I doubt any company would turn down the opportunity to reduce operating expenses, but this is especially critical for not-for-profit (NFP) organisations. The less an NFP spends on admin and operations means more funds going to deliver the intended services and outcomes. Now, more than ever, scarce resources put these organisations under pressure to be accountable for all aspects of their operations, especially their service delivery and financial management.
Accountants are also spread thin and are expected to do more with less. Yet somehow they also have to juggle a range of challenges and requirements to provide effective financial management:
Planning can be time-consuming and complicated, especially if it relies on spreadsheets
Collaboration and communication with all relevant areas of the NFP is key to effective budgeting. It drives accuracy, ownership and accountability. But lack of financial experience and knowledge among your non-financial managers can cause resistance, delays in gathering data, and possible errors.
Your people are both critical to your service delivery, and one of your biggest expenses. Accurate staff planning and reporting are essential to effectively allocate resources and monitor costs.
Revenue forecasting is another critical requirement to get an accurate view of incoming government funding, operating income, grants and donations – the lifeblood of any NFP.
Revenue forecasting today
As we’ve all experienced recently, sources of funding can be disrupted at any time, leading to very unpredictable revenue cycles and resource availability. Without the proper tools to reforecast quickly and efficiently, or the modelling capability to run "what-if" scenarios, this volatility can make budgeting and forecasting with any certainty a near-impossible task.
Financial reporting for NFPs
As if these challenges weren’t enough for the busy accountant to contend with, financial reporting for NFPs can be extremely complex, varying for different stakeholders such as management, government or donors. Further complexity and pressure arise from requests for different information in a range of formats and timelines.
How can IDU help?
Automating financial planning, budgeting, and reporting with a best in breed planning tool like IDU will improve collaboration, shorten your budget cycles and dramatically reduce the administrative burden on your team. At the same time, you’ll enable accuracy, transparency, and accountability at a much higher level.
idu-Concept empowers not-for-profit organisations to drive efficiency and savings through its user-friendly, web-based, real-time, collaborative environment:
Multiple managers can work on the budget simultaneously while using the same set of assumptions, resulting in a single version of the truth instantly visible to senior management.
Complex financial features, such as employee and contractor remuneration budgeting are simplified for the non-financial user.
idu-Concept provides a point-and-click capability to interrogate actual data against budget or last-year comparative information and the ability to capture variance analysis comments.
Multi-year planning and forecasting are facilitated through integrated fiscal sets, enabling budgeting in as much detail as required, for up to five years on a single screen. And Financial Modelling allows for driver-based budgeting for multiple fiscal years and scenarios, allowing you to change assumptions and immediately see the impact on your revenue, expenses, and cash flow.
Project Budgeting Functionality enables the breakdown of costs, initially at a high level and with the ability to further analyse and allocate these costs to lower levels as the project proceeds. It also allows finance to identify and manage donor funding within projects.
IDU Reporting simplifies reporting back to government departments or donors on areas such as subsidies. Comparisons can be done based on the current month, year to date or variance analysis against budget, forecast, previous years’ actuals or any available set of comparative information. The powerful drill-down capabilities of idu-Concept’s reporting module enable the analysis of figures through various levels, down to individual cost centres and account line-items, with the ability to capture detailed commentary.
Sound financial management and access to trusted financial data on a real-time basis are at the heart of an NFP’s viability and long-term success. IDU understands the importance of making every cent count and our cost-effective solution and expert team are here to support you so that you can focus on driving impact through your mission.