FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Maumee, Ohio (November 30, 2015) – WVC RubixCloud, a cloud-based outsourced accounting solution has been selected by the Center of Hope Family Services, Inc. to provide accurate, real-time financial services. The new engagement will allow the Center of Hope Family Services, Inc. to grow their programming and ultimately provide expanded services to their constituents.
"We are enthusiastic about our partnership with WVC RubixCloud. In an age of advanced technology, clear financial reporting is essential to remain competitive for funding and resources. As our organization continues to grow, we embrace partnerships which allow our team to work effectively and ultimately promote our mission, improving the life outcomes of adults, children, and families in urban setting," said Tracee Perryman, Executive Director of the Center of Hope Family Services, Inc. "Our organization is experiencing the positive impact of WVC RubixCloud and we hope to encourage other organizations to make the move to the cloud."
WVC RubixCloud outsourced accounting solutions offer a full-suite of services ranging from high-level financial strategy and CFO services to everyday finance, back-office accounting for nonprofit organizations at all stages of development. Users can virtually access their accounting data in real-time from work, home, or on the go.
Jennifer Kinzel, Director of WVC RubixCloud had this to offer, "This partnership continues to demonstrate our commitment to improving the financial well-being of nonprofit organizations alike. Another local nonprofit organization is committing to promote financial transparency and clarity for the good of their constituents." With a dedicated team of experts from Intacct and additional outsourcing vendors, WVC RubixCloud will transform the way in which the Center of Hope Family Services, Inc. views their financial data which will ultimately effect their future growth and development.
By: Brittany Benson, Intacct
Like all nonprofit organizations, faith-based ministries are experiencing increased pressure, oversight, and demand for transparency from all sides. Whether the focus is reporting, funding, or accountability for outcomes, it is critical that ministry organizations have the edge in technology tools that improve their efficiency, reduce costs, and increase their visibility.
Significant enhancements and adoption of cloud computing has opened the door for faith-based organizations to greatly benefit from the latest innovations in technology.
I thought it would be useful to look at the key benefits and concerns around the cloud, examine the current state of cloud computing, and try to help faith-based organizations understand why cloud computing offers tremendous opportunity with limited risk.
The Promise of Cloud Computing
According to the most recent Nonprofit Technology Network survey, over 90% of respondents are using some kind of cloud-based software solution. The vast majority (80%) were using more than one cloud solution for non-critical applications like email, project management, and video conferencing. When asked why they were using cloud solutions, the nonprofits surveyed listed primary drivers as mobility and cost.
Mobility and remote access are especially important for ministries. Sharing data and 24/7 Internet access greatly improve an organization’s efficiency and provide real-time management insight and action. With the mobility capabilities of cloud computing, internal and external stakeholders gain full access to metrics, approvals, and financial reports – regardless of location.
From a cost savings perspective, cloud solutions can dramatically reduce the Total Cost of Ownership (TCO) by eliminating hardware costs and reducing software and IT costs. The cloud eliminates the burden of installing, maintaining, and upgrading software solutions, as well as reducing dependence on scarce IT resources and freeing time to focus on the organization’s mission. With cloud computing, faith-based organizations also get the benefit of reducing their technology risk with enterprise-class security, backups, and disaster recovery – at a much lower cost than doing it themselves.
Eliminating Concerns around Cloud Computing
It’s easy to see why these key features are the motivators for moving to the cloud, but what about the questions and concerns surrounding the other critical aspects of cloud computing? Let’s look at these key issues and examine how the latest advances in cloud computing technology have addressed those concerns for faith-based organizations and ministries.
Many nonprofits and faith-based organizations believe that on-premises systems offer more privacy and security because the hardware is physically located within the organization. Howver, by utilizing the investment of major cloud providers in accumulating the greatest collection of computer science and data security expertise in the world, organizations can benefit from levels of privacy and security that far exceed what their on-premises solutions can offer.
Cloud providers can scale for millions of users via a few major providers to create more secure environments by incorporating the latest standards and controls. This capability results in a level of security that individual organizations cannot match.
The specific concerns of nonprofit and faith-based organizations around data control and access include the fear of outages, ensuring they maintain ownership of their data, and guaranteeing that no data is lost in disasters or emergencies.
These can be addressed in the cloud with a little advanced preparation and validation regarding the vendor you are choosing. This includes:
- Verifying the historical performance level of the prospective provider.
- Making sure that they offer 24/7/365 real-time information on performance levels.
- Requiring guaranteed performance at 99.8% or better.
When evaluating cloud providers, faith-based organizations and ministries should review a service’s audit or certification of security, backups, and maintenance practices, and then keep reviewing these things regularly while utilizing that service. The organization should make sure they still own their information and can take it from the cloud when they want it. Typically, many organizations find when they compare their internal on-premise processes against cloud offerings, cloud offerings offer more benefits.
Best-in-class cloud providers will guarantee these minimum service levels:
- In case of major disasters, applications are backed up and running within an agreed upon time frame.
- Continuous local backups plus streaming backups go to a remote disaster recovery center.
- SSAE 16 SOC1 Type II audited processes and controls plus PCI DSS certification.
- Constant monitoring of application performance and responsiveness from locations around the world
With increased accountability, focus on outcomes, and donor transparency, it’s more important than ever for faith-based and ministry organizations to take advantage of the right technologies that can support their missions. It’s also imperative that faith-based organizations increase efficiency, transparency, and stewardship – while maintaining successful missions. Cloud computing is a great way to get there quickly. The cloud just makes sense for faith-based organizations – don’t get left behind.
Want to learn more about how WVC RubixCloud can help withIntacct can help? Check out this on-demand product tour and see Intacct's key nonprofit features.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Maumee, Ohio (September 30, 2015) – WVC RubixCloud, a cloud-based outsourced accounting solution has been selected by the Kidney Foundation of Northwest Ohio to provide accurate, real-time financial services. The new engagement will allow the Kidney Foundation of Northwest Ohio to recover an expected 400 hours per month which were previously dedicated to accounting and patient management functions.
“The Kidney Foundation of Northwest Ohio is pleased to partner with WVC RubixCloud. In an age of advanced technology, we recognize the importance of clear financial reporting and streamlining our patient services processes. As our organization continues to grow, we embrace partnerships which allow our team to work effectively and ultimately promote our mission of empowering patients to manage their kidney disease,” said Holly Hoagland-Fojtik, Executive Director of the Kidney Foundation of Northwest Ohio. “Our organization is optimistic about the positive impact of WVC RubixCloud and we hope to encourage other organizations to make the move to the cloud.”
“We are very excited about this new relationship,” Kinzel explained. “This partnership demonstrates our commitment to improving the financial well-being of nonprofit organizations alike. More importantly, we are able to positively impact a local organization and witness how those changes ultimately affect patients in need.” WVC RubixCloud outsourced accounting solutions offers a full-suite of services ranging from high-level financial strategy and CFO services to everyday finance, back-office accounting for nonprofit organizations at all stages of development. Users can virtually access their accounting data in real-time from work, home, or on the go. With a dedicated team of experts from Intacct and Orange Leap (additional outsourcing vendors), WVC RubixCloud will transform the way in which the Kidney Foundation of Northwest Ohio views their financial data.
About WVC RubixCloud
An affiliate of William Vaughan Company, WVC RubixCloud provides financial insight and leadership to help entrepreneurs, executive teams and investors achieve new levels of success for their organizations. Services include a range of outsourcing solutions, from high-level CFO services to day-to-day accounting and everything in between. We work very closely with organizations; large, small, for-profit, not-for-profit, to identify challenges and develop solutions that will help to propel organizations forward.
This is one the of most significant questions nonprofit organizations pose each year. As grant fund become available, most nonprofits develop a sense of entitlement throughout the year as if everyone should get a piece of the pie. However, based on the following statistics, your organization may want to change its focus.
• Foundations and corporations together gave almost $72 million to charities in 2014 which represented less than 25% of overall giving. See article.
• Individuals accounted for almost 72% of donations to charitable organizations in 2014.
So, which types of funding are better: grants or individual contributions? Although there is no easy answer, there is, in fact, a point to be made based on this data. If your organization is funded primarily through grants, your financial stream is not diversified enough. Some time and energy should be focused on developing a fundraising campaign to match grant funding. If you have the capacity to apply for an eligible grant, surely make the effort. However, if this is the extent of your organization's fundraising agenda, as opposed to seeking out additional match funding or cultivating relationships with added program support, then you need to rethink your strategy.
It is estimated that there is an excess of $50 billion in grant funds available across the U.S. Why shouldn't your nonprofit benefit? Listed below are just a few reasons to argue against grant funding as a sole source of nonprofit financial stability:
1. Your nonprofit organization has limited staff without any time to devote to researching proper types of grants. All too often, inexperienced organizations waste time and money applying for grants for which they do not qualify.
2. Government grants involve considerable documentation and reporting prerequisites. Some nonprofits may secure the funds, but are unable to meet the standards to maintain the award. Such negative publicly can be devastating for an organization should they have to return the funds.
3. Many organizations do not have the money to invest in a qualified grant writer. If you are familiar with the grant process, every detail is scrutinized. Numbers must be underscored with a specific length line and a dollar sign. If your organization is unable to secure an experienced grant writer, submitting applications can be fruitless and time-consuming.
4. Finally, the most significant issue is the reporting requirements and measurable outcomes needed for grant proposals. If your financial system is not accurate and transparent, obtaining grant funds can be next to impossible.
If your nonprofit organization lacks financial accuracy and transparency, WVC RubixCloud can help. We leverage advanced technology to assist nonprofits in gaining the financial clarity they need. As a result, applying for grant funding can be a painless process. Don't be held back financially by your accounting function. Take a step in the right direction and download our whitepaper, "There Is Gold In Your Numbers" and learn how our services can be a game-changer for your nonprofit.
Our previous post explored the importance of establishing a budget and the common mistakes many nonprofits make during the process. It is clear the creation of a budget requires the collaboration of numerous departments, but more importantly, where does the process begin?
First and foremost, a budget period or “time horizon” must be determined. This is an interval of time into which the project period is divided for budgetary and funding purposes. An appropriate budget period will depend on the size and complexity of the nonprofit. Typically, smaller organizations have a budget based on a 12 month period, or a single fiscal year. Larger, more sophisticated organizations with significant resources may require a longer budget period.
It is important to recognize that a nonprofit’s overall budget is, in fact, a compilation of several budgets. Each of these component budgets offer details about an organization’s financial well-being, which can be used to help drive programming and the overall mission. Regardless of the size of your organization, the following component budgets are essential for financial transparency.
• Operating budget
• Capital budget
• Cash flow budget
The operating budget reflects an organization’s planned financial activities for the designated budget period. It outlines how much revenue is expected to be accrued, from which sources, and how much will be spent on operations.
