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Considering Outsourced Accounting for an NPO?


Nonprofit organizations operate under tight budgets, employing fewer staff members than for-profits. As a result, these employees juggle multiple responsibilities. Turning to an outsourced chief financial officer is seen by a growing number of NPOs as a better way to divide work among staff. Moving bookkeeping, payroll and other organizational financial responsibilities to a service provider allows your staff to focus on mission tasks — building engagement, attracting more donors through fundraising efforts, and improving program development and delivery.

By performing these jobs, your organization is in a better financial position overall.

A CFO can concentrate on the strategic capacities of the financial function in the following ways:

  • Articulating and implementing your NPO’s financial planning and strategy.
  • Integrating budget, audit, financial and program planning into a programmatic strategic plan, while understanding how the whole organization works.

Taking into consideration your own stretched-to-the-limit resources, outsourcing the CFO function on a part- or full-time basis can be an effective option. An outsourced CFO can achieve the following:

  • Work with your current finance, program and development staff to support and expand the strategic capacity of the financial function. This includes identifying financial goals, working on decision-making and understanding the ramifications of these decisions for the short and long term, devising an implementation plan to ensure that business planning and strategies have the desired impact and becoming a mentor or coach to the staff.
  • Benefit your NPO with access to a broad range of experience and expertise.
  • Ensure that the right short- and long-term questions are being asked and the right forum is established to answer these questions.
  • Create business models and forecasting.

If you outsource your CFO function, you can expect the following:

  • Resources, knowledge and experience, knowing your outsourced CFO will navigate continually changing tax requirements and codes.
  • Expertise and guidance to reduce expenses and increase revenue.
  • An overall reduction in costs, allowing for the hiring of more staff or improving current staff salaries, thus reducing the expenses of turnover.
  • Simplified tax filing, which is important because tax issues can be especially complicated for NPOs and many rules surround reporting revenue and expenses.

Regardless of budget size, executive directors, boards and funders expect forward-thinking NPOs. Ultimately, fulfillment of your mission is the bottom line. Finding outside experts to fill the CFO position provides focus, capacity and strategic direction to achieve your NPO’s goals.

Call Peggy J. Rowe, CPA, CFE, CBA, 315.472.9127 with any question an how an outsourced CFO solution can work with your organization. We will review the specifics and explain all of the advantages we offer.