An Assessment of Pradan's 'Computer Munshi' Intervention to Improve Microfinance Accounting Operations
This paper presents insights from the functioning of Pradans Computer Munshi (CM) program.
Pradan, an NGO working through more than 7500 SHGs in the rural areas of northern and eastern India, faced a number of problems in its everyday operations. To address these issues, Pradan introduced the CM program. CM aimed to improve SHGs bookkeeping quality by connecting them with trained accountants who used computers with accounting software to maintain an electronic database of SHG financial records. The CM system resulted in major operational gains, such as;
- Improved quality and transparency of SHG financial records;
- Time/cost savings for SHGs from outsourcing weekly accounting and annual auditing and dividend distribution;
- Opportunity for Pradan to focus on its development work of livelihood promotion.
The CM program was successful because it utilized the true value of the computer, used hybrid cost-aware technologies and large scales of operation. It also balanced business constraints and development goals. Finally, resolving remaining operational difficulties through even more cost-effective communication channels between SHGs and the CM, even greater scales of operation, and clear data protection features will make the system more efficient and sustainable.