OdooTec Supports the Charity's Work Cycle
OdooTec strives to offer expert solutions to improve enterprises' efficiency and profitability across various sectors and industries. As a result, the OdotoTec team is constantly eager to present novel solutions, especially in those industries that are being explored for the first time. Due to the charity's confidence in OdooTec as one of the finest Odoo system suppliers in the area, OdooTec agreed to be the first to implement the Odoo application in one of the largest charities in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.
In this post, we'll discuss one of the solutions OdooTec offered to a nonprofit organization specializing in doing good deeds by raising money and starting humanitarian projects. We will also outline the charity's needs and the solutions OdooTec offers to meet those needs.
In this article, we will focus on ideas that relate to the charity’s work of collecting donations, delivering them to individuals who need them, and setting up the appropriate systems.
About the Charity
Since 1989, the charity has been providing specific services to people in need in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. It is a non-profit organization that uses donations to help the beneficiaries in various ways. These include giving them money or goods, offering them coupons for discounts, or lending them some goods for free or at low prices that they cannot afford to buy. Some of the donations are later repaid as soft loans according to Islamic Sharia’s rules.
Before Odoo systems, the charity tried many local systems in the last thirty years. But none of them could automate all the charity’s activities in a unified and smooth way through one system. The charity studied the available programs in the market and found following two options:
Using different systems for all the charity’s activities and dealing with the technical issues of integrating them together.
Or using another global system with a very high price.
The charity spent a year of research, consultation and defining the basic needs of the system to be chosen. It decided that Odoo Systems could meet all its goals by automating its various procedures. It was worth the risk and a try.
Next, we will talk about the charity’s needs, how OdooTec met them using Odoo systems, the solutions that OdooTec offered to make the charity’s work easier and the main challenges faced during the development process, and how they were solved.
The charity’s system had to meet these general requirements
ِBefore selecting a system to operate on, the charity’s primary objective was to have a clear vision of how to automate the donation collection, fund transfer and beneficiary distribution processes. This objective led them to identify a well-defined system that encompassed all their main requirements, which were summarized as follows:
Be accessed and used from outside the charity’s headquarters without spatial limitations.
Work with any communication device, such as tablets, mobile phones, laptops, etc., and not just traditional computers.
Allow customers and donation recipients to interact with the charity remotely and automate the donation process and delivery to the beneficiaries.
Integrate all the administrative and operational activities of the charity, such as human resources management, bank transfers, donation collection and distribution, etc., without needing to connect several different systems.
The system should be affordable for the charity, which relied on donors and could not afford very expensive systems like Oracle or SAP.
The charity found Odoo to be the best fit for its goals
Odoo met all their general requirements, such as:
A single-user interface that integrated all systems, such as human resources, sales, purchases, accounts and bank transfers, allowed each user to enter data and get information according to their roles.
Odoo offers customer-oriented solutions that enable donors to donate through the charity’s website with a user-friendly interface and directly affect the relevant accounts. It also allowed beneficiaries to check the services they received through the site. Moreover, using Odoo allowed the charity to launch promotional campaigns for their services through social media using Odoo systems.
Cloud computing lets users access and use the system from any device and anywhere, based on their permissions.
Having a relatively low licensing cost compared to other global systems like Oracle and SAP.
The services provided by the charity, In general
The charity oversees various charitable activities and offers the following services:
Financial assistance, either as a non-interest loan with a guarantor or as a grant from Zakat funds, does not need to be repaid.
Material aid such as furniture, electrical appliances, and so on.
Training courses for the beneficiaries to teach them their rights and obligations towards the charity as a condition for receiving the loan.
Discounts on some goods and services.
Group weddings for young people to reduce costs.
The Internal Departments of the Charity
OdooTec needed to get acquainted with all the charity’s departments to provide solutions for each department and then prepare the linking course between the different departments. The charity contains the following departments:
Donations Department: This is the charity’s work area and the most essential section. It gives donations to eligible applicants who meet the conditions. It handles the distribution of donations for each applicant, whether they are monetary amounts, material aid or even discounts that the charity offers to help the beneficiaries with their purchases.
Stores Department: It receives material donations and the charity’s purchases and then distributes them to the beneficiaries.
