WHITE PAPER CHARITIES & NOT-FOR-PROFIT INCREASED PRODUCTIVITY, WITH FEWER RESOURCES, FOR LESS MONEY

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1 CHARITIES & NOT-FOR-PROFIT WHITE PAPER INCREASED PRODUCTIVITY, WITH FEWER RESOURCES, FOR LESS MONEY Capital Tower, 91 Waterloo Road, London SE1 8RT telephone:

2 1.0 CLOUD ACCOUNTING: OVERVIEW The traditional model for buying accounting software was to pay an upfront licence fee and then on-going maintenance or upgrade charges. This often involved a large initial capital outlay both in terms of purchasing the software itself and the hardware to run it. As software has became more complex, it also means companies require specialists in particular software to configure, manage and offer support on an on-going basis. Accounting software in the past decade has changed and there is now a range of solutions available to meet the unique and specific needs of not-for-profit organisations on-demand. These Cloud, or Software-as-a-Service (SaaS), applications provide organisations with the latest software developed on a subscription basis. This removes the need for upfront capital investment in terms of hardware and software, as well as upgrade costs. It also means that organisations, no matter what their size, no longer need to manage and support accounting applications in-house, as that is taken care of by the company supplying the service. The following paper discusses the common misconceptions associated with using web-based accounting software within charitable and not-for-profit organisations and provides a checklist of things to consider when considering this type of application. 2.0 INCREASED PRODUCTIVITY, WITH FEWER RESOURCES, FOR LESS MONEY In a constricted economic climate - where every pound raised or saved is critical to the services you can provide - technology can make a huge contribution by delivering increased productivity, with fewer resources, for less money. Charitiable and Not-For-Profit organisations have some key essential requirements 'from the Cloud' including: SORP reporting Restricted and unrestricted funding management Straight forward Integration with popular fund raising packages Timesheet and expense management The adoption of Cloud solutions is one way to become more effective, improve efficiency and save money. However, organisations need to select the correct application for their needs and ensure they are working with a reputable vendor. Aqilla Cloud Accounting Software

3 We needed a system to integrate our CRM and the web, and Aqilla's solution was very straightforward to purchase, and promised a significant saving of time and money. A major attraction was Aqilla's ability to meet our unique accounting requirements as a charity. The result has been a great success. Tim Moore, Leap Confronting Conflict 3.0 WHAT ARE THE PERCEIVED RISKS OF MOVING (OR NOT) TO THE CLOUD? Previous research showed that executives trusted existing internal systems over Cloud applications by a ratio of five to one. This was mainly due to fears around perceived security threats and the loss of control of data and systems. However, many of those fears are unfounded and with spiralling costs of managing the required hardware infrastructure and increasing costs of maintenance and support which often provide very little benefit here we dispel the five most common myths surrounding Cloud based accounting. MYTH 1 CLOUD IS LESS RELIABLE & LESS SECURE THAN ON-PREMISE APPLICATIONS Cloud vendors understand that security is one of the key considerations for businesses and have all developed policies and infrastructure to safeguard clients data. They are dedicated to developing and delivering the application, and provide a level of resilience and security well beyond the majority of in-house systems these include guaranteed levels of availability, daily remote backup, business continuity provision and also remote access, which means that data is not stored on laptops or desktops that could be lost or stolen. An organisation would have to spend hundreds of thousands of pounds to come close to providing the same degree of facility offered by the modern, world class data centre utilised by most Cloud solutions. In fact external security audits, for standards required by credit card companies such as PCI DSS or anything else required on behalf of clients, are carried out on a regular basis. MYTH 2 WITH CLOUD BUSINESSES LOSE CONTROL OF DATA Clients can exercise complete control over their data by defining the right service level agreements in the same way as customers money in the bank remains the customers money, data remains the property of the user. You change supplier, you take your data with you. It is worth understanding where the data is stored, as it may be governed by different access and privacy laws. For example, in the United States of America, the Patriot Act permits law enforcement agencies to access the data if they consider it relevant to their investigations. If data is accessed in this manner, the data holder (likely to be a US-based vendor) is not allowed to tell the overseas data owner that their data has been accessed, even if the vendor is contractually bound to do so. Most Cloud vendors offer comprehensive service level agreements which address all aspects of confidentiality, service availability and customer support. Because there is no infrastructure to worry about, there's no need to have a debate with the IT function as to whose problem it is if things go wrong.

