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Say No to Excel! Nonprofit Finance Automation

  • 4 min read

According to the Sage Intacct 2022 Nonprofit Technology Trends Report, the top five internal frustrations limiting nonprofit organizations all stem from having time-consuming, manual, paper-based financial processes—exactly the type of inefficiencies created by a reliance on spreadsheets. Nonprofit finance leaders are adopting modern cloud technology to become better stewards and expand mission impact.

Let’s explore how cloud-based nonprofit accounting software empowers nonprofit finance teams to finally kick the Excel habit by automating transactional accounting tasks, delivering real-time data, and supporting strategic decision-making to drive greater mission impact.

Close the books faster with automated reporting and multi-entity consolidation

The Close the Books Survey revealed organizations can shorten close process times by 36% by switching from spreadsheets to cloud financial management. Cloud solutions automate data calculations and integrate disparate systems, eliminating the need to pull information into Excel to manipulate or reformat it for reporting. A dimensional chart of accounts helps you speed up reporting with the ability to easily sort, slice, and dice real-time data. With the ability to close your books faster, you’ll gain faster insights to make decisions based on real-time, reliable information.

Automating multi-entity consolidation activities eliminates hours to days of manual work, which also contributes to faster closing times. A cloud financial management solution automates consolidations from any internet-connected location around the globe, calculates currency conversions and accounts for intercompany eliminations–so you can say no to performing manual data manipulation in Excel. Among the survey respondents with more than five entities, closing the books is two days faster when using a cloud financial management system.

Simplify nonprofit revenue recognition

Nonprofit finance leaders are also saving time and ensuring accuracy by using cloud financial management systems to automatically calculate revenue recognition using real-time data from CRM and labor-tracking systems. Cloud systems eliminate the need to export sales data to Excel or manually complete billing worksheets since data can automatically flow between systems.

Additionally, cloud financial management systems ensure compliance with FASB regulations. According to ASC 606 standards, nonprofits must evaluate revenue sources and consider how to adjust internal processes to ensure proper revenue treatment. Rather than performing manual work in spreadsheets, nonprofit finance leaders are leveraging automation to create the journal entries necessary for compliance, reducing the risk of error and preparing them for the next audit.

Sage Intacct automatically recognizes revenue when milestones are met.

Increase efficiency through process automation in AP

Nonprofit cloud accounting systems also provide users with opportunities to eliminate paper processes in Accounts Payable. Instead of passing paper documents from one person to the next in an approval change, nonprofit finance staff is using automated approval workflows that track each step and store the approvals. For example, paperless automation enabled Hunter Health to increase efficiency by 75% and reduced overhead costs by $100,000.

Gain real-time visibility for planning and budgeting

Over the last three years of pandemic and economic uncertainty, the ability to budget and plan for the future has been both more crucial and difficult than ever. Cloud financial management solutions provide real-time insight into budget vs actuals—without your nonprofit finance team having to manually pull a report. Automation of the budgeting and planning process provides confidence to staff as they work with the most up-to-date versions and have the necessary detail and contextual support needed to perform rapid what-if analysis and produce credible forecasts.


Conditions can change quickly and it’s important for nonprofit organizations to have the right technology to adapt and adjust quickly. In today’s global, digital and hybrid workforce world, there is no place for spreadsheet-based manual processes or stale data. Modern cloud financial management systems like Sage Intacct for Nonprofits empower nonprofits to make data-driven decisions and act strategically to drive greater mission impact.

This post was originally published on Sage Intacct Blog.