Collection Department: It collects money or material donations from donors, as well as installments from beneficiaries. It also handles procedures such as rescheduling installments for any reason and so on.
Human Resources Department: This department deals with staff employment, salaries, penalties, bonuses, vacations, attendance and dismissal, advances, end of service, employee entitlements, and so on.
Finance Department: It is responsible for the general budget of the charity, receipts and expenditures, tracking bank transfers, and so on.
Maintenance Department: It takes care of the charity’s buildings, devices and equipment.
Rental Department: It rents items to the beneficiaries instead of buying them.
Communication Department: It manages incoming and outgoing records, such as mailing checks, directing them to the treasury, keeping and scanning all documents, and storing them on the computer.
Rights Department: It makes decisions when payments are overdue and takes legal action if needed.
How the charity operated before using Odoo to automate its processes?
Before using the Odoo to automate its operations, the charity mainly relied on manual methods along with an old local program. The quality of their work cycle depended primarily on how well the employees performed and tracked their assigned tasks. Still, sometimes they made mistakes or forgot things, which caused delays in jobs related to donors or beneficiaries. They also used outdated communication methods by regular mail, which wasted a lot of time.
The process of the charity can be summed up as follows:
The charity accepts donations either by bank transfers or in-kind donations with warehouses.
Receiving incoming checks, whether from donors or loan deductions, as well as declarations and documents.
The charity keeps and scans all documents on paper and electronically.
Taking requests from beneficiaries, who fill out the data needed to verify them later.
The charity asks beneficiaries to provide the papers that show they qualify for the loan or grant, such as having a low income, a salary statement from their employer to deduct the monthly payment from their salary, and a guarantor who works for a government agency.
Giving a training course to those who meet the requirements.
The charity schedules an interview with the charity’s advisor for those who pass the course, so they can pick the service they need, whether it is money or goods.
Delivering financial and in-kind services, as well as rental services and discount coupons, to those who have completed all the steps.
Following up on the loan payments from the beneficiaries.
The drawbacks and problems of the work cycle before Odoo
OdooTec was selected to provide a suitable solution, and their consultants had first to figure out the flaws in the previous process.
found that the process mechanisms were not well coordinated, meaning that they did not work together smoothly. Some of the drawbacks and problems of the charity process were the following:
The charity communicates with the bank in an outdated way by mail and gets payment notices from the parties they deal with by fax or email. The charity’s accounts do not change right away when they make or receive payments or transfers.
The different departments often interact verbally and informally without a clear mechanism to coordinate their work. For example, the payment of installments does not show up right away to the managers of other departments, so they do not know the debt status of each beneficiary instantly.
The charity needs an agreement on when to start collecting the installments, so they cannot expect when the debt will be repaid and their cash flows.
The debtors issue late payment settlements manually at the charity’s location and do not have a way to do it remotely and automatically.
The charity does not transfer loans to the guarantor automatically if the beneficiary fails to pay their installments.
Each borrower's loan is seen independently when the debts from the outputs of the prior public accounting system are sorted. As a result, no aggregate statistics can be used via the old system to determine the overall flow of payment operations and employee debt.
Four employees are responsible for the payment follow-up process, each with their own tasks. This shows how much the charity spends on this inefficient system that wastes time and effort.
- The administration and the warehouses, which hold in-kind donations, are not immediately related to one another. As a result, there is no real-time information accessible about the types that have been distributed and the remaining balance of each kind in each warehouse.
The system does not allow electronic access to the charity’s policies and strategies guide. It is available just in paper form.
The absence of a system-wide notification mechanism for employees and between departments.
The method for recording installment payments is rudimentary:
The bank account statement is viewed.
- The amounts collected from the installments are calculated.
- The fund is informed to send a statement of the collected payments so that the fund can then create collection vouchers for the amounts so that a payment entry is issued.
All these steps and the revisions they require take up a lot of effort.
How OdooTec helped
OdooTec solved all the problems of the old work cycle that frustrated the users of the old system, such as data entry, storekeepers, collection agents, and administrators. There are too many solutions from OdooTec to mention them all here, but we will highlight some of the ways OdooTec automated and improved the work cycle below.
