If you’re ready to become a finance leader who seamlessly leverages data to enhance everything you do, the means are within reach.
Instead of spending all or most of their time on the accounting basics like closing the books and manually preparing reports, data-driven leaders focus on strategic objectives and big-picture financial performance. Today’s non-profits require careful and calculated financial management to navigate these uncertain times. On the one hand, mission-driven organizations have never been more important because economic hardships have left many people struggling. However, those same hardships have left many nonprofits with declining donations and a bleak financial outlook. How these organizations fare depends, in large part, on what finance leaders choose to do next. No wonder they’re eager to rely on data.
What they aren’t eager to do is spend hours reconciling transactions and hunting down figures. Essential as that work may be, it offers a backward-looking perspective, indicating what did happen instead of the more impactful insight: what will happen.
How does one gain this kind of financial foresight? It requires the right people and process, but technology is the linchpin of the effort. The right tech tools let finance leaders focus on strategy without neglecting anything else. Specifically, it takes these three capabilities working in concert before a non-profit finance leader can claim to be data-driven.
Automation allows everyday accounting obligations to run on autopilot. Things like consolidations, revenue recognition, allocations, and vendor payment approvals get done efficiently, error-free, and without requiring input from anyone on the accounting team. With automation doing the heavy lifting, decision makers free up time to focus on what really matters. Just as importantly, they approach every decision with complete, accurate and updated data at their disposal thanks to automation crunching the numbers in the background.
Think of dimensions as “tags” indicating how individual transactions fit into the financial whole. Accountants can tag data with various dimensions—donor, location, project, grant, type, etc.—and then report on financial data based on whatever dimensions they require. In practice, it leads to faster, more flexible, and more insightful reporting that finance leaders can prepare on their own without assistance from IT.
Data-driven decision making requires as much information as possible, financial and otherwise, since any gap in understanding could lead to unintended outcomes. Synchronized data utilizes APIs to connect various enterprise platforms—for finance, donor development, planning, marketing etc.—and integrates the data in one place. Armed with a complete portrait of the nonprofit, finance leaders understand everything about performance and use those objective insights (instead of intuition and assumptions) to plan.
If you’re ready to become a finance leader who seamlessly leverages data to enhance everything you do, the means are within reach. Contact blumshapiro to learn more.