4 MYTH 3 THE TECHNOLOGY IS NEW AND UNPROVEN How many years have Amazon.com been selling books on line? 16 years! Everyone who uses the internet uses the Cloud in some form, most commonly with banking, tax submission (e.g. HMRC), webmail and social networking applications, so it is certainly nothing new. In the business environment, the Cloud has been used effectively for over a decade with applications like Customer Relationship Management (CRM) from vendors such as salesforce.com becoming a major player. All the major vendors such as Oracle, SAP, IBM and Microsoft are 100% committed to migrating to a Cloud based model. Whilst this may take some time, it is only a natural progression for other types of business applications, such as accounting, to follow. MYTH 4 CLOUD APPLICATIONS ARE LESS FEATURE-RICH Contemporary Cloud accounting applications tend to not only be easier to use than their on-premises cousins, but also provide advanced functionality beyond simple bookkeeping. Users are presented with pervasive functionality giving everybody the information they need, on demand, anytime from anywhere. Using the right solution should allow for information to be easily shared both inside the organisation and externally with accountants and other trusted parties or suppliers. Integration with line of business solutions and everyday tools such as Microsoft Excel along with sophisticated reporting and analysis is a given. MYTH 5 THE ONLY REAL BENEFIT OF MOVING TO THE CLOUD IS COST SAVINGS Cost has often been considered as the major driver for businesses looking at web-based applications, however, these types of applications have a much wider range of benefits including the flexibility to use them wherever there s an internet connection, which means that people reduce their downtime and can work with colleagues even when they re away from the office. According to latest research from Aqilla, the reality is that cost is no longer the only factor driving adoption of web-based applications. The majority of finance professionals see the ability to use applications anywhere and collaboration with colleagues as being more important. The research, conducted at a series of events held across the country by the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales (ICAEW) and followed up one year later by Aqilla, highlighted that more than three quarters (76 per cent) of respondents saw flexibility as a key benefit of web-based applications, with 52 per cent impressed by the ability to share information more effectively across the whole business. Surprisingly, less than one third (30 per cent) cited value for money as the reason why they switched.

5 4.0 CHOOSING A SUPPLIER: TEN QUESTIONS TO ASK 1. What is the company s heritage/background? 2. What security policies and infrastructure do they have in place? 3. Where will my data stored is it in a data centre? Is it on-shore in the UK? 4. Are there any case studies or reference sites of similar companies available to me? 5. What is the implementation process how long does it generally take? 6. Are there Service Level Guarantees for availability? 7. What security policies and infrastructure do they have in place? 8. What functionality is included in the standard product? 9. What is the term of the contract? 10. What level of support do they provide, in terms of set-up and ongoing? ABOUT AQILLA Aqilla are specialist providers of Cloud Accounting solutions for Non Profit Organisations that want: to spend less and reduce costs of providing key services, more functionality, no IT headaches and better access to information. Aqilla software is cost effective, reliable and secure. We can help your organisation with significant savings and increased productivity. We're nice people and understand the requirement to balance IT costs against the need to effectively account for income and expenditure. The system is incredibly easy to use, fast to set up and delivers the results and functionality you need, as one Aqilla client - Leap Confronting Conflict - noted recently: " We needed a system to integrate our CRM and the web, and Aqilla's solution was very straightforward to purchase, and promised a significant saving of time and money. A major attraction was Aqilla's ability to meet our unique accounting requirements as a charity. The result has been a great success. " We would be delighted to discuss our solution and our specialist approach for organisations like yours. Please contact us today by by phone: , or visit our website:

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