Robert J. Cappelluci
For a non-profit to be sustainable and impactful it must be good at managing its financial resources. And while an organization may be great at fundraising, areas like budgeting, grant compliance or financial reporting often present an ongoing challenge. These are important proficiencies that any organization needs to thrive, but they often fall outside the expertise of many non-profits.
In practice, outsourced accounting removes hurdles, eliminates setbacks and makes world-class accounting more accessible to all non-profits. Just consider some common accounting challenges and the solutions that outsourcing offers.
Spending Too Much Time on Accounting
With the primary focus of your non-profit being on your mission, that is where the majority of your time should be spent. However, most non-profits get distracted by the challenges that come with regular accounting processes, taking time away from serving their communities. Letting a team of outsourced accountants handle complex, time-consuming tasks—like bookkeeping, transaction and tax return processing, auditing, and year-end financial reporting—can save a significant amount of time that could be spent on achieving your mission.
Grant Management and Compliance
Non-profits are often faced with increased accountability and reporting requirements for federal, state, local and private grants that are vital to the success of the organization. Complying with the mandates of grants and restricted awards is much easier when you have an outsourced accounting team tracking and managing spenddown of these funds. The same goes for changes to accounting standards and tax codes. Outsourced accountants have expertise in these areas and automatically keep non-profits compliant.
Needing Better Financial Insights
For non-profits to have a positive impact they must manage grants and restricted awards both carefully and strategically. That requires in-depth financial insights—insights that are not always easy to obtain, especially for an organization whose primary focus is not on accounting and finance. A team of outsourced accountants can supply your executive team and board of directors with timely, customized information and present a clear financial look into your organization—helping you make better informed decisions from fundraising strategies to organizational expansion.
Relying on Outdated Technology
Older accounting software takes a lot of input and provides little value in return. Unfortunately, upgrading to a next-generation system often comes with a significant investment and requires time and effort to learn and master. Outsourcing is a way to get the benefits of first-class accounting software without having to implement the system in house.
Managing Staff Turnover
Turnover is a very real issue for any organization. How would your non-profit be affected if a key member of your accounting team were to leave? When an accountant takes another job or retires, replacing that position is difficult, and the process of recruiting, on-boarding and training a new hire is costly. By outsourcing these functions, you will always have a team of qualified accountants, with a variety of skills and expertise, at your fingertips.
The finance function doesn't have to be a challenge for non-profits—especially when it can be turned into a strength. It also doesn't have to be expensive or inefficient. Outsourcing relieves a major burden and allows non-profits to focus on what matters most, delivery of program services to their communities. When you're ready to explore this option in detail, contact BlumShapiro.
Robert Cappellucci, is a partner with BlumShapiro, the largest regional business advisory firm based in New England, with offices in Connecticut, Massachusetts and Rhode Island. The firm, with a team of over 500, offers a diversity of services, which include auditing, accounting, tax and business advisory services. Blum serves a wide range of privately held companies, government and non-profit organizations and provides non-audit services for publicly traded companies. To learn more visit us at blumshapiro.com.