When I started NFP Partners six years ago, my main focus was to sell and support nonprofit accounting software. After a lot of work and patience, we were able to grow a business, working with nonprofit and government organizations that placed a high value on financial management and found Sage Fund Accounting (SFA) a great software solution. We now have over 40 SFA clients in Colorado and the greater Rocky Mountain region.
The main reason I got into this business was to help nonprofits become stronger financial managers by providing services that combine industry experience, nonprofit accounting knowledge and technical skills. Accounting software is just one ingredient, albeit an important one. It became apparent early on in our efforts to sell Sage Fund Accounting that many nonprofits were ill-equipped to take advantage of any accounting software beyond the basics. We saw an opportunity to help these nonprofits improve their financial management performance by offering outsourced accounting services. Over the past three years, we have experienced a steady growth in business due to this decision. We offer a flexible model to turnkey the entire accounting and finance function, or serve in a controller role, with the accounting operations performed by trained internal staff working under our functional supervision. We use hosted QuickBooks Enterprise for most of our clients. The Intuit Report Writer enables us to prepare GAAP-compliant financial statements with all the nonprofit unique features (e.g., net asset restrictions).
Interestingly, a few of our clients who purchased Sage Fund Accounting also asked us to provide accounting services. These are smaller organizations but with more challenging tracking and reporting requirements. They see the value in hiring us in a service arrangement rather than keeping or hiring an internal finance person. We see this development as very positive. It answers a real need for nonprofit organizations who typically depend on an incumbent financial person to master the new software. Sometimes this doesn’t happen and expectations remain unmet creating an unhappy situation for both parities. True, most of the software implementation engagements that morphed into accounting services engagements were the result of unexpected events resulting in the exit of the internal person and leaving the organization in the lurch. Fortunately, our consultant team was trained in the software and accounting services, so able to effectively step into the breech.
So, we know a lot more now than we did three years ago about combining complimentary skill sets to help the nonprofit client become a stronger financial manager. We are able to offer a complete solution for smaller organizations that need more robust accounting software, as well as being available in an interim service role for other clients when a key person leaves unexpectedly.
For more information on NFP Partners’ services, please contact us at 303-586-5011.