Helping Hand for Relief and Development, Inc. serves those impacted by disasters and poverty in 85 countries: Founded in 2005, HHRD manages functions from orphan sponsorship (20,000+ orphans sponsored) to Covid relief (1+ million individuals helped). Between its 14 functions, HHRD reported a difference made in over 11 million human lives around the world.
We sat down with Farooq Haque, CFO, to ask about HHRD and Xledger.
What are the top challenges your finance department has faced over the last year?
From an operations perspective, we work internationally and have a lot of international relief programs. So when COVID hit, it hit us hard to the core. Trying to keep our operations running in these congested areas with large populations was a challenge.
When the COVID-19 pandemic started how were you impacted?
In hindsight, it has made us a bit leaner and more remote. We have adopted new tech into our operations. But at that time, it was concerning. We weren’t sure if we should shift our targets for the year since many of our donors were losing their jobs.
What changes has HHRD made during the COVID-19 pandemic and how many do you plan on keeping in place?
We are trying to automate a lot of our procedures. Overall Xledger has been working great for us in that regard.
How has a cloud financial software benefited you during the COVID-19 pandemic?
We have offices in Jordan, Pakistan, Nepal, Afghanistan, and Kenya. Our accountants in these locations can manage Xledger subsidiaries across an entire continent remotely. When the pandemic hit, some of the accountants had to go back to their families in other countries and could continue their work as normal through Xledger.
How would you envision your financial processes if you didn’t have Xledger over the last few years?
I remember how it was for us back when we had Quickbooks. We switched from Quickbooks to Xledger. If we never would have made that change it would have been chaotic; it would have been bad. More manual work, not nearly as automated, and not having remote access. Automated bank reconciliation processes and being able to dump data into the general ledger: those two alone are huge for us. From a global perspective, being able to report in multiple currencies has really helped us a lot with consolidating that data.
How have the automated processes improved your function as a CFO?
It forced us to think a bit differently. In the past, we weren’t thinking that way before we adopted Xledger, and it shifted gears for us. We noticed if we could fix and automate these operations, what else could we automate? So now we are looking to automate any operation we can.
Why ultimately did you choose Xledger over other options or decide to stick with Quickbooks?
We had a few main requirements for our software, reporting currencies, and consolidation to name a few. Xledger met all of these. Not only did Xledger meet them, but Xledger was a lower cost.
What are some past challenges you faced that are now solvable with Xledger?
Consolidated chart of accounts to where you consolidate with a click of a button, recording of multiple currencies but reporting in one currency. Budget to actual reports and customized reports are key as well.
Why would you recommend Xledger to another CFO of a nonprofit or NGO?
Overall, I would recommend it based on our past issues with Quickbooks and compared to other software solutions out there. The customer service has always been great: anytime you need anything you can reach out to someone and they will be more then helpful. They also listen to you, and we always appreciate that you are listening to us.
Are there any other Xledger tools that have made your life easier?
The custom reporting: I can go in and see at a consolidated scale or at a subsidiary level what the budget to actual is looking like, for any given month or any given period. You can drill down into those reports to see line items. Automated bank reconciliation has also been huge and really helpful. We have saved over 80 hours in accounting per month.