The operating budget is comprised of several separate project or departmental budgets. Most importantly, program directors will state their expected budgets for their programs for the budget period. Typically these include the funds expected to be received along with direct program expenses. However, you should note that program directors usually do not address capacity limits or overhead costs. In addition, a departmental budget should also be outlined for special events and fundraising.
These " individual" budgets must then be consolidated to achieve an overall operating budget for the fiscal year. It is imperative that this budget corresponds with the organization's strategic initiatives.
A capital budget relates more to an organization's financial position: its assets, liabilities, and net assets. This budget should set forth goals and targets for each of these areas. Most smaller nonprofits do not focus on this aspect of the overall budget because they are often struggling to maintain programming in the red as it is. A capital budget is essential to ensure a funding plan has been created above and beyond the operating budget. This may include a capital campaign, issuance of long-term debt, the sale of other assets such as investments, and so forth.
Cash Flow Budget
Although a typical budget for a nonprofit organization is comprised of an operating and capital budget, a significant problem can develop due to a failure to implement a cash flow budget. In theory, the operating budget consists of revenues and expenses, which should be compared to the cash flow budget. However, when dealing with contracts and grants, funding does not always arrive when expected or even during the fiscal year in which they have been included. Hence, a cash flow component of a budget is critical, especially for those organizations with limited resources.
The annual operating budget is the basis for the cash flow budget. The timing of the revenues and expenses in the operating budget are projected on a monthly basis. This helps the organization to effectively manage cash and identify conditions where short-term borrowings may be essential in order to balance the cash flows.
This is a very brief introduction into the basics of nonprofit budgeting. Once the process has been completed and all issue have been addressed, the budget must be approved by the board. Following their approval, it is critical to monitor and regulate the organization budget. Remember, effective financial management requires all parties to be conscious and deliberate about planning for both the organization’s long-term financial goals and short-term financial health.
If your nonprofit organization needs guidance with establishing a budget or the desire for basic financial transparency, WVC RubixCloud is the answer! Our outsourced accounting is unlike any other provider in that we excel in helping your nonprofit manage your accounting function in a seamless and flexible manner. To find out how your organization can benefit from our game-changing services, check out what we do - click here.
Nonprofit organizations constantly strive to maintain and improve operations. Sustainability is dependent upon the ability to appropriately disperse and creatively utilize the limited resources. Lack of resources is not limited to the budgeting process. Often times, it translates into a number of obstacles for organizations. However, when it comes to planning and management, the absence of a budget can prove to be fatal.
A well-planned budget will focus on the primary goals and objectives of an organization and provide financial and programmatic adaptability — key ingredients to maximize sustainability. The budget should serve as a tool for the Board to provide governance regarding ongoing programs. An organization's budget should be treated as a living document which should be referred to, reflected on, and updated based on changes in programs, funding, and other circumstances.
What are some of the most common problems when establishing a budget for a nonprofit organization?
1. Lack of collaboration. Each program or department generates their own, personalized budget. There is an absence of collaboration and each individual budgets remains isolated without integration causing a diversion from the organization's mission.
2. The individual budgets do not account for necessary overhead which creates inaccuracies.
3. Viewing the budget process as an "annual project" and not adhering to it after it has been established.
4. Inability to allocate overhead costs to specific programs to capture funding for capacity
5. Overestimating the fundraising abilities of the organization
6. Failure to consider cash flow versus revenue and expenses
Executive Directors and governing boards should be aware of these pitfalls and remain cognizant of their organization's budgeting process.
Does your nonprofit organization have a budget process and do they know how to create a budget? Do you have the tools to avoid these pitfalls? In prior posts, we have addressed allocating overhead costs. More can be said about this topic and our next post will give some additional guidance on establishing a budget and the types of budgets to consider.
Your nonprofit's budget process, its creation, and monitoring is a critical component of its programmatic and financial management. Creating and following a budget allows you to establish benchmarks, determine priorities, and gauge your organization's financial health from one year to the next. Our WVC RubixCloud team can help your nonprofit generate a budget and ensure you are on the right track to accurately analyzing the health of your organization. Download our whitepaper, "There Is Gold In Your Numbers," to learn more about outsourced accounting and how it can be the game changer for your organization.
If you are involved in today's education of our youth, you are well aware that in order to obtain any type of funding, your scholastic results should measurable and must show improvement. Significant media attention has been dedicated to our educational systems and how they perform in comparison to already set government standards. How does such affect our children, their education and the institutions they attend?
When I attended grade school, my "choice" was the public school in the district in which I resided. Others were privileged enough to attend private schools. Today's educational framework allows parents and students to select their "school of choice." Depending on the state, these options may vary. Parents and students are being given more options when it comes to getting a better education. From charter schools, magnet schools and home schooling, here are just a few of the explanations of a "school of choice"
• If there are multiple schools in a district, the student is not obligate to attend one based on geographical assignment. Instead, the student can choose to attend any of the schools within the district.
• Students may choose to attend school online.
• State governments may provide vouchers so students can attend private schools
• Charter schools are public schools which operate with freedom from many of the local and state regulations that apply to traditional public schools. Charter schools are sponsored by local, state, or other organizations that monitor their quality while holding them accountable for academic results and responsible fiscal practices.
The idea of "school of choice" evolved to force improvement. Similar to a free market, having a choice creates situations where the best will survive, and those with a lackluster performance will not. When all is said and done, are "schools of choice" improving educational outcomes for our children? Consider this article regarding Charter Schools in the State of Ohio. The creation of additional educational opportunities has resulted in limited resources and stricter budgets due to restricted funding.
Before the evolution of "school of choice", a district may have had $10,000,000 to support Local School A. Charter schools opening in the same district results in a decrease in the student population at Local School A. However, funding has not increased and the amount is now dispersed across a number of institutions.
As a result, educational institutions must now become more transparent and budget friendly in order to remain competitive for funding. This also directly impacts nonprofit organizations involved in any aspect of our educational system, including afterschool programs. It is the responsibility of these organizations to hold "schools of choice" accountable to their funding obligations and ensure transparency. WVC RubixCloud can be your after school program or educational nonprofit's game changer when it comes to funding clarity. To find out more about how our innovative technology can positively impact your nonprofit finances, check out our Prezi presentation.
By: Robert Reid, CEO of Intacct
I've been asked many times to lay out my magic formula for building a successful small or medium-sized business. I usually respond by saying there's no magic, only hard work and experience.
While this is certainly true, the success of a small or medium-sized business depends on dedicated execution of the following: articulating a clear mission, hiring the right people, setting goals and measuring progress toward them -- and then resolving the inevitable conflicts that arise. The latter task is truly the tricky part!
With that in mind, here are the five ingredients in my "not really" magic formula for small or medium-sized business success.
1. Develop a compelling mission. A clearly articulated, compelling mission attracts talent to the organization and encourages strong commitment to the team. It also acts as glue to keep members of the team unified over time. When formulating a mission, start with the why not how. Why is the company here? Why have other companies been unable to solve the problem?
2. Find the right people. Locating talented people with the right skills and experiences is essential, but that's the easy part. The hard part is finding people with the right character traits. I look for people who like working on a team.
Many smart and successful people don't work well in teams, and it's harder to create a successful organization with them, in part because as the organization grows in size, conflicts become harder and harder to resolve.
I also want to hire people who are champions of change and with a natural ability to establish plans, structures and processes. These traits are critical because people lacking them simply won't be able to support a rapidly growing organization. Ultimately, it's the personality traits of staffers (their attitudes, beliefs and actions) and their commitment to the mission that results in a company culture that's capable of fostering successful execution.
3. Set clear goals. The process of creating long-term goals and short-term objectives to support the mission is also essential for successful execution. Clearly articulating these goals helps ensure that the people and processes will be geared toward moving the organization in the right direction.
Consider a school of fish or a flock of birds: If the goal is to move from Point A to Point B, no progress is made if each individual creature moves in a direction of its choosing.
In a workplace each member of a company's team should strive toward the same goals.
4. Measure progress. Setting goals doesn't mean much if its not possible to measure progress in achieving them. Attach specific financial, operational and process-oriented performance targets to specific activities supporting the objectives.
Measuring these activities against the targets offers a clear picture of the progress toward the long-term goals. Based on the picture that develops -- and with input from the team and the marketplace -- continually refine the objectives, supporting activities and measurement targets to ensure continued successful execution.
5. Be prepared to resolve problems. No matter how successful a company is in developing a compelling mission, hiring the right people and measuring progress toward goals, problems will arise related to strategy, execution and culture.
To tackle problems, I like to start with the empirical data. I look at the progress made toward the measurable targets to determine what the problem really is. Is there a profile of the customers not adopting the company's solution? Are partners not moving forward with the company because of an unforeseen problem? Finding empirical data points can help in determine how big the issue is.
Then I address the root cause. Did the company not understand the opportunity? Did team members not communicate effectively internally or have the right processes? Did the organization not provide enough services to customers? Has the competition successfully countered the company's messaging?
With all the key stakeholders gathered in a room, I ask them to write down what they think is the problem's root cause. We brainstorm for a while to be sure every possible issue has been surfaced. Then I ask everyone to rate each suggested cause on a 100-point scale. We focus the discussion on areas of disagreement.
This process enables us to quickly expose and address the biggest issues first. This is contrary to the practice at other organizations (focusing on agreement and ignoring outliers). But those who use this sometimes difficult problem-solving process say it can facilitate an alignment.
Ultimately, ensuring agreement from all stakeholders about the approach and encouraging their contributions are the only ways to help an organization efficiently execute its plan and produce something better than what any other company can produce.
Rob's content was originally published here.
Nonprofit organizations are one of the fastest growing industry segments moving to Intacct. Intacct is dedicated to helping these organizations fulfill their mission by providing cloud-based financial applications that support the unique needs of charitable institutions.
WVC RubxiCloud and Intacct work with a wide spectrum of nonprofit organizations, including, charities, trade and membership associations, cultural institutions, charter schools, and faith-based organizations. Through Intacct's best-in-class cloud accounting software, the nonprofits we work with are able to save money, increase revenue, and improve operations. Instead of wasting time working around outdated on-premises financial software, our nonprofit customers gain the increased efficiency and improved financial visibility of a modern cloud-based system.
Moving to Intacct brings a variety of benefits for nonprofit organizations. For example, we help them to:
- Leverage efficiencies as they expand
- Do more in less time by optimizing their finance resources
- Ensure mission alignment through better visibility into programs and outcomes
- Gain increased insight with powerful, multi-dimensional reporting
To learn more about our partnership with Intacct and how it can be the game-changer for your nonprofit organization, check out our presentation.
This is the title of Circular No. A-122 published by the Federal Office of Management and Budget. The purpose of the publication is to establish principles for determining costs of grants, contracts and other agreements with non-profit organizations. There are quite a few guidelines with regards to whom this applies, how, and when. Nevertheless, this document is essential for accounting professionals when asked the following: "How do I allocate expenses that are not directly attributable to a program?"
