12 Ways Bookkeeping Services for Nonprofits Transform an Org
Written by Amanda Bower | Published: August 31, 2023
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For nonprofits, every dollar counts. Without financial support, their mission is dead in the water. But let’s face it, securing funding can be a challenge.
While the revenue generated is intended to further its mission, nonprofits still have complex financial operations and nuanced accounting practices. That’s where bookkeeping services for nonprofits comes into play. They help these organizations navigate the complex world of accounting, fundraising, grants, and financial regulations.
And let’s not forget about transparent financial practices—because nobody likes a shady charity. Additionally, nonprofits often use fund accounting practices, making bookkeeping services essential for nonprofits looking to optimize their operations and stay afloat.
Here’s how you can do exactly that and more.
Enhanced Financial Accuracy
Bookkeeping services for nonprofits can enhance financial accuracy, which can often be a make-or-break for these organizations. Firstly, financial accuracy allows a nonprofit to track and manage its funds and to ensure they’re spent appropriately. This can lead to more accurate budgeting and spending and allows nonprofits to best utilize their assets.
While financial accuracy is crucial for supporting the mission of nonprofit organizations, it’s also often necessary for legal compliance. For example, 501(c)(3) organizations typically have to demonstrate their earnings aren’t benefitting private interest to maintain their tax-exempt status.
Time and Cost Savings
While it might seem like an additional expense you’re uncertain about, bookkeeping services for nonprofits can lead to big savings regarding both cost and time. That’s because these services can alleviate the workload of your talented staff and free them up to do more high-impact tasks.
Data shows that 80% of the workday is generally spent on low-value tasks. Instead of using rockstar team members to manually add expenses to a spreadsheet and double-check credit card transactions, they can focus on doing things that further your cause.
Plus, when it comes to bookkeeping tasks, it’s easy for small accounting mistakes to add up to big costs. With bookkeeping services, there’s an expert eye to ensure your organization’s books are accurate.
Compliance and Reporting
There are many requirements for compliance and reporting for nonprofits, which good bookkeeping services can assist with. While we already spoke about IRS tax-exempt requirements, there are other requirements for things such as fundraising, grants, record-keeping, and state and local laws. Bookkeeping services provide nonprofits with accurate, real-time insights into their financial operations, make it easy to track expenses and spending, and produce financial reports related to compliance.
Bookkeeping services can help nonprofits meet legal and moral requirements for financial transparency. For example, if an organization is tax-exempt, it must make certain financial filings “available for public inspection.”
Also, if a nonprofit receives a grant, it might need to demonstrate the funds acquired were used for the intended purpose. When a nonprofit uses solid bookkeeping practices, it can easily produce financial records as needed.
Nonprofits must operate transparently to maintain trust with the public and donors. When someone donates, they want to ensure their money will be used for the intended purpose. Without transparency, winning over donors can be challenging.
Bookkeeping services for nonprofits allow decision-makers and financial leaders to make smart, data-backed decisions about the organization. For example, nonprofit leaders can leverage the financial information to make informed decisions about resource allocation, program expansion, and operational improvements.
Ultimately, well-maintained financial records provide insights that guide strategic planning and ensure the organization’s sustainability and growth.
Grants are often a primary source of revenue for nonprofits, and when secured, they typically come with specific reporting and tracking requirements. These needs can be supported by bookkeeping services for nonprofits, allowing these organizations to easily keep track of funds, expenditures, and compliance with the terms.
While good bookkeeping is often necessary for securing funding in the first place, it’s also necessary to ensure that the funds are well-managed and spent to maximize their impact. Once grant money is received, it can be comprehensively tracked, allocated, and reported on.
Budgeting and Forecasting
Just as for-profit businesses rely on budgeting and forecasting to ensure their financial success in the future, so do nonprofit organizations. But to create accurate budgets and execute useful forecasts, nonprofits need to use up-to-date and accurate financial information, which comes from bookkeeping.
Nonprofits can face unique budgeting and forecasting challenges because funding can fluctuate, certain funds might be restricted, and they need to balance immediate needs with long-term growth objectives. However, using accurate historical data from bookkeeping (and a reliable partner like Basis) can maximize a nonprofit’s chance of accurate budgeting and forecasting for the future.
Donor Relationship Management
As we touched on previously, maintaining good relationships with donors is essential to a successful nonprofit operation, and one of the best ways to approach these relationships is with transparent financial information. When nonprofits use bookkeeping services, they know they have a 360-degree view of their operations, which can then better support donor relationship management.
What might that entail? Nonprofits can use their bookkeeping services to ensure accurate tracking of donations, so they’re recorded and acknowledged promptly. Nonprofits can also communicate with donors, acknowledging their history of support and recognizing their contributions, and can use financial records to build trust and encourage continued engagement.
While nonprofits are out there to do good, they’re not immune to fraud. One study found that nonprofits represent 9% of fraud cases and suffered an average loss of $639,000. This study also found that the industry’s top “control weaknesses” are a lack of internal controls and management review.
While it’s not always possible to prevent fraud, bookkeeping services for nonprofits give leaders a full look into their operations and can give leaders better visibility into what exactly is going on with their finances. This makes it possible to both prevent fraud and detect it at its earliest stages.
Board and Stakeholder Confidence
Nonprofits need to maintain the confidence of both their board of directors and other stakeholders to facilitate the organization’s future success and sustainability. Bookkeeping services can be used to boost stakeholder confidence and support their decision-making processes.
How exactly? Bookkeeping services can be used for transparent financial reporting (such as through a monthly financial analysis), which can help build trust with the board and stakeholders.
Boards can also use financial data from bookkeeping in their decision-making process. Additionally, bookkeeping can mitigate financial risks within an organization, assuring the board of sound financial practices.
Streamlined Accounting Processes
Your nonprofit’s accounting practices should be helping it grow instead of holding it back. If accounting is a bottleneck for you or others in your organization, then bookkeeping services for nonprofits might be the solution.
These services act as the bedrock for accounting processes because the data is used for everything from financial reporting to cash management. When your organization’s books are in order, your other accounting processes can become far more streamlined.
Scalability and Growth
In order to scale and grow, nonprofits need to be in excellent financial health. Bookkeeping services allow nonprofit leaders to see exactly what the financial health of their organization is like today and to create forecasts to see what the future might look like. Sound bookkeeping practices are essential for the proper use of funds and for ultimately making strategic decisions, which help a nonprofit reach new heights.
How Can hiline Help?
If you’re a nonprofit that wants to make the most of its finances, then hiline’s bookkeeping services for nonprofits might be exactly what you’re looking for. We offer far more than just DIY accounting management.
Our bookkeeping services provide your organization with rapid and accurate information you can rely on. We also provide comprehensive services such as bank account reconciliations, credit card reconciliations, employee expense management, and monthly financial reporting, so you always have the most accurate and recent financial data possible.
Proper Bookkeeping Services Transform Nonprofits
Nonprofits might not be in the business of money, but they can certainly benefit from proper financial management, starting with strong bookkeeping. And instead of letting haphazard bookkeeping strain resources, you can choose a financial partner who knows bookkeeping services for nonprofits inside and out.
If you’re interested in having financial experts take care of your organization’s books, then let’s talk. Our outsourced accounting and bookkeeping services give you the financial information you need while making your life easier.
Contact us today to get started.
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