7 Ways Cloud Accounting & ERP Helps Nonprofits Run the Operation and Deliver the Mission

13 min read

Think of your nonprofit accounting system. It’s not a simple entity – it’s a complex system from donor databases, buildings, memberships, payroll, and expenses – so why are all these pieces not integrated in your existing accounting and financial management? Excel spreadsheets just won’t cut it. You have a responsibility to be efficient and to maximize limited resources.

A cloud-based accounting and financial management ERP software can bring all these pieces together under a single dashboard with robust reporting. Whether you are a charity, religious organization, or a shelter, an integrated accounting and ERP system like Microsoft Dynamics 365 Business Central can help you automate approval workflows, manage subsidiary ledgers, generate GAAP financial statements, all without cumbersome navigation and customizations.

Driving Financial Harmony Across Your Nonprofit Operations

Every nonprofit needs financial systems in place to run their operation and ensure they can deliver on their mission. The lack of a profit motive does not mean that a non-profit organization, be it a church or school or advocacy group, can afford to be less focused on its finances. With shrinking budgets and stricter requirements, it’s essential that every dollar be allocated wisely. Allocating funds, reporting, expenses, salaries, and many other costs all require a solution – not spreadsheets – that reduce workload and improves accuracy, freeing up valuable time and resources.

Unify Financials and Operations with Dynamics 365 Cloud Accounting for Nonprofits

The ROI on ERP for non-profit organizations is quickly realized when your operation can effectively deliver on its mission. It’s apparent why more non-profits, schools, and religious organizations are trusting Microsoft’s Business Central ERP for their financial management and accounting. Integrated with your email, CRM, and infrastructure, Dynamics 365 Business Central allows you to unify financials and operations across different charities, funding sources, memberships and associations, and drive new operational efficiencies to support regulatory compliance, and automate key functions including workflows and reporting.

“360 Visibility’s knowledge and expertise of Dynamics 365 Business Central has evolved our Organization from an on-premise network to a cloud-based solution. They provide friendly service and do not push their customers on any unwanted or unnecessary add-ons.” – Michael Duncan, Director of Finance and Property, Community Living Thunder Bay

Read more about how Community Living migrated from Dynamics NAV to Dynamics 365 Business Central and unified their not for profit accounting.

Community Living

Smarter Reporting and Automated Workflows

Non-profits already make do with limited resources, so why stretch those even thinner by having to focus on managing budgets and funding when your accounting team can make business reporting faster, easier and insightful using Dynamics 365 Business Central and Jet Reports. Simplify the process of managing grants and funding and have a clear picture of your nonprofit operations.

Jet Reports is a fully integrated reporting solution for Business Central that is built in Excel. Use it to analyze, manipulate and present data and make smarter and faster decisions.

  • Manage grants and budgets more effectively
  • Provide accurate detailed reports on how funds are spent
  • Track consolidated profit and loss by budget
  • Analyze donation data for more effective marketing
  • Improve forecasting to track donations by the time period you choose
  • Deliver better service not only to constituents, but to your employees by streamlining processes and access to information across the organization

Watch an in-depth demo on Jet Reports, Jet Budget, and Jet Analytics for Dynamics 365 Business Central.


With extensive built-in automation and business intelligence, churches and religious institutions, schools, or charities can rely on a user-friendly and intuitive nonprofit ERP accounting system. Repetitive tasks and processes can be replaced with automated workflows, such as, approvals, invoicing, or grant management, all while adhering to strict reporting guidelines. Ultimately, human error and intervention in data management is reduced, and productivity and time savings are realized.

Automate financial management and accounting reporting functionality with Business Central and Jet Reports. The Jet Reports add-on gives you advanced automated reporting templates customized to suit your needs providing you greater insight and transparency in your organization.

Centralized Data and Systems

Your nonprofit organization is made up of many moving parts. Managing donors, volunteers, funding, grants, communication, accounting, and the list goes on. The primary purpose of any ERP is to replace as many disparate products and data silos as possible while providing a central system of record for all financial data to be captured natively and through intelligent integrations. Having all your data in a single, integrated ERP system is not only extremely powerful, but simply the way it should be. Using the power of the Microsoft Azure Cloud and Dynamics 365 Business Central, your most important data and systems are centralized so your team can work smarter, faster and do more with less.

Dynamics 365, dynamics 365 business central, dynamics 365 partner

Make informed decisions using connected data from reports, charts, and Microsoft Power BI dashboards across finance and accounting, sales, purchasing, and inventory. The late payment prediction extension helps you reduce receivables.

View charts and reports in real time through built-in reports, Excel, or Power BI. Use unlimited dimensions for your data to identify patterns and trends.

Accelerate financial closing and reporting by using the integrated accounts receivable and payable capabilities. Streamline the process with approval workflows and Microsoft Power Automate integration.

Track financial performance with custom general ledger (G/L) and account schedules reporting. Evaluate cost, revenue, or profit reporting in the cost accounting module.

Take your business on the go.  The mobile version supports both cloud and on-premises users with a consistent experience across Windows, Android, and iOS devices.