In order to better understand the publication, it is best to review each attachment. Attachment A includes definitions of direct and indirect costs and provides examples of the various methods used to allocate such costs. This incorporates the simplified method, the multiple allocation base method, the direct allocation method, and some guidance on special rates and specific approvals for deviations from the prescribed norm.
Attachment B offers specific details on allowable costs as part of each of these allocation calculations. It also documents those not permissible under the regulations.
Attachment C outlines the applications of the regulations. Specifically, it delineates which types of organizations fall under the guidelines, and those who do not.
Given the vast nature of Circular No. A-122, this post is focused solely on the direct allocation method. A typical nonprofit implements a limited number of programs and in order to cover general and administrative expenses, several fundraisers are organized. These general costs must be allocated. The question is, how? If your organization mirrors this simplistic example, then the answer is review your G&A costs and allocate them as direct costs to each of your program activities by "using a base that is most appropriate to the cost being allocated".
Many accountants invest significant amounts of time, energy, and money into allocating every cost to the exact penny. Ideally, each cost could have its own base and hours. However, if an overall base can be determined, then it's best to use such. For example, if a nonprofit provides support to children through tutoring and after-school programs, then the direct labor funds going to programs to allocate the administrative expenses should be the base. This presents a simple and direct approach which ultimately does not significantly differ from the results of the most detailed approach. More importantly, it provides a fair representation of what is consuming the costs. Specifics on how to implement the other methods can be found in the publication.
There are many options for allocation. Each organization should review their costs and activities to establish a transparent and sound process. It is critical for allocation methodologies to represent the activities of your organization, result in fair and reasonable allocations, and be applied on a consistent basis. Save time and money by using allocations where they matter most: in your programming. If you have any questions regarding your organization's allocation plan, please contact WVC RubixCloud.
As I mentioned in my previous post, there are a number of security implications to consider when converting to the cloud. Most cloud computing providers have already gone through a rigorous vetting process for their applications and data centers. Some provide their own data hosting center while others contract it out to a third party.
The term security may refer to the physical security of your data in the cloud, the ability to access data from your own mobile devices, or even the protection of individual applications specific to your business. The following is a cloud security checklist of some essential questions and details regarding data center that you should consider when partnering with a cloud computing provider.
• What class of data center do you use?
The optimal answer would be a Tier 4 data center which offers built-in redundancies such as power supplies, internet connections, and hardware. These "redundancies" also refer to automatic backups.
- - A redundant power supply means if the power goes out at the data center, a diesel generator takes over immediately to keep your system running smoothly until electricity is restored.
- - In the case of internet connections, a tier 4 center has multiple internet connections to prevent the loss of data resulting from weather or service interruption
- - Finally, redundant hardware means the data center has multiple drives, servers, etc. which guarantees an available backup file at all times.
• How do I know the data in my applications is secure?
There are multiple answers to the question. A reputable data center and cloud service provider will have some of the following characteristics:
- - Policies and procedures are set in place to protect your data. These include administrative controls at the data center, as well as on-site to permit limited access to those who have rights to particular files and functions within your applications.
- - Firewalls should be in place to protect against unauthorized third parties from accessing your data during transmission.
- - Anti-virus detection software and data encryption software. These detect and remove viruses during transmission of the data, as well as encrypts the data when it's going from your provider to the data center.
• If someone steals my computer or phone, can they access all my data from the cloud?
Data is actually housed at the data center, not on the internal hard drive of your computer or mobile device. The beauty of the cloud is the ability to access your data from anywhere with an internet connection. A log-in and password will be required, therefore you are not at any more risk than you would be with traditional methods of online activity.
• Make sure you have the terms of your engagement set in writing.
The data provided is your, not the providers. Make sure there is documentation in place to retain your data if and when it comes time. In addition, you should also specifically outline a time frame for retrieving your data and a method.
The choice to outsource your accounting services to a cloud-based provider is a big decision. Take the time to evaluate your options and to ensure each provider has the necessary standards in place to protect your data. For more information, check out our previous blog: Top 5 Myths About Outsourced Accounting.
As the office of the controller becomes ever more strategic—creating higher levels of financial visibility to help drive growth and profitability—the financial organization's relationship to the controller role must evolve as well.
Specifically, today's CFO needs to work closely with the controller to ensure that, one, the organization gets the full benefit of the controller's talents and knowledge and, two, the controller's office is operating at the highest levels of efficiency and accuracy.
Exploring the answers to these five questions with your controller will help create a stronger, more effective financial structure. In fact, your entire organization will benefit from a finance team that understands and controls sources of financial risk, implements more efficient processes, and develops deeper insight into both the financial and operational metrics of the business.
- How many manual journal entries are we making during the closing process?
- Have you reviewed compliance with local jurisdictions?
- How long does it take to close our books? What's holding things up
- Are we still using excel? If so, why?
- Can we integrate our financial information and our operating metrics?
To read the full whitepaper, click here.
The frantic pace of modern business shows no signs of slowing down. If anything, it is accelerating. Enterprises have to operate in an always-on, digital world in which we all expect results on demand. But their incumbent systems are letting them down.
Traditional financial systems were typically designed in an era when it might take days or even weeks to collect and process information. The mismatch to today's high-speed expectations means the right answers don't arrive when they're needed.
Modern, ambitious businesses need a financial system that's designed to operate the way they do – one that's adaptable, responsive, and ready to deliver timely answers on demand.
It's always tempting to postpone the necessary action – to put off change until another day. But when colleagues don't have up-to-date information, they risk missing crucial warning signals or remaining blind to developing trends. Margins stay under pressure because it's so hard to chase down costs. Customer billing questions are left unresolved.
Key performance indicators constantly lag behind the curve. Every month that passes is yet another missed opportunity. Don't wait until a crisis forces your hand. The time to act is now.
Fast-moving enterprises understand the importance of right-time information to compete successfully in a digitally connected world. They recognize the risks of delay and the rapid advantages a cloud financial system brings their business. There are seven reasons now is the time to move to cloud financials.
Where advanced technology and client service converge is where you will discover the accounting solutions provided by WVC RubixCloud. As Director of Cloud Accounting Services, I have made a commitment to embrace innovative technology as our business operates through the integration of cutting-edge software and programming. One of the most common questions I receive is "what are cloud accounting services?" To acknowledge the efficiencies our solutions provide, it is essential for you to understand the cloud and how it works.
Whether you know it or not, you use the cloud on a daily basis. If you log onto Facebook, pay your bills online, or surf the internet, you are using the cloud. Cloud computing, or the cloud, is the general term for anything involved in delivering hosted services over the Internet rather than on your local desktop. The cloud involves multiple remote servers which are networked to allow the sharing of data-processing tasks, centralized data storage, and online access to computer services or resources. The cloud permits higher volumes of information to be shared than the traditional direct connection to a server.
What is cloud accounting?
Cloud accounting serves the same function as the accounting software installed on your computer. However, the program runs from outside servers and access to the program involves using your web browser, over the Internet.
Cloud accounting employs the cloud to process your accounting transactions. Traditionally, businesses and organizations purchased accounting software, installed it on internal computers or networks, and processed transactions with the program. WVC RubixCloud provides an application (general ledger software) which is hosted on someone else's system, allowing you to complete your processing by accessing the program online. All of your data is securely stored and processed on a remote server in the cloud.
How secure is my data?
The cloud is often times more secure than being on your own network. In fact, cloud computing offers a level of physical and electronic security that an on-site server or a locked file cabinet cannot begin to approach. It's important to understand that data hosted in the cloud is managed by a data center. All data centers are different and independent. You need to make sure the data center you choose can manage the data you are processing. There is a whole checklist of security measures you should be aware of, and I will address those in a future post.
Cloud computing offers more reliable protection from internal data loss than other communication methods because it gives you centralized control over your data. It's much easier to establish and enforce policies for a cloud-based system than for the individual silos of email accounts, physical media, applications and flash drives that handle on-site data storage.
Is cloud accounting expensive?
Computing in the cloud has proven to be significantly inexpensive compared to traditional methods. There are fewer overall costs associated with cloud computing. There is no software to install and maintain. The IT infrastructure required is simply a connection to the internet, whereas traditional methods include a series of networks, applications, and workarounds. Cloud computing provides you the flexibility to utilize only the services you want, when you want them, and at a fixed monthly fee.
So, now that you know more about the cloud and cloud accounting, why should you make the transition? Check back later this week to find out 7 reason to move to the cloud!
Nonprofits encompassing a vast array of services targeted towards basic needs, welfare, and recovery are commonly referred to as human service organizations. Each center is unique in purpose and the services they offer may include any of the following:
- Basic food and hygiene supplies
- Child Care
- In-home assistance
This list may seem relatively minor, however, each of these services has multiple variations. For instance, a shelter could signify a homeless shelter, a domestic violence shelter, group homes for the developmentally disabled or homes for abandoned children. Each of these recipient groups may also have a variety of unique needs which need to be met. Oftentimes, the organizations delivering these services work in a vacuum. A nonprofit may be "location" focused rather than outcome focused. An example would be a distressed neighborhood where the average income level is well below the poverty line. The focus of services would be limited to providing basic needs such as food, water, and hygienic products. While pursuing donations to provide food and supplies to these individuals may be a short-term solution, the ultimate success story would be to raise the income level over time.
No matter what category of human services an agency is delivering, the key to making an impact is to align the forces of change with your unique circumstances. What does this mean? The Board and the Executive Directors of these organizations must open the door to new partnerships. Success is dependent on agencies working together and services being provided in unison and not isolated from one another. When nonprofits form mutual, interactive, and dependent relationships to perform a common goal, change is inevitable.
This type of forward thinking creates new relationships and access to resources which can be advantageous for any organization and its recipients. Working together with other common and extension organizations broadens the discussion around the impact and mission of any nonprofit. It forces every contributing organization to consider core competencies and determine how each can contribute to the overall goal of making an impact. It also adds a community-centered approach to program-centered accountabilities and creates stronger social services through collaboration.
Step out of the box and think about how your organization can collaborate with other forces to make change a reality. Partnering with the right outsourced accounting firm may be that first step. It's time to change your game!
Intacct blog posted by Joan Benson on Monday, February 2, 2015
In the last several years, demand for nonprofit services has greatly increased and often exceeds capacity. Nonprofits want to meet the needs of their constituency while increasing impact. The challenge comes in how to effectively scale for growth and impact. With the dynamic nature of the nonprofit environment, how are nonprofits adapting to meet the needs?
We are seeing more mergers between nonprofits as well as, new partnerships and collaborations. Some of these partnerships are with social enterprise organizations, some with other nonprofits, and others with community entities. With increased competition for funding and donors, nonprofits are learning to partner, narrow the focus of their mission, and adopt critical tools to ensure mission success and growth.
