In today’s world, we rely on technology, software, and automation for a lot of our work. It is no different in the association world, and the need for the right software is paramount in how an association is functioning. Software is essential to an accounting department’s efficiency, speed of completion and reducing costly bookkeeping mistakes.
So, what would happen if, with little notice, your association’s custom-built software was taken out from underneath you? In addition, the association is facing a major staffing and location transition. Having adapted and survived this scenario, here are the tools we used to get through it.
When you realize you have a crisis on your hands, start by taking stock of the situation. Some questions that need to be considered are:
- Which tasks are crucial, and which can be put on hold?
- Who is affected?
- What are the consequences?
- What resources do we need immediately and in the long term?
- What do we have that we can make use of in a different way?
- What are our time constraints?
Now that you have a snapshot of the situation, it is time to make an action plan. What is working currently? It was time to put our creativity to the test and use the resources we had in new ways. It might not always be the “best” solution, but in our case, since it “worked at all,” it was all we had (in this scenario, the association had been using QuickBooks for some of its bookkeeping, but not as it is main software. We were able to find a way to use QuickBooks for the entirety of it is booking. Still, since it was painstakingly time-consuming and challenging for the members to reconcile the statements provided, it was not a long-term solution).
The next item to tackle was finding a long-term solution that would work efficiently and effectively. To do this, we needed an expert in accounting software. Since the previous software was custom-built, we considered, do we hire a software developer to build what we needed or can we find someone to customize an existing system. In addition, it was essential to making a list of requirements that the new software would require.
After speaking with several software experts, developers and companies and doing extensive research, we found a solution we thought we could trust and the right people to help us implement it.
The key was keeping our focus on the end goal and trying not to get overwhelmed by the day-to-day details while temporarily using a solution that was less than ideal.
Communication is always the most important part of any predicament. Being honest with your members about your situation will help get everyone on the same page. Also, it would help if you reassured them that this is a temporary situation and that everything you can do is being done.
If you currently do not have a means of communication, consider these options:
- Mass emails
- Eblast services
- Social media pages
Ensure positive and encouraging messages, and bring a sense of community within the association.
Having the right people on the team makes all the difference. When systems are unknown and time is a constraint, it can make for a difficult work situation. As above, communication is the most important piece of the puzzle. There are sure to be many moving parts, and keeping everyone up to date will pay off.
Supporting each other by making people feel valued for their work and time, especially for extended hours if required, encourages a team player mentality and benefits everyone involved.
We also learned the importance of flexibility. Whether bringing on temporary staff or offering part-time options to our permanent team, any hours we could get were helpful, as well as flexibility regarding the location of work (home vs office).
The key in this situation was maintaining a productive, not alarmist, mindset. Some tips to attain this are:
- Know your core values, the qualities that make you your authentic best self.
- Consistently check your thoughts, choices, and behaviours to ensure they align with your core values.
- Reflect on how the situation is affecting others. Are you doing what you can to adjust to meet people where they are for maximum success?
- Stay focused on the goals while trying not to get overwhelmed by the big picture. One step at a time.
*For more financial tips on managing a crisis, see our previous articles: