Increasing revenue. Consolidating across multiple entities. Budgeting. Implementing internal controls. Facilitating audits and compliance reporting. Sometimes, it’s easy to overlook the fact that CFOs of nonprofit and for-profit organizations alike, share many of the same challenges in pursuit of the same overarching goal: optimizing the returns of the organization’s activities by carefully managing all aspects of its finances.
But, of course, in the nonprofit world, it’s not about maximizing profitability it’s about maximizing impact. Nonprofits typically pursue a “mission-first” philosophy, aiming to achieve greater social or philanthropic goals and balance the competing interests of social mission and a sound financial foundation. The result is a host of additional challenges that can burden the nonprofit finance team and its financial software infrastructure.
The fact is, it’s never easy to be a CFO. Regardless of the organization, every CFO faces both common and unique challenges and pressures. However, in many ways, financial leaders at nonprofits must address even greater difficulties than their for-profit counterparts. It can be a result of thin or part-time staffing (and sometimes merely volunteers). There are always tight budgets, primitive tools (think of dozens of spreadsheets from multiple contributors), and far-flung management teams. Nonprofit CFOs are under the gun to achieve so much: to automate processes, improve productivity, create greater levels of transparency and visibility, enhance the governance of the organization, and strengthen the team’s decision-making and strategic focus.
How can a CFO survive this challenging environment? The guide linked below discusses some of the key challenges, special requirements, and unusual constraints of financial management and shares some tips and best practices from numerous nonprofit finance experts.
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