While growing to broaden the scope of your mission is a very good thing, it also brings new challenges. You have multiple funding streams, demand for deeper visibility, more grantor requirements, and increased compliance and reporting requirements. You may add new locations, programs or initiatives. It's vital to plan for your growth and your expansion beyond the startup mode. Most nonprofit organizations start out utilizing small business tools to manage the organization. Once growth and expansion begins, nonprofit organizations experience the pains and limitations of 'startup' tools and resources.
In my last two posts, I shared information with you related to outcome measures and funding diversity. These two areas are critical as you plan and prepare for growth. Once you start tracking and measuring outcomes and increasing the diversity of your funding – you will quickly see the need for a best in class financial management solution - that will allow you to leverage modern technology to strengthen your visibility, transparency, automation, efficiency – and of course – your stewardship.
I want to share a resource with you -- to give you an inside view on how modern financial management resources can help your organization evolve and scale for growth. Nikki Jones, Director of Finance and Admin for the Healthcare Businesswomen's Association, shares her experience with Intacct and how it allowed her to accommodate significant organizational growth. Check out this short video to get an idea of the types of benefits you can expect with a best in class financial management solution.
As your organization starts to thrive and grow, don't think it will just happen on its own. Plan and build your strategy to accommodate the growth in a sustainable way. Stanford Social Innovation Review has published a great series on developing a common framework for nonprofits to scale for impact. This will give you a great roadmap as you plan for growth and impact.
Nonprofits need the leverage and benefits that modern, best in class fund accounting affords. Whether through automation and visibility, or transparency and reporting – make sure that you equip your nonprofit with the tools that will allow it to thrive, grow, and maximize impact.
Many of our nonprofit clients receive "in-kind donations" in the form of fundraising marketing materials or advertising space including broadcasting time. Such media contributions can range from helping an organization communicate their mission to broadcasting a fundraising event with a solicitation for contributions.
Regardless of what the advertising time of spaces if for, generally accepted accounting principles (GAAP) consider this to be a contribution of an asset to the organization, and not a service. To determine if the media space received by an organization is truly a contribution, one question must be answered: did the organization have an active involvement in determining or managing the message and/or the use of the printed materials? If so, it is likely a contribution.
Some examples of "determining or managing the message" might include:
- The organization approves the ad or broadcast before it is publicized
- The organization provides their official logo or other specific information for the media
- The organization provides artwork, material and influence over the content of the media
- Representatives from the organization appear in the content of the printed or voice ad
The determination of a contribution received is not affected by whether or not an organization could afford to purchase the same advertising time or space. Furthermore, an organization's need for the time or space does not affect the status of a contribution.
If, an organization determines a media donation is a contribution, the asset should be reported at fair value with an offsetting expense coded to the proper function. What is the fair market value of donated print or other media advertising? Often times a donor may offer an estimated value on an invoice. However, if this is not already provided, our previous blog lists some indicators to determine such. Here are some additional indicators you may also consider:
- The donor's own historical experience
- Real estate of the ad (prime reading on the first or last page)
- Number of viewers or readers
- Type of space (size, medium, print)
- Whether the NFP shares the message, advertising, or materials with others or is the only entity receiving the benefit of the message, advertising, or materials
Accounting for nonprofits is complicated, and even more so when you consider the various rules and regulations related to donations. WVC RubixCloud can help your nonprofit organization remove the burden and stress of your accounting. Through innovative technology, real-time data is a just a click away. Download our whitepaper, "There Is Gold In Your Numbers," to learn more about outsourced accounting and how it can be the game changer for your organization.
As mentioned previously, many nonprofits struggle to keep up with the everyday accounting function, let alone attempting to track specific details for improving programming and accountability.
In doing some research for a client, I came across a report by Teresa Derrick-Mills, a Senior Research Associate at the Urban Institute's Center on Nonprofits & Philanthropy. While the report is aimed primarily at head start and early education organizations, Teresa hit on some very valid points when it comes to data collection and the ultimate utilization by nonprofit organizations.
She provides a wonderful example to illustrate how data may be applied to support different uses within an organization. The examples she presents are specific to education-related data. However, her data and theories can be applied to any nonprofit organization. Teresa identifies 3 levels in the evolution of data collection.
- Compliance. This in itself is a significant struggle for many nonprofit organizations. Compliance is simply the collection and reporting of required data for programs. It involves maintaining all of the required records with accurate data to be available for reporting as necessary.
- Transitioning . After the data is collected, a designated individual within the organization must review the data on a regular basis. Analyzing the data at a high level will identify outliers such as those not receiving services. However, insights will be limited and nothing granular will be obtained.
- Learning. This is the true analysis and breakout of the data. This is termed "disaggregating" the data. Instead of looking strictly at who is not receiving services, those involved in reviewing the data begin utilizing the numbers to identify what groups of people are not receiving services and more importantly, why. This pertinent information can be used to target program impact and maximize effectiveness.
Teresa highlights, "data disaggregation is most useful when paired with careful interpretation". Basically, the numbers don't mean anything unless they are analyzed and the potential cause and effect of relationships are understood. All nonprofit organizations should strive to achieve such analysis. These results will drive your organization's strategy, guide your programming, budget, and ultimately, your decision-making process!
Are you collecting the appropriate data? Are your numbers accurate? Are you able to make any sense of what you are gathering? Understanding the true cost of programming and the various allocations associated with implementation is where WVC RubixCloud shines. Imagine have the ability to see data in real-time so accurate and impactful decisions can be made. It's time to know the true cost of your non-profit organization! Check out our presentation.
The initial receipt of an in-kind gift should be reported as a contribution and measured at fair market value (FMV) when received by the organization. So, how does one determine fair market value? This question is purely subjective. An organization may use any reasonable method to estimate the fair market value of goods or services provided to a donor, as long as the organization applies the method in good faith. However, reporting authorities have also provided specific guidelines. To assess fair market value, nonprofit organizations should consider the following:
- - The quality of the item received. If it is perishable food, is the expiration date reasonable? Or, will the item perish soon? If so, the fair market value would be less than the current price at a local grocery store.
- - The quantity of the item received. Nonprofits often receive bulk quantities of donated items (for example, manufacturers and/or retailers donate canned foods, new children's toys, new blankets, etc.) and as a result, the recipient charity will use wholesale values for the items received.
- - Is there a legitimate market for the goods that would determine a fair market value? A great example is art.
- - Don't confuse tax value with fair market value.
It is really that simple! The biggest issue facing most nonprofit organizations is recording the in-kind donation in the first place and then assigning a fair market value. Establishing a system and standards can positively impact the fundraising experience for any nonprofit. Don't forget, these rules are NOT the same for contributions of fundraising materials or advertising in the forms of ad space or media time. While those may also be considered contributions, additional rules and tests apply. We will have more on this topic later this week. Check back to learn how to record such donations!
Leaders of both large and small nonprofits face a myriad of challenges when it comes to selecting the "right" financial application(s) for their organizations. In a recent Robert Half Management Resources survey, CFOs cited staying current with changing technology as their greatest source of pressure. Nonprofit organizations are not exempt from this notion and typically face even greater pressures due to limited resource availability for technological upgrades. There are numerous packages available today which are specifically directed toward the various nuances of nonprofit accounting. While these systems may vary when it comes to functionality, the most important factor when choosing new software is the method of deployment.
There are two main methods of deployment for new software applications: one is the traditional on-premise deployment, and the other, more modern approach, is cloud-based deployment. The traditional on-premise approach in simple terms is installing the software on YOUR server and networking it to YOUR team. This comes with the burden and additional cost of supporting the necessary IT infrastructure. Without a dedicated IT team, the risk involved in supporting and maintaining the infrastructure may outweigh any benefits. The cloud-based approach does not require the same infrastructure, but simply an internet connection and a device. This route offers the ability to shift the cost and risk associated with the IT infrastructure to the vendor. This makes more sense for nonprofits with the limited resource because cloud vendors have superior IT operating capabilities.
Ok, We have decided on the cloud. What next?
The cloud-based approach allows nonprofits to take advantage of real-time financial and operational reporting as a result of the accessibility – anytime, anywhere. However, not all cloud vendors are created equal. In fact, there are two very specific and different methods of using software in the cloud. One approach is a single-tenant hosted environment and the other approach is a multi-tenant or SaaS (software as a service) environment. A single-tenant hosted solution is defined as an application that is housed on a dedicated or shared server, but unique for each customer. In contrast, a multi-tenant environment represents one version of the software for all customers or users.
When comparing the different deployment options for cloud-based software, multi-tenant solutions tend to have considerable advantages over single-tenant hosted solutions. Below are a few of the key advantages.
Multi-Tenant SaaS Solution
- - Applications are more scalable, resulting in lower costs for the end user.
- - New customers or users get access to the same basic software, so scaling has far fewer infrastructure and maintenance implications for vendors.
- - It is easier to maximize the performance of the different elements in the technology, so optimum speed and reliability can be ensured at all times.
- - Ongoing maintenance and updates are typically included in the cost of the SaaS subscription, so end users don't need to pay costly maintenance fees in order to keep their software up to date.
- - When there is an update or upgrade, the vendor only has one installation of the software, compared to multiple installations in a hosted environment.
Single-tenant environments represent many different installations of the application which require independent management of each installation for every customer. Whereas, a multi-tenant environment represents a single platform to maintain which creates a much more efficient and effective support experience for the end user.
When the time comes to test drive new financial software for your organization make sure you think about more than just functionality. The decision to move to a cloud-based solution can provide significant value to your organization if you have properly evaluated the scalability of different deployment methods. To find out more about WVC RubixCloud and our services, check out our presentation today.
By: Nick Rediger
The Game Changer:
Why is the spotlight so bright on the dollars spent by nonprofit organizations? In a prior life, the majority of my focus was on larger manufacturing and retail organizations. Many
Now, picture the same scenario while sitting across from the Executive Director of any nonprofit and imagine how different the answer would be. When I present the same situation, I immediately receive a myriad of questions: times when reviewing the financials with the President or Controller, I would question the variance in an account from one month to the other or against what had been budgeted. The answer I often received was, "It's not a material enough variance to worry about".
- How much is our budget off?
- Did we spend too much or do we have funds left to draw down?
- Will we have enough to pay John's salary next week?
- Will there be enough funds for the incentives for the afterschool program Wednesday night?
- Are there funds left from the fundraising event to cover those dollars?
- We need to figure out what went wrong!
WHAT A BIG DIFFERENCE!
Nonprofit organizations truly have to account for EVERY SINGLE dollar spent, and with appropriate justification. If name brand markers are purchased for a given program, there better be a good reason. The irony is the money being used comes directly from the businesses and government agencies that are accountable only to a fault for what they are spending.
The dollars nonprofits are spending are for purposes of goodwill and betterment. I agree accountability must be a requirement for funding disseminated. However, we give our dollars to the government and businesses every day, and we don't demand that same type of transparency. We surely don't see what every single check written and how our money is being spent.
