Nonprofits don’t need “unicorns”—just outsourced accounting

When it comes to financial management, nonprofits face a conundrum.

On the one hand, your organization needs specialized financial expertise to function at its best.

You need a nonprofit expert—or, better yet, a team of experts—who can keep clean, consistent, accurate books. But you need more than a good bookkeeper. You need the expert guidance to help you maintain 100% compliance, develop strong internal controls, strategize your cash flow, secure tax credits and grants, and navigate periods of growth and disruption.

On the other hand, your nonprofit operates on a lean budget, and the kind of expertise we described above doesn’t come cheap. If you were to build an in-house team with the full capabilities your organization needs, it would be expensive, leaving you with less resources to spend on fulfilling your mission.

How can you get the level of financial expertise you need at a price you can afford?

You could cross your fingers and hope to find a “unicorn,” an in-house financial expert who can do it all.

But even if you’re lucky enough to find one of these rare breeds, your organization will be completely dependent on them. If they ever leave, you will have to scramble to find, hire and train a new employee to take their place, and you may not find someone who can.

Or you could follow the footsteps of many of today’s most successful nonprofit organizations.

Rather than relying on unicorns or building expensive in-house accounting departments, these nonprofits are choosing an alternative that offers both expertise and affordability: outsourced accounting.

What is outsourced accounting for nonprofits?

Outsourced accounting is a cost-effective alternative to traditional in-house financial services for nonprofits.

Rather than relying on a team of in-house employees, nonprofits will outsource financial management services to an accounting firm. They may partner with the firm for bookkeeping, accounting, or even outsourced Chief Financial Officer services.

Outsourced nonprofit accounting solutions vary greatly, depending on the structure of the nonprofit organization and the services they need. Some nonprofits choose to outsource all of their financial management services; they effectively outsource their entire accounting department to an outside CPA firm. Other nonprofits retain their in-house accountant or accounting department, while outsourcing certain services beyond the scope or capabilities of their in-house team.

What are the key benefits of outsourcing?

Nonprofits often face tight budgets and a complex regulatory environment that demands specialized financial expertise. With outsourced accounting, your organization gets the best of both worlds: the services and expert knowledge you need at a price you can afford.

Here are some of the key benefits of outsourced accounting for nonprofits:

You save money with a flat monthly fee.

Hiring and retaining in-house financial professionals can be expensive, especially in today’s ultra-competitive talent market. By outsourcing your accounting needs, you no longer have to cover the hefty salaries of in-house employees. Instead, you pay a single monthly fee that covers all the services you need.

Nonprofits can save a lot of money by outsourcing basic bookkeeping services, but the savings really add up when you outsource more advanced services, such as controller- or CFO-level solutions.

Normally, hiring this level of professional would be prohibitively expensive for most nonprofits. However, by outsourcing these services to a fractional CFO or controller (“fractional” means you are only paying for a portion of their time), your organization can benefit from their high level of expertise without the burdensome cost.

You don’t have to worry about your “unicorn” leaving.

One of the greatest benefits of outsourcing is stability. When an in-house employee leaves, the process of hiring and retraining can be a huge burden, especially for organizations that operate on a tight budget.

By outsourcing your financial work to a trusted firm, your account is backed by an entire team. Even if your main point-of-contact leaves the firm, there will be a quick, easy transition to a new primary contact without interruption of services.

Outsourcing also makes it easier to expand or reduce your services. Rather than expanding an in-house team or laying off employees, you can simply adjust your service package with your outsourced accounting firm. That flexibility is priceless.

You have peace of mind knowing you are getting top-notch service and software.

When you partner with trusted, experienced accounting firm for nonprofits, you can feel confident knowing your sensitive financial data is secure, your organization is 100% compliant, and the guidance you are receiving has been tested on other organizations.

We manage your finances, so you can focus your time, energy and resources on your mission.

Trusted by mid-sized nonprofit organizations for decades, Dugan & Lopatka provides a full range of outsourced services for nonprofits.

Our experts have a deep understanding of the challenges nonprofits face, from managing cash flow and modernizing internal controls to navigating a complex regulatory environment. We help your organization maintain 100% compliance, automate and ease your administrative burden, manage grants and programs, and achieve your financial goals.

Whether you need basic bookkeeping services or the full capabilities of a financial department, Dugan & Lopatka’s outsourced services offer the solutions you need at an affordable cost.

Some of our solutions include:

  • Outsourced bookkeeping services, such as cloud bookkeeping, accounts receivable, accounts payable, expense reimbursements, and payroll services.
  • Outsourced controller services, such as preparing audits, developing policies and procedures, managing general ledgers, and creating customized financial reports.
  • Outsourced CFO services, such as forecasting and budgeting, cash flow management, strategic planning, and other advisory services.

Learn more about Dugan & Lopatka’s outsourced bookkeeping for Chicago-area nonprofits and outsourced accounting in Chicago, IL or connect with an advisor today. 

For a related read, take a look at our recent post: “Maintaining Board Independence is Critical for Nonprofits.”

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