Bring all departments under a single system to get a complete view of the environment, relationships, members, volunteers, donations and contacts. Manage all interactions from a single dashboard with Business Central and provide services effectively.

Securing Your Data and Your Reputation

Data security, governance, and access protocols must be top of mind to protect sensitive data and the safety of your organization from internal and external threats. But the last thing you should worry about is “Do I have the resources to maintain security?” Dynamics 365 Business Central is built and protected by the secure Microsoft Azure Cloud. With complete control over where your data resides – Cloud Data Centers available in Canada or USA – you can ensure strict data governance in accordance with local guidelines.

User-Access Control in Dynamics 365 Business Central

The Business Central security system allows you to control with objects or tables or workflows a user can access within each database. With your reputation at stake, ensure strict control over what data can be accessed.

Scaling to Meet New Demands

According to a Deloitte survey, more than 80% of SMBs that use the cloud believe it enables them to scale and grow faster.

As you try to keep up with donor demands, or your executive duties increase, these may effectively derail your organization as resources get stretched too thin. Without nonprofit ERP systems in place, you are left at the whim of the basic functionality of your existing system.

Dynamics 365 Business Central is designed to scale seamlessly with your organization and support your operational growth. Automation and workflows allow you to continue to manage regular ongoing tasks and rapidly meet new demand.

Simply creating new efficiencies in how resources are allocated can create more productivity elsewhere. The manual workload to generate complex reports is very high, consuming valuable resources and time. Leveraging pre-built functionality in Dynamics 365 Business Central will free up significant administrative time that can allow your nonprofit organization to meet growth objectives.

Reducing the Costs of Accounting Management

With greater complexity in reporting and regulatory compliance, security, and budget transparency, the overall costs of accounting management are daunting. Fiscal responsibility is paramount, and with stakeholders and donors requiring visibility to where funds are going, you need to demonstrate why their money is being used wisely. That is where investing in an ERP system like Dynamics 365 Business Central is critical.

accounting software, erp software, dynamics 365 business central

When it comes to your accounting software, you have four options.

An Integrated Nonprofit ERP system will help you:

  • Provide budget transparency
  • Reduce the costs of accounting management

Justifying expenditures can be difficult but your success is tied to your financial capabilities. Business Central is a subscription cloud ERP system with low monthly user costs and an intuitive implementation, allowing your organization to realize the return on the investment quickly. As a cloud-based system, you remove the dependence on local servers, capital expenditures, IT and Security teams, and on-going maintenance and operations costs. This all adds up to improve your bottom line, relieving financial strain and allowing you to put funds to activities that drive your mission forward.

Integrating Your Nonprofit Operation

Your non-profit organization likely has an accounting or ERP software, CRM for contact and donor database management, Human Resources, Payroll, Email, etc. That’s a significant investment in numerous different software and vendors, all requiring special attention. Most concerning is they are most likely unable to communicate and share data seamlessly with each other. And that is a problem when it comes to how you operate your organization, maintaining tight control over finances and making sure every dollar is well spent.

Enter the Microsoft Cloud

The Microsoft Cloud comprises an intelligent, integrated, and secure suite of business and productivity applications. Each component designed to share data seamlessly between applications, and increase productivity while reducing software, hardware, and maintenance costs, and best of all, protected behind the secure Microsoft Azure Cloud. Microsoft Dynamics 365 brings together applications for Sales. Human Resources, Marketing, Finance and Accounting. These are all seamless integrated with Microsoft 365 for day-to-day productivity, email, meetings, file storage, and secured by the Azure Cloud.

Making Microsoft Dynamics 365 Business Central your nonprofit business management solution

At some point along the way, every organization has to decide: do you keep doing what you’ve always done, or do you make a change?

The processes, tools, and resources you’ve always relied on have to rise with you; they have to adapt to an influx in users, transactions, and data for that growth to continue. There’s an understandable loyalty to the tools from those early days, but they can either work with you to advance your goals, or they can create new challenges and slow you down. For an ambitious, growing company, microbusiness accounting solutions are practical allies to keep your “I’s” dotted and your “T’s” crossed—but they often struggle to keep pace alongside a thriving business.

As a Tier 1 Gold Microsoft Partner, 360 Visibility has aided a number of non-profit organizations including religious institutions, schools, and charities, make the transition to Microsoft Dynamics 365 Business Central. Across Canada and the United States, organizations are implementing Business Central, Microsoft 365, and the Azure Cloud to deliver on their mission while maximizing every dollar in their budget with complete transparency and adherence to compliance regulations.

We are here to help your non-profit organization take the next step forward!


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Barbara Allen
Barbara Allen
Throughout her career, Barb has held various key leadership positions as ERP Team Leader, Project Manager, Consultant and Business Systems Implementer. She has successfully implemented ERP systems such as Microsoft Dynamics, Deltek Maconomy and WorkBook in organizations of all sizes; from start-ups companies with 2 users, to Fortune 500 companies with over 1400 users.
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