This level of detail and transparency in reporting funds received can often lead to the demise of a nonprofit organization. In some instances, the organization cannot pull together a budget in an acceptable format to support their programming and apply for the dollars. Or, the dollars are received and the nonprofit has difficulty effectively accounting for distribution. I don't foresee these requirements changing anytime soon. So, until they do, WVC RubixCloud is here to solve any nonprofit organization's fiscal accountability issues. Take our assessment and download "9 Signs It's Time To Outsource Your Accounting." The ability to accurately assess your fiscal health is just around the corner!
Jennifer A. Kinzel, CPA, CMA, MBA
The ask is the request for funds by a nonprofit to help support the mission. The ask can be in the form of a grant proposal, an annual campaign where letters are sent to targeted donors with the organization specifically identifying a need, or it take place during fundraisers. In my experience, many organizations are not asking for enough. I am not implying this because they always require more to support their mission, I say this because it is a fact. There are several reasons why what you are asking for is not enough.
1. Many organizations don't ask for anything.
Many nonprofits simply do not have the resources to devote towards campaigns or fundraisers. Program directors and service workers spend every second of their day in programming. Executive Directors spend their days dealing with all of the functions which a normal organization assigns to departments like accounting, human resources and staffing, IT management, program oversight and these areas are just the tip of the iceberg.
2. There is a huge misconception that "fundraising has it covered".
Let's be honest, how much money is your fundraising really contributing to the bottom line? If your accounting was transparent and timely, you would see it is not as much as one may perceive. All too often, nonprofit leadership sees gross dollars raised at a fundraiser and judges it a success. As a matter of fact, that is the number most organization report as "raised". Unfortunately, the same fundraisers with the same donors every year generally do not contribute significant funds to the bottom line. Much like the overall financial picture, most nonprofits fail to understand the costs surrounding fundraising events. As a result, the actual contribution is unclear and results in a lack of program funds and cash flow.
3. If you are asking for "anything," I can guarantee you are not asking for enough and from the right donors! I once heard someone say,"why ask for $100? What do you have to lose when asking for $1,000 or $10,000?" I repeat this as often as possible because it is very true! You need to be passionate about your ask and with the confidence that your organization deserves those funds.
4. Finally, the most significant issue is that the ask has not been designed around a clear financial picture, a budget, or a plan. How can a nonprofit know how much funding is required to cover programming and all of the potential shortfalls without a comprehensive budget? In addition, donors do not want to share their hard earned dollars with an organization that cannot demonstrate stewardship of the funds provided or the impact of those dollars within their own community.
There is money on the table just waiting on the ask. If you need help obtaining the funding your organization need, but you find yourself without the time, financial clarity or resources, now is the time to change your game. WVC RubixCloud offers nonprofit organizations the confidence of an up-to-date picture of how the nonprofit is operating, no matter where you are. You can now collaborate more efficiently on strategic issues that impact the key drivers of your organization and make the right decisions about the future.
The Game Changer:
The Game Changer:
in Your Numbers
Selecting the right outsourced accounting firm can be a daunting task. Not all providers are created equal and the myriad of options can be overwhelming. A wrong decision can ultimately impact the overall financial well-being of a nonprofit organization. Here are few guidelines to consider when selecting the perfect outsourcing partner.
Quality of Service
Quality comes at a price. Take the time to find an experienced provider that is accurate and reliable. A reputable provider will offer personalization and a commitment to meeting the unique needs of each nonprofit organization.
Communication is the key to a successful outsourcing transition. Many hours will be spent interfacing with the provider team and it will become one of the most important business relationships. Make sure to meet with the team to establish clear and open lines of communication. Having a trusted relationship with the provider and knowing they care about the organization to make recommendations is priceless.
Advanced knowledge of nonprofit accounting should be a requirement. A provider that does not have a background in the industry may lack the ability to fully recognize the issues surrounding the organization and ultimately leave the organization seeking additional guidance. Asking for references is recommended. Hearing from current clients will provide additional insight into the process and the result of engagement.
The technology implemented should be the most up-to-date, secure and ensure a paperless experience. Seamless tracking, billing and invoicing and access to real-time data is essential. Choosing a provider that not only leverages advanced software, but also provides functionality from a tablet, smartphone or other internet-based electronics.
Finding the right outsourced accounting partner is essential. It is, after all, a partnership, one that will be long-term and will require fluid communication in order to be successful. To find out more about WVC RubixCloud and how we provide high-level, accurate and efficient outsourced accounting, visit our "What We Do" page. Take control of your accounting and contact us to discover how we are the right outsourced partner for your nonprofit organization.
Indirect cost allocation is a fact of accounting that plagues every for-profit business and non-profit organization in existence. Most organizations struggle with two major components of this calculation:
1. What costs are considered “indirect”
2. What method do we use to allocate these costs?
In particular for non-profits, this calculation is even more difficult due to the differing requirements set forth by various funding sources (government grants, private funders) which specifically allow or disallow various costs and components of this allocation.
To complicate matters even more, those individuals helping to guide the organization both operationally and financially (yes, this is in reference to board members), usually do not understand how indirect cost allocation works nor its importance.
So, what is an “indirect cost”?
An indirect cost is a common cost incurred to support the overall operation of the organization. It would be incurred no matter what programming the organization pursues.
Why do non-profits need to allocate indirect costs?
• Maintain compliance with IRS regulations
• Achieve clarity in true cost of support to programs
• For the benefit of transparency in the request for funding
• Provide accuracy in calculating direct cost ratios
• Facilitate general budgeting and cash flow management
When talking about a manufacturing facility, bad cost allocation can be known to cause the “death spiral”. In brief summary, as production decreases so should the associated overhead allocated to that production. However, because of poor allocation methods the cost of the product actually increases causing management to slow production, raise prices, or even discontinue the product. The actions are based on cost data that is not accurate for decision-making.
The same death spiral occurs in non-profits organizations. When developing the cost to fulfill program obligations, many program directors or executive directors only include direct programming costs in the budget. This budget is then submitted to various sources for funding. As a result, the program will not be funded in its entirety as presented because it does not include overhead. Ultimately, the program is set to fail. It is underfunded from the first dollar as the funding received was not enough to cover all of the direct program expenses even with a portion of the capacity expenses that are required to support the program indirectly.
In speaking with many Board Members and Executive Directors, they intuitively know these funds “must come from operations”, but they really don’t know how much or how to plan. Hence, the death spiral of a program and many more until a clear picture and true understanding of program costs is recognized.
Understanding the true cost of programming and the various allocations associated with implementation is where WVC RubixCloud shines. Imagine have the ability to see data in real-time so accurate and impactful decisions can be made. It's time to know the true cost of your non-profit organization! Check out our presentation.
The Game Changer: How Cloud Accounting Services Can Change Your Business
As technology continues to advance and market trends fluctuate, innovation is a must. Organizations must consistently re-invent and transform to ensure they meet the needs of their constituents. For some organizations, change is difficult and requires a complete shift in culture. However, for those organizations who embrace the future, innovation is natural and welcomed. Cloud-based outsourced accounting leverages advanced technology and innovation to bring clarity and efficiency to your accounting function. Here a just a few of the innovative technologies supported by outsourcing.
Custom Reports & Dashboards
One of the biggest obstacles facing nonprofit organizations is the unknown. The inability to predict grant funding, donations or other monetary gains makes program planning difficult. The lack of consistent funding makes current data essential. If this data is available, often times, it is disorganized and incomplete. With outsourced accounting data is processed in a timely manner so current data can be utilized when making decisions about the future of the organization. Client specific dashboards are available to access reports and analytics about revenue, cash balances, budget comparisons and trends. An organization’s dashboard is the nucleus of all transactions where data can be reviewed in real-time. In addition to the dashboard, outsourced accounting software has the capability of creating customizing reporting. No matter how unique the desired financial metrics required by an organization, tailored reports can be created to display specific information. Outsourced accounting is all about matching the needs of the organization to ensure their financial health is clear and accurate.
Imagine a world where you don't have to rely on paper reporting to track transactions. Cloud outsourced accounting supports the innovation of apps which streamline your accounting function. Various tracking apps will support an organization's day-to-day functions and dramatically improve efficiencies in management and reporting. Executive Directors and other decision makers can track an organization’s cash flow and payments from the ease of their cell phone or tablet. The data is accessible from anywhere that has an Internet connection. Tracking your financial data through the use of apps will increase the accuracy of financial reporting and may also prevent fraud as your data is visible and transparent.
Quality of service will no longer be limited by geography. Outsourced accounting offers a virtual workforce, one that is highly qualified and experienced. Utilizing advanced communication technology such as video conferencing and instant messaging, meeting with the team of professionals is simple. Organizations can now have access to high-level expertise, extensive resources, and quality training.
It’s time to embrace innovation and experience the clarity and efficiencies cloud outsourced accounting delivers. Nonprofit organizations must adapt to new technology and its higher standards. Cloud outsourced accounting and the innovative technology it supports are the key to financial well-being. The ability to see numbers in real-time and know where an organization stands financially is something everyone should experience. Take the leap and let the innovation of WVC RubixCloud be your game-changer. Here are "10 Reasons You'll Love WVC RubixCloud"
As Director of WVC RubixCloud, I am dedicated to helping my clients achieve financial clarity and efficiency. I take my job personally and enjoy making a positive impact on the financial health of businesses and organizations so they can ultimately make quality decisions about their future. The journey to WVC RubixCloud has been a long one, but one that has been the most gratifying in my twenty–two years of accounting experience. Here is my story.
I have been working in public accounting for twenty-two years. For a number of those years, I was the traditional accountant. Submerged in the world of financial statements and tax returns, I did not really enjoy what I was doing. After collaborating on a few consulting engagements, I realized there was a whole new realm of accounting.
I started spending my time working as an outsourced CFO for William Vaughan Company. I spent weeks, sometimes months, working for clients to “right” their accounting processes during a transitional period. I really enjoyed my job and it provided me great insight into the multitude of inefficient workarounds created to perform daily accounting and administrative tasks.
I used this knowledge along with my Master of Human Resource Administration to begin performing operations reviews for businesses. An operations review was essentially a walkthrough and documentation of the accounting function, which generated a few products:
- Detailed analysis of the overall function including what was being done in accordance with best practices and what should be modified
- Suggestions on how to incorporate best practices
- For those that engaged, detailed standard operating procedures manual that served as a resource for staff turnover or absence including screen shots and formal written documentation of each step of the task.
I almost always came away with the same conclusions:
- Those performing the functions were underqualified, but the business could not afford higher pay
- The software being utilized was not the best choice for the Company. As a result, external steps were being utilized to achieve the desired results
- The data being generated was usually untimely, confusing, and often misstated
I have spent years helping clients with both the operational and the financial aspects of their business or organization. I have provided numerous presentations on business financial reporting and the true meaning of the numbers delivered by internal accountants. I have worked with various software packages and completed countless training sessions. However, I always came to the conclusion that the people AND the software, even the million dollar packages, fell short.
