NFP Partners offers a full range of outsourced accounting services to nonprofit organizations, ranging from total operation and management of the finance function to higher-level CFO support.
Managing your accounting department does not have to be a struggle that keeps your organization’s leadership awake at night and distracts from the main mission. Consider outsourcing some, or all, of your accounting functions to achieve strong financial management and enjoy piece of mind.
Find out how our outsourced accounting service can benefit your nonprofit organizations and get your questions answered by exploring the topics below:
Why You Should Be Interested
Nonprofit organizations in every growth phase – from startup to maturity – can benefit from expert outsourced accounting assistance. Since the CEO or Executive Director is generally focused on the organization’s mission, programs and fundraising, managing in-house accounting, especially during the early and middle growth phases, often leads to weak financial management. This condition, unfortunately, characterizes too many nonprofit organizations. Here are a few the reasons contributing to dysfunctional financial management:
- Your organization needs, at various times, multiple financial skills but can’t afford to hire a financial staff on a fulltime basis.
- You may experience high turnover in finance and accounting positions resulting in an ongoing, on-the-job training program.
- You need stronger basic internal controls, such as having someone who handles your money separate from someone who accounts for it.
- You are having problems in accounting and reporting on grants and restricted funds.
- Your organization is growing and you need to hire people who can raise money or deliver services, not finance.
- You and your key board members may lack basic fiscal knowledge and are not getting support from your primary financial staff person.
You simply don’t have reliable financial information, allowing you and your Board to make good decisions.
Benefits Of Outsourcing
Outsourcing your accounting can result in a significant cost savings. Results may vary from organization to organization, but generally the cost of outsourcing does not exceed the true cost of maintaining the function in-house. Outsourcing will also result in a major lift in the quality of financial information and internal control. Additional major benefits you may expect are listed below:
- Allow the CEO to focus on the mission and program delivery with minimal distractions.
- Provide relevant, accurate and timely financial information to the various stakeholders (internal managers, Board, donors, funders), resulting in better decisions.
- Operate within a system of internal control that reduces the risk of fraud and misallocation of assets, while satisfying audit requirements.
- Reduce the number of internal accounting staff through process standardization and training, allowing for greater productivity.
- Defer the need for a full-time financial professional.
- Minimize internal staff distraction and external fees for audit preparation and support.
- Facilitate transition to a professional in-house staff when growth requires that step.
- Assure continuity of the finance function upon personnel turnover.
- Board and CEO receive knowledgeable advice and mentoring from a trusted financial professional.
- Eliminate the need for separate in-house installed accounting software and IT maintenance costs.
- Enjoy certainty and peace of mind that financial management is working.
The Ideal Candidate for Outsourced Non Profit Accounting
The fact that you are on this page probably pre-qualifies you as a candidate for outsourced accounting services. You may have overt evidence that your organization’s financial management is deficient, such as a critical audit report, the recent termination of your primary financial manager, or lost funding.. Absent any immediate crisis, you may just have this intuitive sense that things are amiss and are not sure what to do about it.
Some of the general characteristics of nonprofit organizations that are conducive to using outsourced accounting services as the primary strategy are listed below.
- Some organizations, which are constrained by choice or circumstances, do not grow beyond a level where a full-time finance staff is required.
- The CEO and the Board want to control administrative overhead costs, but at the same time understanding their fiscal responsibilities and risks, want to follow best practices, and set a high standard for financial reporting.
- The organization is the early grow stage with an operating budget from $500,000 to $4,000,000.
- The financial tracking and reporting requirements are at least moderately complex and require specialized nonprofit accounting expertise and software tools that otherwise may not be readily available or affordable.
- The organization requires an audit, or expects to fairly soon.
- Management is focused on mission, programs and fundraising, leaving little time for attention to finance and accounting functions.
- Management is attuned to modern workplace practices that are facilitated by technology.
- Does your organization require an audit that may involve heavy preparation by the accounting department?
- As management, are you focused on the mission with little or no time for attention to finance and accounting functions?
- Are your financial tracking and reporting requirements somewhat complex and require specialized nonprofit accounting expertise?
- Is your organization attuned to a modern flexible workplace environment that is facilitated by technology?
- Do you want to control administrative overhead costs, while at the same time receive high quality financial reporting?
- Are you unhappy with your present arrangement?
- Are you comfortable with not having your finance and accounting resource on site everyday as a staff member?
At NFP Partners we recognize that each organization is different and one size does not fit all. Accordingly, we adapt our services to what works best for the client organization. From a time dimension, our involvement can be short-term or extend to a long-term commitment as an integral part of the back-office infrastructure. Our services are designed to meet the needs of the client with respect to the dynamics and culture of the organization. Our collaborative approach ensures that your needs are met to the highest of standards.
The process is simple. Either email or call Laura Jorstad at 303-586-5011. You can also complete and submit the contact form on this page.
Before you engage our services we put some time and effort into learning about your organization, personnel, mission and programs, expectations, and the financial infrastructure. A short conversation with your decision-maker will determine whether there’s a compatibility of interest. From there, we usually ask that you complete a questionnaire providing basic information about your organization and finance function. In most cases, the questionnaire is followed up with a more in-depth discovery session that provides the information we need to prepare a proposal leading to a signed Accounting Service Agreement.
It is our objective, and we believe to your benefit as a client, that the fee arrangement be set up at a fixed rate per month. But as our services are tailored to each client’s needs there may be some uncertainties that need to be settled before going to a fixed fee, so for the first few months we would bill you on a time and materials basis with the intent being transitioning to a fixed-fee arrangement when mutually agreeable.
Depending on the level of services you require, NFP Partners can fulfill the roles of bookkeeper (or accounting operations specialist), accountant, and/or controller or Chief Financial Officer. In the nonprofit sector, these titles get blurred with one person serving multiple roles for small- to mid-size organizations. Our service approach is collaborative and tailored to your growth-stage and needs.
- For small organizations we can take turnkey responsibility for accomplishing all accounting and reporting tasks.
- For mid-size organizations we usually take a more collaborative approach and rely on one or more administrative people on your staff for day-to-day accounting operations including transaction entry, filing, bank deposits, check writing, etc., under our supervision and training. In these instances our primary role is to handle tasks that require specialized accounting knowledge and serve as your controller with focus on internal controls, best practices and generating reliable and timely financial statements that comply with generally accepted accounting principles (GAAP) for nonprofit organizations.
Following is an example of a list of typical accounting functions you can expect from us in an ongoing outsourced accounting engagement:
- Design, document and implement internal controls, financial policies and procedures.
- Setup and maintain accounting software for best efficiency and results.
- Interact with the Board of Directors (BOD) Finance and Audit Committees.
- Develop operating and capital budgets and integrate with financial reporting.
- Prepare for and support the annual audit.
- Interpret and communicate financial information to the executive and BOD.
- Track and report on grants and programs with special regard to restricted funds in the formats required by funders.
- Develop cash management tools and forecasts.
- Setup automated billing and bill-payment utilizing electronic funds transfer protocol.
- Provide or coordinate payroll services and labor distribution.
- Prepare and file tax reports to government agencies.
- Support financial forecast component to long-range strategic planning.
- Setup and maintain a fixed-asset sub-ledger for accountability and calculating depreciation.
What are some of the services that are available but might be outside the normal scope of the outsourced accounting engagement?
- Provide fill-in accounting and controller service on a temporary basis.
- Conduct special financial analyses.
- Prepare documentation regarding federal tax exemption and the Form 990.
- Support applications for grants with relevant and accurate financial information.
- Provide structured training for the executive team and BOD on financial literacy and understanding financial statements.
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