A website where the services of the charity are promoted
OdooTec has made it easy to select the donation method and the service to subscribe to by showing these services in a friendly online store that helps the donor to learn about the charity’s work and the services offered and then to donate in a few clicks.
The donor can pick any of the donation types available. When choosing any of the donation types in the store, the system will guide the donor through more options until the donation value is paid, showing the goal value that has been donated so far and other information that helps the donor decide on the payment method and amount.
A particular procedure for requesting the charity’s assistance
To apply for the charity’s support, beneficiaries need to visit the charity's website and fill out a form. The form shows the criteria and process for approval or denial of the application. The charity also briefly overviews its approach and the steps involved for the applicants’ convenience. After submitting the form, applicants have to wait for the charity’s response.
The charity’s site allows you to make payments online
There are two ways for the beneficiary to pay the installments as per the agreement. One is by salary deduction, where the system automatically transfers the installment amount from his salary to his charity account. The other is by online payment, where he can use the charity’s website to move the balance from his bank account to his charity account. The figure below shows the payment screen.
The document management system allows access to all the charity’s documents and records with the best organization and privacy, avoiding the drawbacks of the paper system.
Odoo Notification System
Before automating the charity’s work cycle with Odoo, users had to communicate with each other by phone or other primitive methods to inform about tasks such as service delivery or donor arrival. There was no standard way to notify about any job completed in the work cycle, so it was hard to track and evaluate the work progress or find any problems. With Odoo notification systems, users can interact with each other through the system, and managers can monitor the work cycle through system messages or log notes.
Enhancing the Warehouse management
The charity’s warehouses had to coordinate with the other departments before using OdooTec for warehouse management. The upper management could not easily check the inventory of each item in any of the charity’s warehouses.
OdooTec solved this problem by setting up a warehouse record for every warehouse in the charity and entering the initial quantities for each item.
Warehouse officials can perform various operations such as supplying, issuing and transferring samples at any time, based on their authority, and the system can instantly update the balance of any warehouse items.
The system reports allow viewing the items that are available, unavailable or at the demand limit, and then the following outcomes have been obtained:
Cut down on warehouse management expenses.
Management’s awareness of the inventory and quality in the warehouse.
More clarity and better oversight of warehouse management.
Delivering the donations in kind to the beneficiaries on time as agreed, as much as possible.
Better forecasting by tracking the flow of varieties in different seasons.
The ability to make fast decisions for incoming and outgoing customers by checking the balance of each item in each warehouse.
Implementing a method for damaged or defective samples by issuing scrap orders and storing them in their own warehouse.
Through one of the system’s processes, purchase orders can be issued for all samples that have reached the demand limit.
An image of the stock issue vouchers issued through the system is shown below.
The following image shows some of the inventory reports developed by OdooTec:
A method has been created to issue purchase orders for all items that have reached the demand limit, as follows:
The quantities of in-kind donations in each warehouse are shown in the report that follows:
Develop a system to manage sales operations
The charity has made it easier to receive donations by aligning them with the sales process. This methodology allows each user, donor, and beneficiary to handle them more conveniently. The donations are also shown in the store for selection, resulting in a sales offer and an invoice that needs to be paid. The system can track and report the payment, which streamlines the donation cycle and makes it similar to a sales cycle.
This is a sales quote for an in-kind donation from a donor.
There are two methods to send the quotation to the client for confirmation as follows:
Clicking the “Send Email” button will send a copy of the quotation to the client and allow them to access the Portal Access. There, The client can approve the quotation and pay the donation value. The system will then issue a sales order and a paid sales invoice for the client (donor). The window for this process is shown in the figure below.
- A payment link can easily be sent to the client (the donor) by postal message or SMS text message if they cannot access the website portal. The client can pay the invoice value through this link. The link can be generated from the (Actions) menu using the (Generate a Payment Link) command.
Using this link will take the client (donor) to the payment window on the charity’s website. After they complete the payment process, the system will generate a paid sales invoice for the client. The following figure shows the payment window:
The value of OdooTec’s sales payments solution
The charity can avoid sending an agent to the bank to receive the customer’s deposit or transfer to the charity’s account, which is time-consuming and laborious, by using this solution. The system will create the sale order, pay the donation value, and generate a sales invoice with just a few clicks when the donor pays the sales offer via this link.