So what changed? Almost one year ago exactly, I learned of a new approach to help my clients. I found an innovative tool to help me do what I love the most: solving problems. Welcome to the creation of WVC RubixCloud!
Numbers often present a puzzle, a problem to be solved. They tell a story that needs to be mapped out. I ultimately love designing that map and making the numbers portray the story effortlessly. Using reports, dashboards, performance cards, and KPI’s that mean something and allow the user to see and understand what is really happening to drive the success of their organization is what brings me the most satisfaction.
While you may think WVC RubixCloud is new in town, the reality is, we have been around for over fifty years! I am now able to utilize my vast years of experience and significant resources that come with being part of William Vaughan Company to make businesses work smarter. I can offer those resources and experiences to my clients in a cost competitive manner to provide expertise way beyond the traditional bookkeeper that most organizations already employ. I am proud to be a part of a revolutionary movement towards financial clarity utilizing cloud-based advanced technology. My extensive accounting background combined with the long-lasting reputation of William Vaughan Company has offered WVC RubixCloud the chance to positively impact businesses and organizations alike. This is not your ordinary outsourced accounting team, but a game changer for the future of your organization.
Jennifer A. Kinzel, CPA, CMA, MBA
Director, WVC RubixCloud
Nonprofits may be fueled by passion and need, but just like any company or corporation, they are funded by dollars. As a result, high-level financial guidance is essential to ensure the continuation of programs and services to deserving communities. The more financially complex a nonprofit, the greater need for a dedicated CFO to provide high-level advice regarding the financial direction of the organization. Choosing CFO services appropriately is vital and can ultimately be a game-changer for the future of the nonprofit.
Benefits of outsourcing CFO services:
CFOs hired internally may have limited skill sets and resources. Since a typical nonprofit has limited funding, the accounting function may be completed by a staff member from another department. When outsourced, the organization gains a more experienced and diverse skill set. The nonprofit will now have a trusted expert as a part of the financial team guiding in a direction that had never been achievable.
An outsourced CFO has the ability to leverage external resources such as advanced technology and various connection they may have within the industry. Process previously completed weeks or months behind are now performed instantly and the results are available in real-time. Quality decisions about the future of your organization can be made promptly (if required) and without concern of the unknown.
Regular insight and analysis from an experienced outside CFO generates a more in-depth understand of an organization’s financial position. The nonprofit will have guidance with regards to forecasting, budget preparation, metric analysis and more. Thus, leaving staff with the ability to focus on core competencies ultimately allowing for a greater focus on achieving the mission.
As an independent source, an outsourced CFO can provide a fresh perspective. Not distracted by day-to-day accounting functions, an outsourced CFO has the time to focus on the higher-level financial responsibilities and innovative solutions.
Given the volatile financial climate of many nonprofits, the option of outsourcing high-level CFO services can be more beneficial than hiring internally. Making the right decision about the nonprofit’s financial future can be daunting. Having an expert as part of the team can make the process efficient and provide much-needed focus. Here are 10 reasons you will love WVC RubixCloud.
If you are a for-profit business, the decision to continue to sell a product or a service should be simple. If you are achieving decent profit margins, usually the product or service remains. However, if you are a nonprofit, making decisions that affect programming are not as clear cut.
There are many factors to consider, but overall, you must identify if the program is financially sustainable and if it is having a positive impact. Again, the financial piece is the easier of the two decisions, assuming that your accounting is up to par. Program impact is a more subjective aspect of the process, which may require additional criteria to determine success rates.
Some of the questions you should be asking when assessing continuity and viability of programming include:
Effectiveness: Is your organization effective and efficient with your delivery?
You need to be good at what you do! There could be only two providers of emergency food within a one hundred mile radius, but if your organization cannot deliver the services effectively, then your program success can be negatively impacted. Performance of the program and associated tasks must be efficient and seamless.
Need: Is your program the only provider of your service or good?
If your constituency has no other alternatives, it is hard to understate the need and impact of your program.
Weight: Relative to the overall strategy and mission of the organization, how does this program complement and strengthen important partnerships and relationships both inside and outside the organization?
These partnerships help support all other aspects of the organization including funding and other programs. If your program is unable to support the missions and further your relationships then it is time to re-evaluate your objective.
Reach: Does the reach affect the community in a positive way?
The extent of the reach can be a crucial assessment tool for your organization. Some organizations design their programming to reach many people in a wide geographic area. Others are designed to support the community “within the four walls”.
Engagement or Penetration: How much change is your program having on its recipients? How long have they been recipients? What is the level of change they have experienced? What would they revert to without your existence?
It is important to recognize that an evaluation of program impact is not the same as program evaluation. Program evaluation is focused on how well your goals align with the mission of the organization as a whole. On the other hand, evaluation of impact uses criteria to determine if the programming supports the strategic mission and contributes positively towards the overall intended goal of the organization’s mission. Assessment of impact is a leader discussion, deep and meaningful, sometimes a painful reality. Program evaluation is enlightening, and when mixed with the proper financial data can help put the impact into perspective. Good financial data is critical in evaluating a program. So many of our current clients express how they can finally see the monetary outcome of a program which directly impacts its evaluation. Take our assessment and download 9 Signs It's Time To Outsource Your Accounting. The ability to accurately assess your program impact is just around the corner!
Outsource Your Accounting
If you have landed here, you are probably looking to outsource some function of your business, specifically accounting. With today’s advanced technologies, many companies are enjoying the benefits of outsourcing. Whether you're outsourcing your accounting, human resources or IT function if an experienced firm can do it smarter and faster, why not let them do it, right?
Experience has taught us that this theory may have significant truth, however, if you do not completely understand outsourcing and what it entails, success can be hindered. Whether you are new to outsourcing or considering switching providers, it is important to avoid these five outsourcing mistakes to ensure a successful outcome.
Internal disorganization. If you are looking to outsource simply because everything is in disarray, it is time to “straighten up your house” first. Using outsourcing as a quick remedy may generate other obstacles which ultimately leads to poor results. Outsourcing the accounting function provides great standardized procedures for the pieces that are being outsourced, but if part of the workflow starts or ends in your office, you must first build your internal workflow to support the outsourced process.
Focusing solely on the price. While outsourcing is generally much more efficient than in-house processing, the old adage “you get what you pay for” is applicable. You should look for cost-effectiveness combined with accuracy, not necessarily cheaper.
Inability to identify your outsourcing needs. In some situations, it is not best to outsource every function. Only those processes outside of your core competencies. For example, a nonprofit that has customized contract billing on a governmental website. Is this something you want to outsource? One wrong entry and your funds could be held up for months. Let the program manager continue to do the invoicing and your outsourcing team can record the receipt of the funds!
Eliminating company guidance. If you choose to outsource your accounting function, you have moved the functional task from your plate onto another. But don’t kid yourself into thinking that you never have to think about it again. Your company must be involved with the numbers on a daily basis. The end goal is to have a clearer picture and be able to make quality business decisions based on real-time data. Communication and collaboration are key to ensuring your objectives and goals are being achieved and this involves internal participation.
Lack of internal processes. Outlining guidelines, processes and procedures are necessary to ensure success. Internally, these procedures must be set in place. If you have major cash flow challenges or a complicated and unique system that requires day-to-day decisions about what to pay and what to hold, outsourcing may complicate your system. If your challenges are a result of poor processes or lack of transparency, having a plan in place will make your outsourcing experience efficient and painless.
Remember the goal of outsourcing is to eliminate inefficiencies and provide clarity to make better business decisions. Taking the time to prepare your organization and avoid common mistakes will make the process much smoother and less costly. Now that you have taken the time to recognize what to avoid, download our presentation on how cloud accounting services can change your business.
The Game Changer:
Outsourced accounting is changing the way organizations do business. Not only can it provide clarity to how costs are incurred, where revenues are earned and highlight areas for growth, it can also make organization’s stronger. However, some are reluctant to explore the option of cloud-based outsourced accounting based simply on common misconceptions. Here are the top 5 myths and the truth about outsourced accounting and its benefits.
Myth #1: Losing Control Of Your Organization
Outsourced accounting actually enhances the control you have over your procedures and accounting data. Your financial processes will be standardized and established guidelines will be followed rigorously. You will have real-time data at your disposal providing you greater control of your cash flow and other performance indicators. Time and time again, our clients t feel they are no longer alone and have gained their own personal team of experienced accountants. Outsourcing has offered our clients the ability to work collaboratively and more efficiently to establish greater control over their financial well-being.
Myth #2: Outsourcing Eliminates Jobs
Many organizations have limited resources and as a result they rely heavily on their employees to perform multiple functions. Often times, employees are acting in roles in which they do not have any formal training. Wearing too many hats can lead to inefficiencies. Not only does this hinder growth within the organization, but it also adds stress to the employee. Outsourcing your accounting function allows your staff to be refocused on efforts that are more suitable for their skill set. Furthermore, the organization can now direct its resources towards their mission, funding and grant writing.
Myth#3: It’s Not Secure
Besides transforming how businesses function internally and externally, the growth of cloud computing also has a consequence on outsourcing data management. By partnering with WVC RubixCloud, your security can and will be improved. Security is a top priority and we have partnered with the leading software company to ensure data is protected. Furthermore, as a result of the shared access of real-time data, transactions are visible from any source with an internet connection. If a transaction has been completed and you are not sure of its nature, you can instantaneously take action.
Myth #4: Outsourcers Don’t Understand My Business
When you partner with WVC RubixCloud, you will gain a well-rounded team of financial experts who have worked in a variety of industries both in public and private sectors. We will collaborate with you to develop a comprehensive plan to maximize your organization's financial success.
Myth #5: Outsourcing Is Only Viable For Large Organizations
No matter the size of your organization, outsourced accounting options are flexible. One of the main advantages of outsourcing is the streamlining of processes to attain business efficiencies and actionable insights. Smaller organizations can benefit tremendously from the economies of scale offered through outsourcing. Frequently, the cost is considerably lower compared to having the work completed in-house.
In conclusion, don’t fall victim to the most common myths of cloud outsourced accounting. Take the time to research the facts. Download our whitepaper, "There Is Gold In Your Numbers," to learn more about outsourced accounting and how it can be the game changer for your organization.
in Your Numbers
Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) are quantifiable measurements of an organization’s efficiency. In general, KPIs are benchmarks related to peer organizations that provide an indication of where your organization’s health and success. So, are they relevant to not for profits? The answer is definitely!
Any organization, whether for profit or not has to establish goals. What are we in the business of doing? How will we do it? Most importantly, how will we know when we are successful? When selecting metrics for nonprofits, it is important to select those focused on the mission. Think about how you go about accomplishing the objective of your mission. When you investigate the strategies and methods implemented, you can then define relevant KPIs that will objectively indicate exactly how well you are doing.
