deemed “unsinkable?” There’s no 100% guarantee that hackers won’t figure something out with time, so make sure that your vendor is being honest. Also, make sure that their encryption and products are described and presented clearly, and that the product can grow and change as the landscape around it does.

  1. Improve the Human Involvement

As we mentioned, human involvement is the biggest vulnerability when it comes to MFA, so make sure that you’ve taken the time to educate your staff and ensure they have the support and tools they need to comply with security guidelines. Hold training sessions, bring in experts, and be sure to show your employees what using MFA properly looks like.

Also, be sure to roll out your MFA to the entire organization and not in disparate silos. This is especially important if your workforce is partially or fully remote.

  1. Ease of Use, But Not at the Expense of Security

Along with proper training, ensure that you have an expert or security leader rolling out your MFA so that it’s configured properly from the get-go. If it’s challenging for your team(s) to use, your MFA might start causing more problems than solutions. If it’s possible, let your employees choose their MFA solutions—i.e., text messaging or fingerprint scanning. When they can choose what they’re most comfortable with, they’ll likely feel more in control and comply with the MFA.

Ensure, however, that if your employees are choosing their MFA, they understand the risks associated with each choice. Listen to the concerns of your employees and get a sense for who might need extra guidance or help in this process.

Implementing MFA in your organization can be easier than it sounds. Speak with a software consultant well-versed in nonprofits and your organization’s unique accounting needs before choosing an MFA provider to ensure the transition goes smoothly.

Cybercrime may be a constant threat, but there’s much you can do to prevent it. These tips, along with the right technology, can go a long way to protecting your organization.

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 to Evaluate Software and Technology as Part of Digital Transformation

By | Technology | No Comments
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If you’ve followed along in this article series about digital transformation, you know the importance of conducting a systems review and inventory and identifying your organization’s unique bottlenecks and pain points. Once you have this basic information in place, it’s time to consider software to help you complete your digital transformation.

Gather Your Team

Because most of the software that you’ll need will be used by multiple departments, it’s important that each department using it has a say in the final choice. Begin the software discovery process by gathering a team of representatives from each department who will help you review, evaluate, and choose the final software system.

Of course, IT should play a major role in the team. Partner with IT or other staff at the organization that are technology or accounting/finance savvy. Ask for their help gathering contact information from potential vendors and creating your request for proposal or project description.

Write the Project Description

A project description or request for proposal can be a big help when evaluating multiple software solutions and vendors. It will help you compare “apples to apples” when looking at all the different packages available.

Write out a description of the project, including key features needed and any other important information the potential vendors should know. Your IT department can fill in any information gaps they think potential software system vendors should know.

Other important information that you should share with the software vendors you’re working with during the discovery phase include:

  • The current software systems and technology you’re using (system review)
  • Needs analysis and requirements gathering (process mapping, pain points review)
  • Team members—their names and roles in the organizations
  • Decision-making process and the steps involved
  • The project timeline, including steps involved

Find a Consultant

An excellent way to save time and avoid software systems that aren’t right for your organization is to work with a software consultant though the initial discovery and vetting stages. A good consultant gets to know your organization and its pain points and will help you winnow out the products that aren’t the best fit for your needs. They may also know of software systems unfamiliar to you or your team that you should consider and will help you evaluate all the pros and cons of the various solutions under consideration.

Should You Share Your Budget?

Some companies are reluctant to fix a budget number to the project. They fear they will get taken advantage of if they have a large budget or ignored with a small budget.

Project budgets are important because the budget does determine the array of choices. Imagine walking into a car dealership and not having a budget in mind. It will be hard for the salesperson to help match you with the right vehicle if they don’t know your budget—your budget may be for an economical sedan or a luxury vehicle with all the bells and whistles.

You’ll end up wasting time looking at all the wrong vehicles if you don’t share your budget, and the same holds true for software projects. Have a budget range in mind and be honest with your consultant and vendors about funds available for the project. They will help you find a solution within the budget or help you understand the options available to you.

Vendor Turn Off

Sometimes, the software is right, but the vendor is a turn-off. Perhaps their salesperson rubs key team members the wrong way. If that’s the case, don’t ignore the software just because the vendor sets your teeth on edge. The same holds true for a charming or knowledgeable vendor who just doesn’t have the right software for your needs. Don’t follow a wonderful vendor into a bad software decision, and don’t ignore a great software package because of a bad vendor.

Ready to Begin?

The software selection process for an organization’s digital transformation should be taken slowly and thoughtfully. If you’re ready to begin, you now have the information you need through these articles to help you get started.

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.

Identify and Document Your Organization’s Pain Points

By | Technology | No Comments
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In our previous articles, we’ve talked about the importance of digital transformation as well as one of the initial steps in the process—a systems review. At the end of the systems review process, we recommended listing all the bottlenecks or pain points experienced in your organization as a step to identifying software needs to improve productivity and efficiency.

Today, we’re going to dig a little deeper into how to identify and document bottlenecks, pain points, and basically, all those things that keep your organization from working at peak efficiency.

