Can automation help charities do more with less?

Copy 1 of Copy 1 of Accountancy Email Template Max Quality 1 | Can automation help charities do more with less?
By Natasha Standen | 25th January 2021 | 3 min read

2020 was unquestionably one of the most challenging years for charities. And, as we head into 2021, uncertainties still loom large around the Covid-19 pandemic and its wider impact on society and the economy.  Can automation help charities do more with less? It's certainly a pertinent question to consider.

Towards the end of last year, Pro Bono Economics reported that 75% of charities expect higher demand on their services in 2021, while 83% forecast a decline in income. Charities are being forced to find ways to cut costs – not just to fulfil that demand, but to survive.

In our last charity blog, we explored how the right analytics software can unlock a whole host of benefits for charities and not for profits, and identify areas where savings and cutbacks could be made.

But there’s an urgent resourcing issue too. Two thirds of charities reported having to furlough staff in 2020 and, while many are getting by with less people, almost 4 in 10 charities are concerned that the increase in demand for their services can’t be met. Many of those furloughed are service delivery staff, but a proportion are also from fundraising, finance, HR, charity retail, or other key roles.  

Dealing with an increasing amount of work, with less staff?

In many third sector organisations, particularly smaller ones, many staff already multi task, covering a number of functions. But, due to furlough – as well as all the other absence reasons surrounding the pandemic – remaining staff may well be asked to step up to even more additional duties, including ones they’re not used to doing.  

This can be a big ask, particularly when it comes to finance tasks. Charities and non profits face far more complex accounting than organisations from other sectors, not to mention the transparency required in reporting.

Automation tackles not just complex processes, but also the mundane ones

The good news is that many of those complex accounting and reporting tasks, specific to charities, can be automated and performed in seconds. Automation can help charities to take care of the simple, but laborious, admin jobs too, freeing up staff to focus on the increasing demand for services, and on vital fundraising activities.

IRIS Financials is our industry-leading unified ledger system, which brings together all your accounting and finance admin – and your data – into one place. It automates complicated and/or time-consuming processes and gives you quick and accurate reporting and analysis. The third sector-specific suite includes partial VAT accounting, chart of accounts, multi-currency consolidation, SORP/SoFA reporting over multiple financial periods, and donor, funder and trustee reporting.

The unified ledger system takes away the long and involved process of copying data between ledgers and reduces the risk of human error, such as miskeying. It’s all done automatically for you.  And all that data that’s held within the system can be combined, filtered and cross-referenced to reveal invaluable insights – all at the touch of a button.

All our financial tools are designed to work together – as well as with third party software – so you get a complete view of your organisation and systems, on one platform. This means that, on top of the resource-, money- and time-saving advantages of IRIS Financials, it can uncover further opportunities hidden in the data, that could help you stay afloat and continue delivering funds and support to those who need it.