KPIs not only help an organization keep track of their goals, but they play an important role in funding. The ability to provide clear and concise data about how you have developed programs or allocated funds to successfully promote your organization’s mission will impact donor funding. For example, if you are a donor looking to donate $10,000, would you be more willing to give to an organization that states, “we need funds to feed more school children before and after school” or one that says, “based on the success of our current program year to date, we can feed 42 more families two meals a day for the next four months”? It is reported that the highest priority and funding consideration is given to organizations that clearly communicate the planned impact of their efforts. Those organizations that can transparently identify results of past efforts using metrics are the ones getting the money.
Here are some SMART tips to guide your organization when establishing KPIs:
Specific: Your metrics should be specific and well-defined to both the donor and the recipient.
Measurable: Results should be trackable and the provide the organization a clear picture of what is being done.
Achievable: Metrics should be attainable given adequate resources. Donors want to contribute to a cause that is achievable or where progress can be made. Donors may think twice about funding a cause that cannot produce attainable results.
Realistic: Achievable and realistic metrics go hand in hand. While it is easy to go after every goal all at once, sometimes it is more effective to set realistic expectations and focus efforts on making small changes that can result in a significant impact over time.
Timely: Descriptions of metrics should include timelines that include the necessary resources, how they will be used and when. Timelines establish direction and accountability.
Utilizing SMART as your guide in designing your metrics combined with the customization available with WVC RubixCloud, you will be able to make better decisions regarding your management and help support those decisions when reporting to stakeholders. WVC RubixCloud is the answer to measuring the success of your organization. It is time to change your game - let WVC RubixCloud be your solution.
Natural Accounts. Sub-accounts. Four digit account numbers or five digit plus hyphenated departmental accounts? Detailed accounts or high-level view (Repairs and Maintenance vs. R &M – Building R&M Equipment, R&M Office Equipment, R&M Vehicles, R&M Other). There are so many choices and is this an example of how robust my chart of account should be?
The answer is no! Your data collection and financial reporting system should be robust enough to capture the information that a healthy chart of accounts was designed to acquire. In my years of experience, I have seen it all when it comes to chart of accounts. I once worked with a glass manufacturer whose chart of accounts was the biggest I had ever seen to date. For every expense category, there was at minimum, 45 bifurcations of the same expense so allocation of costs could be made purely for “reporting “ purposes. There were 15 separate product lines and three manufacturing locations. In order to record an invoice to the right product line in the right location, a method of identification was required so the company could attempt to track their profitability.
Quite frankly, 14 years ago that was pretty sophisticated accounting. This CFO was applying cutting edge reporting and profitability metrics ahead of many others in the industry. However, the chart of account was so out of control it took countless hours to input the data which resulted in inaccuracies. It is not feasible to use two dimensions (main accounts and sub-accounts) to manage that much information!
This same theory applies to nonprofit organizations. Imagine, an organization that has numerous funding sources. Or, an organization that services patients at 88 different treatment facilities in 19 counties spanning across 3 states. How do they track the necessary information for grant reporting? How do they allocate costs properly? These chart of accounts can be lengthy, like the one shown above. Managing this information accurately can be a challenge.
So what is the answer? Welcome Intacct to the financial game. I continuously refer to it as a “powerhouse” providing the ability to manage your chart of accounts as it was meant to be: simple and brief. Your chart of account should be 80 accounts, not 680. It should offers a high-level view of the categories of your transactions. To dive deeper, Intacct uses dimensions, locations, departments, classes and more to “tag” your data coming in so it is easily segmented by any or all of the categories that you need to see it in for financial reporting purposes. Your nonprofit organization will have the ability to tailor your reporting needs.
Before you dig a foundation, you first assess exactly what you need in a building for it to serve your purpose. Then you utilize the best resources to put the plan into action to make your vision a reality. The same should be done when designing your financial information system. If you face financial reporting obstacles due to multi-tiered or excessive numbers of accounts, you nonprofit organization is in need of a game-changer. Take your organization down a simplified road to success. Outsource your accounting with WVC RubixCloud and we will leverage the power of advanced technology to help you manage your organization’s finances in a transparent and efficient manner.
The Game Changer:
Limited staff, tight operating budgets, and a trusting nature have helped to make nonprofits attractive targets for fraudulent activity. According to the Report to the Nations on Occupational Fraud & Abuse established by the Association of Certified Fraud Examiners (ACFE), the median loss suffered by nonprofits due to fraud in the United States is roughly $108,000 per year. The ACFE also purports that 10.6% of all fraud victims are nonprofit organizations.
Are you exempt? No! Could your organization handle a loss of this magnitude? Probably not. Generally, nonprofit organizations are more susceptible to fraudulent activities due to the following:
- Nonprofit organization have limited financial resources to invest in back office functions such as accounting and financial oversight. Inadequate or nonexistent internal controls often leave a gaping hole for potential fraud.
- As a result of limited resources, nonprofit employees and volunteers are bestowed a great deal of responsibility and trust. More often that not, these individuals are working with confidential information and the lack of proper channels of oversight leave organizations vulnerable. According to the ACFE, payroll and check tampering were more common in the nonprofit sector than the business sector.
- Finally, "board governance" is an area of great debate. Board members must be educated regarding their responsibility to provide financial oversight and expertise.
How can you minimize your organization's risk?
Establish a financial solution that provides transparency and strong management controls throughout your entire process, from budgeting, financial reporting to financial analysis. An independent audit is not guaranteed to find any indicators of fraud, especially when it is completed months after the fact. Your Executive Director and Board must have access to donor information and expenditures as they occur in real-time.
If you are a typical nonprofit organization, you don't have the financial resources to invest in the financial function or do you? You can't afford not to! If you are handling your accounting the traditional way by hiring a bookkeeper with a limited knowledge of fund accounting or restrictions and they are being forced to write checks in QuickBooks, then you are wasting your time and money. If you want to do it right, it's time to move your back office to the cloud. Outsourcing your accounting with WVC RubixCloud is the solution. By doing so, you will immediately see the added value:
- Real-time visibility into the daily transactions will allow you to proactively manage key initiatives, take action, and improve outcomes across funding sources, locations, grants, programs, and other dimensions. In addition, your process will be streamlined and offer the necessary secure controls and oversight to prevent fraudulent activity.
- You are not alone! You now have a team of experienced accountants to process your financial data and the guidance of a CFO as needed. With an ethical financial controller working as a part of your team, additional oversight is built into the system which helps to eliminate internal fraud.
- Our ability to fully leverage technology will make your core financial operations faster and more efficient.
- You can access your financial data from any device, anywhere, anytime. You will now have instant access to your balance sheets and financial analysis reports so you spot anything that seems out of the ordinary.
- The reporting and dashboard capability provide managerial visibility so you can drive down costs while, not sacrificing anything to fully pursue your organization's mission.
In short, outsourcing your accounting function with WVC RubxiCloud not only creates peace of mind in terms of your organization's financial well-being, but it also establishes greater financial transparency which reduces the risk of fraud. Don't let your organization fall victim. If you believe that "it costs too much" to outsource your accounting and make the move to the cloud, consider the cost and impact of losing $108,000 due to fraud!
Rock Star. Professional. Thoughtful. On your game. Wonderful. Detail Oriented. Thought leader. Dedicated. Proactive. Thorough.
Late. Inaccurate. Slow. Inconsiderate. Second best. Painful. Careless. Incomplete. Unsure.
Which words would you use to best describe the individual who is guiding the financial strategy of your organization? If you did not associate any of the words from the first list, then it’s time to evaluate your direction. The first list contains the words our clients have been using to describe WVC RubixCloud as we assume the role of their accounting function and alleviate their financial stresses.
As recently as yesterday, a client expressed that she could not and would not make a cash deposit without first reaching out to the WVC RubixCloud team as we have become such an integral part of her everyday process. This is huge! This indicates our team is delivering the service and value that we intended to. When you make the decision to team with WVC RubixCloud you can expect game-changing results. Here are just a few of the personal testimonials about the ways in which WVC RubixCloud has positively impacted our current clients.
On Your Game
“A vendor incorrectly charged our organization more than three times than what was expected. The WVC RubixCloud team instantly recognized this erroneous charge. They were proactive in reaching out and scheduled a call with our organization and vendor to discuss the issue at hand and we were able to reach a successful resolve."
Clarity I Didn’t Know Existed
“Our organization has had unknown liabilities hanging over our heads for two full years. We had received notice after notice with no one able to untangle our issue. Within one week of onboarding with WVC RubixCloud and receiving the correct information, we have cemented 90% of the liability and are making payments to rectify the situation.”
“From Executive Director on down, my organization greatly appreciates the personal attention and energy expended by the WVC RubixCloud team to make our transition as smooth as possible.”
“Thank you for your elite professionalism and research. Your financial summaries ease my mind and provide me the opportunity to confirm our improved practices with billing this year.”
The decision to engage with WVC RubixCloud has proven to provide to our clients exactly what we set out to do:
1. Eliminate the stress of the accounting function
2. Provide timely, easily accessible and transparent financial information
3. Access to and reliance on a committed team to handle the day-to-day accounting duties
4. Access to a dedicated CFO to provide high-level guidance on issues previously undetected or overlooked
5. Dedicated time and ability to focus on important organizational issues such as fundraising, programming, or grant writing.
WVC RubixCloud has become an integral part these organization’s successful financial future. If you are wondering how WVC RubixCloud can be a game-changer for your organization, check out the "10 Reasons You'll Love WVC RubixCloud" or call (419) 891-1040 to schedule an appointment today.
In a society of evolving technology, we are constantly faced with new ways to make our lives easier. Whether it be mobile check depositing or online prescription refills, our world has developed into one of instant information and gratification. No longer do we need to anticipate the delivery of data, it is now at our fingertips. Financial information about your organization should be no different. As technologies have advanced, the prior notion of “write-ups” and bookkeepers has evolved into real-time accounting, or cloud outsourced accounting. There has been a paradigm shift, one that moves beyond the traditional capabilities of a bookkeeper.
For decades, businesses and organization have employed bookkeepers and “write up” firms to maintain their financial books. The typical scenario usually employs someone to perform the day-to-day accounting functions such as paying invoices, writing payroll checks and performing other back office accounting duties. Most often, this internal staff member wears many hats for the organization including that of a receptionist, an administrative assistant, IT, or even the owner. Nevertheless, this individual is attempting to manage the organization's books based on limited knowledge. To supplement, a bookkeeper or a “write-up” firm is hired to close monthly books and prepare tax returns.
The first scenario is utilizing your CPA firm to do “bookkeeping”. This is generally done at year-end when the financial statements and tax returns need to be prepared. A staff accountant is responsible for reviewing an entire year’s worth of general ledger activity and making sure that the postings are accurate, consistent, and the ending trial balance figures agree to all supporting documentation. Speaking from experience, it is not easy to untangle or remember transactions from twelve months ago. It is not the most efficient process, and what’s worse, the data is not accurate until the staff accountant has finished the reconciliation which is sometimes months after year end. What decisions can management make based on data that while accurate, is now historical?
