Fear of Abandonment, Nonprofit Finance–Style

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Lost Love / sandy Poore

September 14, 2016; Nonprofit Times

Abila, a leading provider of software and services to nonprofits, has released its 2016 study, Nonprofit Finance: Compliance, People, and Process Complexities. Unfortunately, its findings are completely unsurprising to anyone who is familiar with nonprofit financial management.

First and foremost among the concerns expressed by the 400 respondents to its recent survey is the management of multiple revenue sources. As we know, with multiple revenue streams come multiple restrictions, regulations, and reporting requirements, and for those with multiple government contracts, this creates an ever-increasing load as organizations grow. These loads are often hard to “sell” to other staff, who may not be convinced of their worth. Many organizations live in fear of losing their financial staff because those staff have become expert at dealing with the strange and sometimes onerous requirements and quirks and cycles of revenue sources.

What’s odd about all this is nervousness from organizations about both the complexities of multiple revenue streams and about losing members of their key finance staff is that it doesn’t lessen as their finance units grow in size. This suggests that those offices may not have as much redundancy as they need. And this is an important point, because whenever any one person has too much solely-held knowledge about the finances of the organization, fraud can occur. Generally, the more broadly held financial and compliance information is, the safer the organization is from those unhappy moments when an overbilling is caught too late or an inappropriate comingling occurs.

There is a lot more in the report but, again, we doubt many of our readers will find it surprising. Here, you can read the full report; to view the interactive press release of the study, visit this site.—Aarica J. Smith and Ruth McCambridge