For the past few years, nonprofits have faced a shortage of talent. When the National Council of Nonprofits surveyed 1000 nonprofits about job vacancies in late 2021, more than three-quarters of respondents had vacancy rates above 10%, and roughly one in eight organizations had more than 30% of positions open. Nonprofits must compete against for-profit companies in recruiting, but often have smaller salary budgets. In this tight labor market, it is more important than ever to step up efforts to retain existing employees.
Like the rest of the organization, the nonprofit finance and accounting team feels the impact of the current skills shortage. The 2023 Nonprofit Technology Trends Report revealed staffing shortages were a top challenge among more than half of nonprofit finance leaders, second only to the challenges posed by economic uncertainty.
Fortunately, there are a number of ways the right nonprofit accounting system can help alleviate staffing shortages and improve employee retention. In this article, we discuss how nonprofit accounting software automation can help you accomplish more without needing additional staff. We also highlight several ways automation helps provide a more interesting and less stressful job, so employees will want to stay with your organization.
What do today’s employees want most?
Nonprofit accounting professionals look at much more than money when choosing where to work. First and foremost, candidates want to believe in the organization’s mission. Second, they seek a flexible work environment, which usually means remote work or hybrid work, but might also include scheduling flexibility. Next, leaders rank salary and benefits and solid leadership as the third and fourth most important criteria for job seekers. Rounding out the top five most important considerations, nonprofit finance and accounting professionals want the empowerment afforded by best-in-class software systems and automation.
The current skills shortage means top candidates often get several competing offers. Technology may not rank as important as your mission, but when a candidate is choosing between two or more attractive opportunities, technology can easily become the deciding factor.
With staffing shortages and hiring challenges, what do you believe attracts candidates to your organization?
Improve staff utilization while giving them more satisfying work
Professionals choose to work in the nonprofit industry because they want to make a difference. However, for most people, keying the same data into multiple, disparate systems doesn’t feel very impactful. Routine tasks neither satisfy nor challenge your employees, so the goal should be to cut this type of work out of day-to-day accounting processes.
As you can see above, both the lack of process automation and the inefficiencies associated with disparate systems ranked high on the list of internal challenges facing nonprofit finance and accounting teams. Luckily, nonprofits with a highly automated, cloud nonprofit accounting system, such as Sage Intacct, can automate many of these time-consuming, manual tasks, leaving staff to focus on areas that make a bigger impact. Doing more strategic and high-value work will help improve employee engagement, satisfaction, and retention.
“Sage Intacct has made a world of difference for all our day-to-day financial processes, from reporting, to accounts payable and receivable, to payroll. I’ve even been able to reduce headcount and increase salaries to boost job satisfaction. Sage Intacct truly makes finance fun and helps our team look outstanding in the organization.”
~ Larry Chank, CFO, Hopi Tribe Economic Development Corporation
Enable your team to work remotely
In the National Council of Nonprofits survey, some nonprofit leaders cited the “allure of remote work” as one reason they encountered difficulty attracting and retaining staff. A 2022 survey of nonprofits found over 90% of nonprofits require employees to be in the office some days each week, but offer flexibility to work remotely other days. This hybrid work model is very popular; the survey also showed 80% of nonprofit employees prefer it over working full-time in the office.
To support a hybrid work arrangement, organizations need cloud nonprofit accounting software that offers the same user experience whether employees are in the office, in the field, or working from home.
Because you have less control over remote work environments, make sure your nonprofit accounting software offers excellent security capabilities, including:
- The option of requiring two-step verification during user sign on.
- Role-based security so employees only have access to data appropriate for their job.
- The ability to set up automated approval chains for certain transaction types.
- Audit trails to track every change, so you can easily identify what, when, and by whom.
- An application vendor providing world-class physical, network, application, system, and data-level security. Take a deeper look into how Sage Intacct security works.
Lower the stress associated with financial reporting
Nonprofit finance leaders cited manual, time-consuming reporting as the highest internal frustration for themselves and their teams. Financial reporting is incredibly important, but also a huge contributor of stress for accounting teams. The National Council of Nonprofits survey revealed “burnout” and “stress” were often cited as reasons nonprofits have difficulty keeping top employees.
With the wrong accounting system, monthly close cycles can take days or weeks, consuming everyone’s time and energy as staff struggles to gather data and manipulate spreadsheets. By contrast, modern cloud accounting systems offer automated reporting and provide transformational insight for mission-critical decision-making.
With Sage Intacct, nonprofits significantly reduce reporting time, saving an average of 40+ hours per monthly close and reducing staff frustration. Multi-currency and multi-location accounting capabilities automate multi-entity consolidations—boosting productivity by more than 50%. Stakeholders receive better insights through visual, customizable, role-based dashboards.
“All the technical accounting for multi-currency transactions, intercompany transactions, and global consolidations is now completely automated within the system. We went from managing them in a cumbersome spreadsheet to just a few clicks with Sage Intacct.”
~ Bonnie Forssell, CFO, Vitamin Angels
Make it easier for teams to collaborate
Many nonprofits have operations that extend beyond one office. Cloud accounting provides better visibility and real-time financial data for organizations that operate in multiple locations. This enables teams to work together effectively, even if they are on different sides of the globe.
Sage Intacct Collaborate is a tool that captures team communications about transactions and stores them within the accounting system. Using Collaborate, nonprofit finance teams and other staff members communicate directly inside Sage Intacct—eliminating the dreaded time-consuming searches through email chains looking for vital information.
“Our finance and program teams have never worked so collaboratively before, and this is even reflected in how we work with our auditors and other software vendors—everyone’s working toward the same goal.”
~ Marlena Wong, CFO, Koret Foundation
Retain the right staff to drive your mission forward
It is a challenging time for nonprofit staffing and retention. In order to guide your organization strategically, you need a highly engaged, experienced finance and accounting team. Sage Intacct can help you retain your mission-focused team by helping individuals maximize productivity and avoid burnout by reducing the administrative burden, automating routine tasks, and streamlining reporting. Becoming more productive and effective can lead to higher job satisfaction.
With Sage Intacct, staff can perform with equal efficiency in the office or remotely. Empowered with greater time savings and better collaboration tools, your existing team will be able to take on new challenges and keep their jobs fresh and exciting. Find out how other nonprofits are elevating their employee experience when you download the Benefits of Cloud-Based Nonprofit Accounting Software e-book.
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