Every 12 to 18 months, computer manufacturers double the capabilities of their products specifically improving processing and memory. Software developers know they must keep up with the pace of technology enhancements to build faster, better packages to meet the needs of their clients. Digital trends emerge, such as cloud computing, blockchain, artificial intelligence, and virtual/augmented reality that transform how all businesses conduct operations, financial transactions, and more.
The following selected technology trends highlighted in a recent Deloitte publication affecting fund accounting for nonprofits. If you’d like to learn how these trends might impact your fund accounting, contact us online for a free consultation.
Artificial Intelligence (AI) Enhancements to Fund Accounting
Organizations utilize AI to enhance data-driven decision making. AI enhances fund accounting programs by “remembering” and repeating specific tasks such as running reports on specified days, routing documents to the correct team members for approval and review, and similar tasks.
Cloud computing has been available for several years and some programs such as AccuFund offer both on-premise and cloud-based versions of their government fund accounting solution.
On-premise solutions are locally installed on a company owned server for employee access or on individual computers. Cloud-based solutions are accessed through the Internet and hosted by the software vendor or a third-party provider. Get informed about cloud vs. on-premise in our whitepaper.
Organizations are using cloud systems as an additional layer of security and convenience. Users can access the system anywhere, anytime, using a web-based login. Role-based access to specific fund accounting features can be established to ensure highly confidential data remains secure.
Advanced Networking and 5G
Advanced networking and 5G enhance connectivity so that broader connections can be made among databases and servers. The resulting connections provide the potential for organizations to give field workers greater access and power.
Organizations must ensure their field staff use devices capable of 5G speeds. The current computing technology available on a desktop will pale in comparison to what’s available on a mobile device capable of 5G.
For fund accounting, this may mean that more people can work on the system at once. Organizations across cities and states may be able to connect more easily to the accounting system and obtain information without calling or texting the accounting department for information.
Chatbots and Automated Searches
Chatbots and voice-activated systems continue to gain sophistication through advance neural learning and language learning. As they gain fluency and competency, they can be used in fund accounting to answer simple questions, respond to basic commands, and search for data.
Consider Siri or other popular voice-activated bots. Siri can search online for the latest FASB and GASB updates. A similar voice-activated bot in a fund accounting program may be able to dig into the files to deliver to your desktop a list of invoices due immediately.
Chatbots can also provide self-service information on organizational interfaces. Instead of contacting the accounting department for information, a chatbot may be able to answer frequently asked questions to an internal or external audience.
In 2019, People Inc. of New York State, a nonprofit, experienced a cyber attack that exposed 1,000 sensitive medical records. Nonprofits aren’t immune to cyber attacks. In fact, they may be at greater risk since criminals know they lack the funds to fight back. Ransomware, phishing schemes, trojans, and other methods exploit vulnerabilities in websites, databases, and email systems. And, of course, workers can be tricked into exposing data by responding to emails that seem legitimate.
Cyber Security enhancements across all technology provide greater deterrent against crime. They are essential for fund accounting, especially for organizations that handle sensitive data such as medical information, taxation and banking information for constituents, and more.
Keeping abreast of cyber security updates and working with a consultant knowledgeable about cybersecurity helps prevent attacks. Choosing a fund accounting program that provides excellent security is also a great deterrent.
EMK: Keeping You Updated on the Latest Technology
EMK Inc. provides consulting and software services to keep you abreast of the latest technology. AccuFund, a fund accounting program, adds the latest technology trends and enhancements with each rollout to ensure clients receive the best software for their needs. Contact us for a free consultation or demonstration of AccuFund’s fund accounting software.