As they say on TV – What’s in Your Wallet?
If you are like most non-profits, you probably spend days, if not weeks, if not months working on your budgets. You may even create more than one version of your budget for contingency purposes. For example, what happens if Grant A doesn’t get approved or if the state cuts one of your big programs?
Obviously, budgeting is an important exercise for any not-for-profit organization. Once those budgets are approved, though, what happens next? How are you using them? Are you monitoring actual expenses to make sure you are not exceeding budgeted expenses? Are you ensuring that you’re hitting your fund raising goals? Are you holding your program directors and /or grant managers accountable for their individual budgets?
Surprisingly, many not-for-profits are not effectively managing against their budgets. Some non-profits, for example, don’t even generate periodic financial statements showing actual versus budget. The reasons for this are varied, but the most common reason is that their financial accounting (ERP) systems have limited financial reporting capabilities. As such, Excel becomes the report writer of choice and the reports need to be manually generated.
Excel is a wonderful tool, but any time that you are dependent on Excel for your financial reporting, you leave yourself vulnerable. At worst, reports don’t get generated because they take too long to create. At best, the reports get created, but they typically are not timely and they are prone to errors. In fact, a MarketWatch study a few years ago concluded that 88% of Excel worksheets have errors.
If your reports are not timely and you can’t be confident that the information being reported is accurate, then your ability to effectively manage against your budget is severely hampered. To hold people accountable for their budgets, you have to give them tools to do so. They need real-time visibility into their numbers to be able to identify if there is an issue. For example, if an expense is incorrectly coded to their program, it is much easier to catch it when it happens than it is to catch it when looking at a report six weeks after-the-fact.
For more-timely and flexible financial reporting without using Excel, many non-profits are turning to Intacct. Intacct is a spreadsheet killer. It is a Best in Class, cloud-based ERP solution that is made to order for not-profits. With its multi-dimensional reporting, powerful dashboards and the ability to access it from anywhere, at any time, from any device, your managers and directors will always know where they stand versus their budget. They will have real-time visibility into the information they need to see, when they need to see it.
With Intacct, holding people accountable for their budgets gets a whole lot easier. The next time you want to know what’s in your wallet, turn to Intacct.