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Posts Tagged ‘nonprofit’

AICPA Survey Points to Big Data, Increased Scrutiny as Big Concerns for CPAs

August 7th, 2014 No comments

Although “big data” has been sort of a buzzword in the business world, it’s becoming more and more of a concern for accountants, including those working in the nonprofit sector. In a past blog post we’ve discussed ways nonprofits can leverage big data, and it appears that the issue of analyzing electronic data is only going to become more important in the near future.

According to The 2014 AICPA Survey on International Trends, published July 30, 85% of CPAs in forensic and valuation services cited big data as their biggest concern going forward. This is a shift from past surveys, which typically placed hiring and retention as the top priority.

Data numbers and line graph

The second most pressing concern for respondents of the survey was increased complexity and scrutiny, coming from different sources such as judges and governing bodies.

Although accountants working for NFPs and NGOs were not included in the survey, these two issues—big data and increased complexity and scrutiny—are big concerns for the nonprofit sector. Peter Brinckerhoff, a former Executive Director of two regional nonprofits and author and internationally renowned lecturer on nonprofit management issues, has stated that transparency and accuracy are two of the most pressing issues for nonprofit financial management.

The Importance of Transparency for Nonprofits
In a whitepaper written for Serenic Software, Brinckerhoff states, “Transparency is no longer optional, either inside or outside the organization.”

Nonprofits, if anything, are under more scrutiny than private sector companies. As Brinkerhoff states, your financials are “on public display at many nonprofit watchdog websites, such as GuideStar and Charity Navigator.”

Reporting requirements are getting more complex, as well. Nonprofits work directly with auditors, and they need to stay on top of all state and federal requirements for reporting, including new requirements for IRS forms 990, 990N, and 990T.

“You might as well have a reporting system that facilitates this easily,” writes Brinkerhoff, “not one that you have to spend hours pulling numbers from.”

The Opportunities of Big Data for Nonprofits
Financial information is a huge part of big data, and making sense of it is a unique challenge that CFOs, board members, and accountants must grapple with.

Brinkerhoff writes, “You still can’t manage what you don’t measure, and like it or not, financial measurements are part of the mission outcome.”  Increasingly, the ability to measure and analyze big data will be crucial to a nonprofit’s financial goals and overall mission.

The biggest opportunity for big data is the potential to gather and analyze financial data in real time, and use it to make important organizational decisions.

Only advanced software solutions give your nonprofit organization the capability to both analyze big data and provide the necessary reporting for complete transparency.

 

Photo by: Tom

 

Time for a Technology Change?

February 10th, 2014 No comments

We recently spoke with Martin Lampner, President for Chimes International, who shared why they wanted to upgrade their nonprofit financial management software.

Chimes and its subsidiaries, the Chimes Family of Services, offer a wide range of support for people with disabilities and special needs – from employment and educational programs to residential and behavioral health services. For more than six decades, the organization has helped more than 17,000 people each year in six states, the District of Columbia and Israel by emphasizing and promoting the unique abilities of individuals while achieving and sustaining each person’s well-being and independence.

Read more…

10 Social Media Tips for Nonprofits in 2014: Part 2

February 3rd, 2014 No comments

In the first half of this blog topic on 29th January we looked at social media strategy, Facebook, LinkedIn and visual content. In this part we will focus on measurement and metrics, Twitter, Pinterest and automation. Read more…

Improve Grant Management Functions: Extend the Life of your Nonprofit

January 29th, 2014 No comments

Nonprofits are subject to high levels of scrutiny, not least from the government. In any one day a grant manager may interact with government agencies, private foundations and charitable organizations, each with their own set of rules, compliance and reporting requirements. How can grant managers meet the needs of all these different stakeholders? Using software that allows for meticulous and detailed grant tracking, while meeting the needs of both grantor organizations and grantees, is certainly one way to tackle the challenge.

Grant managers need access to information in real-time; information must be secure but easily accessible based on individual roles and access rights. Read more…

Empower Your Nonprofit with an Integrated Software Solution

January 22nd, 2014 No comments

Nonprofits are constantly looking for ways to increase efficiency and productivity and work smarter. This can be hard to do with many different software solutions and time-consuming manual processes prone to duplication errors, which can in turn lead to non-compliance. To ensure data integrity, project and expenditure tracking, and transparency, it is vital to integrate organizational processes with solutions tailored to the specific needs of the nonprofit. Read more…

5 Trends for Nonprofits to Prepare for in 2014

January 15th, 2014 No comments

With 2013 behind us, we look at the emerging nonprofit sector trends for the year ahead. What should nonprofits be focusing on in 2014? We’ve listed five of the key trends below, all of which became apparent in 2013, and will be increased areas of importance this year. Read more…

Get the Best from your Volunteers: 6 Tips for Nonprofits

January 8th, 2014 No comments

Many nonprofits rely on voluntary staff to maintain parts of their activities. Taking the time to recognize the work they perform is crucial in order to retain volunteers and recruit new ones. Here are some tips you can follow to make sure your voluntary staff are made to feel welcomed and valued within your nonprofit: Read more…

MHCD’s Gifts of Joy Drive

December 17th, 2013 No comments

Serenic is very excited to participate again in the Mental Health Center of Denver’s Gifts of Joy drive. We have participated the last two years in this important event that supports a local nonprofit which also happens to be a Serenic Software client.Serenic Staff and Joanne from MHCD

MHCD is Colorado’s largest mental health center and is hoping to “brighten the holidays for several thousand people it serves…the goal is to receive 5,000 gifts and gift cards.”  According to Joanne Aiello, Events Manager at the MHCD “Purchasing gifts or gift cards makes it easy and convenient to lend a helping hand so that we can reach as many people as possible.  Many of the youth receiving treatment at the Mental Health Center of Denver are coping with trauma and instability in their lives and are often forgotten at the holidays.”.

Of the long list of acceptable items, we were pleased to donate over 30+ gifts, iTunes, and VISA gift cards. Fun items included nail polishes, Spiderman items, toy food and dishes, a doll and two strollers, cars, arts and craft projects, stuffed animal, games, drawing and art supplies, and a duffle bag to carry the gifts.

We’re told MHCD is very close to reaching their goal this year.  Thank you to MHCD for spreading the holiday spirit amongst those they serve throughout the year.

Happy Holidays!

4 Tips for a Successful Nonprofit Inbound Marketing Strategy

December 12th, 2013 No comments

Back in September we shared some digital strategy tips. Part of that strategy is inbound marketing, which has been one of the most popular online marketing tactics since 2006. Simply put, inbound marketing is the means of creating and sharing digital content that attracts customers or in the case of nonprofits, donors and supporters.

Why is inbound marketing important for nonprofits? At the heart of every NFP is action and awareness. Inbound marketing is a cost-effective way of increasing reach and engagement among the existing and potential community. The further the net is cast, the higher the awareness levels, and opportunity for donations. Read more…

Free Trial of Cloud-Based Nonprofit Accounting Software

December 9th, 2013 No comments

Serenic Navigator Express is a cloud-based version of our accounting software for nonprofits that helps track multiple funds, manage expenses against budgets, and produce timely, accurate reports – all in the cloud!   And now, we have a 15-day free trial complete with step-by-step video product tours to guide you through the solution. Read more…