Money Matters

Four creative ways arts & culture nonprofits are modernizing finance

Two women performing on stage

Arts, culture, and humanities nonprofit organizations play an important role in our communities. Whether your organization is a museum, art school, historical society, performing arts center, media & communications organization, or other culture-focused nonprofit, you face unique issues from managing ticket sales and donations to safeguarding assets and endowment portfolios. To meet these accounting, tracking, and reporting needs, you need specialized functionality in your financial systems to help you accomplish your mission.

However, you can’t fuel your growth and need for accountability and transparency by simply automating the minimum. That’s why more arts and culture nonprofits are replacing inflexible, inefficient, and outdated software with a new breed of modern cloud solutions. These organizations are modernizing their financial operations using four creative strategies to address the serious barriers to success they are facing.

In a recent survey conducted by Sage Intacct, finance leaders within nonprofits shared their top five obstacles:

  1. Lack of process automation and organizational efficiency
  2. Inefficiencies and delays due to multiple, disparate systems
  3. Manual, time-consuming reporting
  4. Lack of real-time visibility into key metrics and performance
  5. Inability to measure outcome metrics

The Benefits of Cloud Accounting Software for Arts & Culture Nonprofits


This article will examine how arts and culture nonprofit organizations like yours can leverage cloud accounting software to modernize finance and empower your modern accounting team. Here are four creative ways your nonprofit can use Sage Intacct nonprofit accounting software to deliver better mission impact:

1. Empower your people to work from anywhere and slash IT costs

Older on-premises accounting systems are often expensive to own and lack the functionality needed for your nonprofit to meet its goals. Nonprofits pay too much for features they don’t use, and the solution is often inflexible and inefficient. By replacing an outdated system with cloud accounting software, organizations only pay for what they use. Plus, some solutions are designed to meet the unique needs of arts and culture nonprofits while remaining easy to use. Affordability improves since there is no IT infrastructure to maintain.

For 25 years, WMHT Public Media used an on-premises accounting system. However, over the years, WMHT experienced increased fund and project accounting complexity and realized it was time to bring their system into the 21st century.

“Our old system was incredibly clunky. Getting reports out and trying to extract any kind of insight was painful. It seemed like we were always behind, and it was difficult to work from home…because we’d have to bring binders full of paper backup with us.”

Julie Raskin | Vice President of Finance and Accounting | WMHT Public Media

WMHT replaced their outdated system with Sage Intacct. Now, WMHT’s leaders have valuable real-time performance snapshots at their fingertips, making their team more effective and efficient.

Being able to work from home (or anywhere) is an important benefit of cloud accounting software. With solutions like Sage Intacct, arts and culture nonprofit finance teams can shift seamlessly from working at the office to working at home or any other location—while maintaining peace of mind their data is safe and secure in the cloud.

2. Deliver insight that inspires and emboldens

Arts and culture nonprofits need real-time visibility into every aspect of their finances, whether that’s seeing what funds were used for each program, analyzing by location, or viewing expenses tied to each volunteer or employee. Using modern cloud financial solutions like Sage Intacct, arts and culture organizations gain immediate visibility into financial data with easy-to-use, real-time financial and operational reporting and dashboards.

Role-based dashboards and analytics make it easy to keep a pulse on the health of the entire organization as well as individual programs—plus accurately budget for the months ahead. This support allows nonprofit finance teams to become more strategic and forward-looking. The access to real-time information provided by Sage Intacct enabled WHMT Public Media to increase grant funding.

“With our old software, we actually lost 10% of potential funds on one grant alone because we could not react fast enough to give our funder a revised budget before their deadline. A few of our production projects even overspent on their budget by 15% due to a lack of timely information. Thanks to Sage Intacct, I can now get this information whenever I need it, so I no longer worry about missing out on funds or projects creeping out of scope without anyone catching it.”

Julie Raskin | Vice President of Finance and Accounting | WMHT Public Media

3. Infuse flexibility and automation into financial processes

Cloud financial management solutions bring flexibility and automation to operational workflow processes. Designed to evolve with your organization, Sage Intacct’s flexible and configurable architecture can be adapted to support the tracking, electronic approvals, and workflow requirements needed by the organization to best support the mission and improve operational efficiency.

From ground zero, GRAMMY Museum Mississippi used Sage Intacct to establish every business process it needed, building a modern, audit-ready foundation upon which to scale. As the nonprofit quadrupled grant funding and program reach, its finance team was ready to rock and roll thanks to the benefit of automation.

“Sage Intacct was instrumental in helping us implement best practices across every financial workflow—from purchasing and accounts payable approvals, to order entry, accounts receivable, banking reconciliations, report preparation, and our month-end close.”

Chace Holland | Director of Programming and Business Operations | GRAMMY Museum Mississippi

4. Maintain artistic freedom and integrate best-in-class solutions

When you’re busy promoting appreciation and enjoyment of arts and culture, you strive to showcase the best. Likewise, nonprofit finance teams should also be free to utilize the best apps and technology. Sage Intacct empowers nonprofits to strengthen their organizations with seamless integration to the best third-party business applications.

Sage Intacct partners with more than 200 software solution providers using open API and true cloud integration strategy. This ensures that the finance team delivers plenty of meaningful insights for the management team by harnessing technology to work smarter.

For example, Yerba Buena Center for the Arts (YBCA) uses Sage Intacct to improve efficiency, budget accuracy, and save on personnel costs. YBCA also benefits from the flexibility Sage Intacct provides when integrating with other specialized applications.

“We’ve been able to close the month 60% faster since rolling out Sage Intacct and connecting it with our other software [Adaptive Insights for budgeting and Nexonia for expense management]. We produce financials and push information out to our stakeholders a lot quicker, and with more detail, so they’re not waiting a month to see how we’re performing.”

Chris Safford | Finance Director | Yerba Buena Center for the Arts


There are many creative ways arts and culture nonprofits can use cloud accounting software to modernize finance. From empowering accounting teams with anytime, anywhere access to delivering immediate visibility with role-based dashboards, infusing flexibility and automation into financial processes, and seamlessly integrating with third-party business applications. To further explore the advantages cloud accounting software can deliver, download our eBook, The Benefits of Cloud Accounting Software for Arts & Culture Nonprofits.

The Benefits of Cloud Accounting Software for Arts & Culture Nonprofits