Recording un-invoiced bank donations in the system
Before using the Odoo system, the charity used to receive an Excel file that included a large number of bank transactions in order to record them in the system one by one. This process is very time-consuming and laborious (it can take days or even a week).
Importing bank transactions to the system in a few clicks with OdooTec’s solution
A technique for importing a payment group (Batch of Payments) from the bank transactions shown in the Excel sheet has been provided by OdooTec. The total of these transactions—for instance, 60000 riyals—that were given to the bank over the previous six months are then recorded in the system.
monetary supply transactions
All these bank transfers are recorded and finally connected to a sales invoice to complete their cycle through the (Money In) module, which OdooTec developed.
By generating reports on sales orders and using tools to aggregate and filter orders for a specific period or entity, for example, all financial transactions can be seen in detail. The following figure displays financial supplies for a certain period. You can click on any of them for more details.
Live tracking of the charity’s income
Use the "Present Income Dashboard" tool to know in total and detail the charity’s income related to it at any time.
Present income dashboard
The charity’s revenues are shown in a data dashboard. This way, the charity is aware of the total value of cash and in-kind donations, making planning and decision-making simpler.
Challenges encountered by the charity while building the system
A system of accounting for the activities of the charity
Digital skills are often missing at the senior management level in non-profit charities. Therefore it is hard to choose efficient staff in the IT field, whether with accounting or technical expertise.
On the other hand, setting up the accounting system for charities is different from its counterpart related to business, industrial and service activities. Accountants with skills and experience in this type of work are needed to equip and automate the accounting system with non-profit charities (charities). This is a problem that charities may encounter in hiring professional accountants who can create an accounting system that tracks the sources of grants, when and how to use them, and so on, and then they can convey the full picture to OdooTec to prepare the chart of accounts ideally.
OdooTec has solved this problem by precisely tracking the charity’s work cycle and ensuring that the chart of accounts effectively serves the financial transactions related to donors (creditors) and service recipients (debtors). OdooTec has also equipped the system so that cash flows are managed by generating accurate financial reports that show the sources of the charity’s income and the methods of disbursing funds so that the financial situation can be reported to the Board of Directors, donors, and governmental at any time. These reports can also be shown in dedicated dashboards for instant visual viewing of these flows.
Support the Arabic language
The charity serves Arab Muslim citizens; therefore, it was necessary to implement the system’s procedures in Arabic, whether by users or beneficiaries or donating customers when interacting with the system through the website portal. This problem was solved by upgrading to version 13, which supports the Arabic language, and this version was a major leap for the charity’s work.
Users gaining sufficient experience to deal with Odoo
Odoo systems have a new nature that is very different from the local systems, as it is based on the cloud computing methodology and is directed mainly to interact with clients easily, in addition to other mechanisms that differ from the traditional systems. Hence, despite the simplicity of Odoo systems in dealing with, its new methodology requires professional training to transfer the culture of users to new mechanisms in dealing.
OdooTec solved this by giving users a sufficient period for training on the various mechanisms of the system, starting with an experimental database for training, testing the system, and following up on user inquiries and clarifications until the system was launched for actual work. The charity is now proud that it has highly professional users and has reached a level of experience in interacting with the system that allows it to assist in developing other charities’ systems through Odoo systems.
Showing the Odoo interface to the charity’s customers in an easy way
Similarly, the charity’s clients did not have enough experience to interact with the charity’s new system, as each of the donors and beneficiaries would have to deal with the charity through the charity’s portal developed with the Odoo system.
OdooTec, through Odoo systems, has provided a sleek user interface along with a specific portal for the charity’s customers, whether from beneficiaries by filling out the application form in a simple way or from donors by displaying all the charity’s services as icons illustrated in expressive forms to choose the suitable service that the donor wants to join. As soon as the donor selects the icon, the system enters the details related to it, such as the value of the share, how to donate, and so on. Finally, after several confirmation mechanisms, the donor transfers the amount of the donation from his account to the charity’s account.