Mapping Internal Processes

Each process within your organization includes multiple steps. Mapping an internal process means identifying and organizing the steps necessary to understand how the process unfolds. Once a process is mapped out, it quickly becomes evident when there are bottlenecks in the process that software is either helping or hindering.

Here’s a quick example: Nonprofit A reimburses employees for valid business expenses such as meals when traveling. Employees are required to submit their receipts and a form listing each vendor, expense category, and expense amount. They must staple the receipts to the form and a manager must sign the form. Then, the form is submitted to the Accounts Payable person, who enters the information into the accounting system. If approved by the CFO, the AP person issues a check to the employee.

Note how this example (which may be typical of small or startup nonprofits) relies heavily on manual forms, data entry, and checks. What if this could be automated?

This is a simple example of an internal process that, once mapped, demonstrates many areas where automation can improve efficiency. Newer accounting software may enable users to scan receipts, with software that decodes the scanned text and enters it automatically into the requisite fields. The request for reimbursement can be routed via email to the appropriate managers and electronically approved. And, in the revised scenario, reimbursement can be issued via direct deposit to an employee, another step towards improving efficiency.

However, without mapping out the internal process in a stepwise manner, it is difficult to see areas in which automation improves efficiency. The old, comfortable familiar, established may simply be taken for granted. Until it is mapped and examined, it may remain as a hidden or obvious bottleneck to organizational efficiency.

Where to Begin Process Mapping

The accounting department is a logical place to begin mapping internal processes. Examples include:

Accounts Payable and Disbursements

  • Expense approvals
  • Document management
  • Credit card management
  • Procurement
  • Vendor information such as new vendor information
  • 1099 Processing
  • Payment to vendors
  • Positive Pay File with Bank

Revenue and Accounts Receivable

  • Invoicing and statements
  • Customer tracking
  • Donor tracking
  • Events
  • Grant management (and restrictions on use of funds)
  • Revenue recognition
  • Receiving payments
  • Cash receipts (not AR) entry
  • Prepayments
  • Deferred revenue

General Ledger

  • Segmented/Dimension COA
  • Fund Accounting Systems (balancing)
  • Auto reversal of entries
  • Inter-company entries and eliminations
  • Batch processing and posting
  • Fiscal year/period close (soft/hard)
  • Allocation of time entry
  • Statement of activities
  • Functional statement of revenues and expenses
  • Accrual vs cash accounting
  • Report on multiple periods

As you can see, there’s a lot of ground to cover—and many processes to map. Once you’ve completed this step, however, you should have a clear picture of where automation can help remove bottlenecks.

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.

Systems Review: Inventory Your Current Systems and Technology

By | Technology | No Comments
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An important part of any digital transformation journey is a systems review. A systems review consists of inventorying current systems and technology to understand precisely what is available, the purpose of each software, and how it is used.

Let’s unpack a systems review in three steps:

  1. Identify current software systems used throughout the organization
  2. Define purpose of each system and the use of the software
  3. Understand the strategic plan around the software’s use and how the various software systems interface with one another

Step 1: Identify Current Software Systems

Before you can understand how the systems work or interact, you must identify each system used in the organization. These systems may include operations, accounting, communications, marketing, and so on. If you have an IT department, they can help you take a complete inventory of each system. It may be helpful to note whether the system is hosted on premises or cloud-based and when it was last updated.

Step 2: Define the Purpose and Use

This is a critical step. By defining the purpose and use of each software system noted in step 1, you’re thinking through the who, how, and why of software use. It is helpful to set up a spreadsheet with a column for each software that you’ve identified and then, defining the purpose and use of the software under it.

For example, you may have basic business accounting software that you use throughout your organization. List the name of the software, then include who uses it—accounting, finance, marketing, etc. Next, write down the various functions it provides such as accounts payable, accounts receivable, invoicing, check ledger, credit card reconciliation, bank reconciliation, and so on.

Step 3: Understand the Strategic Plan

In step three, you’ll add details to your software inventory about where the software fits into your organization’s overall plan. Accounting software supports all areas of the organization, providing the financial backbone from which all business can be transacted. But what about other software you use? Everything from the office productivity package that enables you to send emails and write proposals to the special software you graphics team uses to edit images should be used in some strategic way to fulfill your organization’s mission. Now is the time to document this information.

Fitting the Puzzle Pieces Together

After the inventory is complete, it’s time to fit the puzzle pieces together. Once you have everything down on paper, you may notice gaps among the software systems you are using. Perhaps you have many legacy systems that have aged and are no longer supported by the manufacturers, but you’re not sure what you need to replace them. Or, some of the software systems you’re using don’t interface with other systems, which causes bottlenecks, redundant data, and misinformation.

Note all of these on a “wish list.” Problems aren’t just roadblocks, but rather opportunities. As you complete your systems inventory, you’ll find some gaps that require special assistance to fill. That’s where working with Welter Consulting can help. Vicki Welter offers a free consultation that includes a systems review. You can schedule it by contacting her at

The right software can automate manual processes, improve efficiency, and help every department work better together. A systems review is an important step in an organization’s overall digital transformation.

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.