Another familiar scenario more common in the early days of my career was bookkeeping known as “write-up”. Clients wrote checks each month and at the end of the period forwarded the check stubs to an in-house bookkeeper. Those checks would be coded in a software, questions resolved, and a “management use only” financial statement generated. Again, accuracy may be achieved, but the financial statements for the month were not received in a timely fashion.
There is a real disconnect between real-time business transactions processed daily and the after-the-fact financial reports received months later. Organizations accept this archaic model because it is all the have and know.
This model is outdated! Stop seeking the help of a bookkeeper. Look to WVC RubixCloud to leverage advanced technology to provide your organization with a dedicated accounting specialist and a CFO to deliver real-time actionable financial and operational data. Customize your reporting to meet your needs and gain insight into your organization you never imagined possible. If you are ready to change your game and remove the burden of bookkeeping, then download our 9 Signs Its Time To Outsource Your Accounting handout below. Don’t rely on your historical data any longer! Move beyond the capabilities of a bookkeeper and engage an effective outsourcing team.
Outsource Your Accounting
Religious institutions come in a variety of sizes from house churches to mega churches broadcasted nationally. Each has their own level of community involvement, programming, specialty events and educational offerings. Depending upon where your church falls within this spectrum, there are a variety of metrics that could and should be utilized to gauge your institution’s financial health or well-being. Traditionally, religious institutions have based their vigor on their number of members and attendance. While membership still remains a vital statistic, today’s religious institutions must begin to incorporate additional financial and operational information in order to make actionable decisions to promote their fiscal health.
If your religious institution is like most not-for- profits, the majority of your financial metrics are most likely being tracked in Excel. Most often, these Excel spreadsheets have weeks, months if not years of rolling membership information. Some of this information is probably color-coded for simplification. Perhaps this spreadsheet even has memos with explanations as to why attendance was at a low on a given weekend or Sunday. As either the Pastor or the CFO of the church, compiling your data into a reasonable format that offers any meaningful details proves to be challenging. A great deal of time and data manipulation are required to obtain very basic statistics. As time passes, this scenario leaves you with little or nothing of value. As a result, your data is behind and overdue which means your data becomes historical information.
Assuming you could receive timely metrics delivered to your inbox, what information would be more important than attendance and giving with respect to making quality business decisions about your church?
While member base is still important and preferred, the critical data is who is attending, when they are attending and what they are doing? Wouldn’t it be great to know instantaneously the entire demographic structure of all your attendees to yesterday’s services? With this type of information, you could quickly determine how many attendees were from a given age group. You could know where each of your attendees lives based on their county, city or zip code. Even better, this real-time information could provide you the dollar amount donated by group or individual and you could compare it to the last service or even the same date last year. Then, you could add a trend line to this data to show what the weather was like during the time period. So now you have demographic and attendance data, what if it could be combined with financial data related to giving and giving trends by demographic? The possibilities are endless!
Like any business, you should be able to observe your institution’s financial health whether it be in real-time, in the past, by week, month, year or any other designated period. Comparing this information should be seamless and headache free. If you feel as though your religious institution’s financial well-being lacks transparency and is outdated, download our 9 Signs It’s Time to Outsource Your Accounting and evaluate your congregation’s financial health. It may be time to change your game and we can make it happen!
FIVE COMMON DRAINS ON YOUR ACCOUNTING FUNCTION
- Your staff complains that they don't have enough time to simply process day-to-day accounting transactions.
- You are rarely able to access basic reports in your system with real time information.
- When you ask for information or reports of any nature it takes days or even weeks to receive it.
- Your network drives and employee desktops are clogged with Excel spreadsheets.
- The monthly reports are not timely, are not directly generated from the system, and /or provide very limited data.
It is time to get into the 21st century! In years of performing operations reviews I have consistently seen organizations operating like "SALY"- same as last year. Unfortunately, it's now 15 years later and it's time to change!
Many of you might argue that you "HAVE "to work outside of the system, and for a select few, I might agree. However, the majority are refusing to move outside of their comfort zone and replace the antiquated accounting process. What causes this?
It's simple really. Your accounting team has chosen to work outside of the system. What does this mean exactly? You spend months trying to decide on a software package that best suits your business and after the financial investment and training all seems to be working like a champ. Six months after implementation the accounts payable clerk is trying to generate a specific subset of data through a report and cannot figure out how to make the system generate it. Instead of calling support, he exports the data and begins to manipulate it in Excel. This is the beginning of the entire organization shifting to a mindset known as "The system CAN'T do it." Hence, the new trend becomes to export the data to Excel and utilize Excel as the software.
Believe it or not, this problem spreads with each passing month, ultimately resulting in turnover of low level AND key employees, and is virtually impossible to reverse without external intervention. Eventually, the Company does not pay for software updates or outside support because the accounting team has decided "it's not worth the money". The result? Instead of using current, efficient software, the accounting team has now "replaced" the software with Excel and designed new processes and procedures "outside of the system," not to mention the months of wasted time they spent learning the system in the first place. This leads to:
- Inefficiency! - There is no time to process day-to-day accounting transactions when you are working outside of they system.
- Lack of Financial Information - Though much of the transactional data might be in the software, it has not been pulled together because that is how the software is being used. Reporting is being done in Excel so there is no timeliness, visibility or drill down capability, and the nature of the reports are very limited.
- Every Man for Themselves - Each employee is working with his own silo of information that he has exported, manipulated and saved to his hard drive. There is no consistency in the numbers, and there are hundreds of spreadsheets located on hard drives, networks, and flash drives that are difficult to index.
- Errors - Excel is not error proof, and so many of these spreadsheets become overly complicated with users that are not overly sophisticated. Links get broken, formulas don't make sense, and data is not updated as it should be.
- Stacks and stacks of PAPER - Because processes are not being followed in the system, accountants have this built in need to generate their own audit trail of everything that is being done- files, binders, reports- you name it. It's NOT necessary- not in today's digital age.
Solving this problem in your organization should be the highest priority. Unfortunately, most business owners don't even know it exists. Ask your accounting team a few simple questions to see if you need to dig a bit deeper:
- Were all of the reports that I have received in the last three months generated directly from our software or Excel? If even a small majority originated in Excel, you need to investigate.
- How current is the update on our accounting software? If the answer is more than six months ago, you have an issue.
- Can you email me a copy of the income statement right now that is up to date? If the result is no, you have a problem.
Once you have identified that you have the problem, you can move on. Consider reaching out for help.
Every financial leadership position brings with it the responsibility of handling someone else's money. At the helm of a for profit business is the responsibility to maximize shareholder value, meaning the net profits of the company. If you are the financial leader of a not-for-profit, you might find yourself public enemy number one if you begin accumulating net profits.
The ultimate goal of the nonprofit organization is to obtain funding in whatever ethical mechanism to support the mission. Today's guidelines dictate that you must demonstrate to potential donors your stewardship with all donated assets. Unfortunately, with limited resources and poor records, most organizations have a very difficult time providing this information, and even if they are able, it is likely inaccurate. As a solid business practice, your financial leader must be able to continuously provide strong financial management for your organization and present it publicly to reinforce the public's trust in the organization.
What can you specifically do to prove that financial leadership?
- Make your numbers matter! Donors are always saying they want to know what their money is being used for. I met with the Marketing Director of a long time (75+ years) organization who told me she was UNABLE to obtain the statistics regarding the members they serviced, let alone the financial support of those statistics . How scary is that? If you are in this same position, how can you be assured that you are making a positive impact?
- Prove that the bulk of your spending goes to program expenses. After all, who wants to donate to a charity that is paying 50% of its donated resources to pay for the Executive Director's luxury vacation?
- Prove that your fundraising dollars are bringing in funds! And more efficiently over time. Your revenue growth should increase at a greater rate than your fundraising expenditures. "Efficient" charities are able to raise dollars without spending more dollars.
- Being able to show that your dollars support your local community in terms of service. You can generate financial statements all day long that show that your program expenses had a higher ratio than your administrative expenses and that is a positive. However, there needs to be more! Donors and community members want to know specifically where those dollars went. If you have an afterschool youth program, you need to be able to explicitly report on:
a. How many students are you serving every day after school?
b. Where are the students from?
c. What types of services are you providing them (education, technology, food, entertainment, tutoring)?
d. What types of services are you NOT providing them that they need?
e. What has been the impact of this program to the children? The community? If you are providing tutoring, have test scores increased for those children? If you are providing a safe venue for entertainment, has crime decreased?
This list is clearly not meant to be all inclusive, as there are numerous not for profits with widely different programs. The key is that your finance leader can provide you with this information on a timely basis to be able to communicate it to your donor base.
Sound financial management is an absolute necessity when competing for every contributed dollar. An organization that can publicly present strong financial management is more likely to attract that dollar than one that is not. It is the responsibility of the organization's financial leader to provide detailed oversight and explanations to the board and external stakeholders regarding budgetary predictions for programs, revenue shortfalls, excess expenditures, the status of the organization's assets, and detailed reporting by program.
By making this information a part of the everyday operating procedure, you can reinforce the confidence of the organization's supporters, which results in continued funding for your mission.
- Which of your greatest expenses provides the least amount of return? For example, if you are a distributor, your greatest expense is the product you are distributing, and second greatest is likely wages. After that, is it advertising? Are you able to measure the returns on that expense to see if the efforts should be redirected?
- What are your goals for growth? If you are a not-for-profit, you need to identify specific sources of revenue and develop a plan to pursue them whether it is contract funding or fundraising events. If you don't have a plan, it will not happen.
- What services should you no longer pursue and why? This is a tough question for most executives. It is usually difficult to answer because they don't have the information ready and available that is need to make the decision. There are places the company should "stay"- for instance, a product line that might be breaking even on the net income side, however, it is the "icon" of the brand and all orders include this product, so it needs to remain. Diving deeper will help you to understand how to maximize the benefit of that product that must remain. For a not for profit, it's assessing the social impact of your program against its cost.
- What was THIS cost for? You would be amazed at how many times NO ONE knows the answer to that question. If the numbers are small, and especially when they are big, there is no comprehensive oversight. How can you possibly cut costs or track spending when you don't know where the money is going?
- Are you constantly given little information and expected to make big decisions? Most business owners and directors will tell you they have the necessary information to make big decisions, but when you spend the time to go over their existing meager reports with them you will find that they know very little about what they are receiving, and more importantly, they don't know what to do with it. I ask questions that are specific to what they are trying to monitor daily. What plans do they have to grow or change? What is going on with the industry or technology that might significantly impact the future of the organization? These are thoughts that the management team is having, but not putting together collectively to inspire strategy for the organization.