As the world’s largest privately funded nonprofit organization, the United Way relies on its 1,800 regional chapters spanning 41 countries to manage their own local fundraising and grant giving budgets. Fund managers need to ensure that they issue the promised amount of dollars to agencies—and on time—to accommodate the tricky grant cycle. While the United Way also fulfills its mission through volunteering and public policy advocacy, in this article, we focus on financial giving efforts.
Why dimensional accounting makes sense for United Way chapters
To understand this organization’s fund accounting needs, here’s an overview of its structure. The United Way supports individuals in three categories—education, income, and health. Local advisory committees identify the most crucial areas of need in their communities. The chapter then creates funds under these core pillars to fund programs that support social service goals.
One county’s chapter has created these six health-related funds: Physical Health, Mental Health, Family Violence Prevention, Obesity Prevention, Preventative Health Care, and Substance Abuse Treatment. Grant money from each fund is allocated across multiple agencies and initiatives. The Family Violence Prevention fund, for example, is divided across 14 programs.
Setting up dimensions for fund accounting in Intacct
Accountability to so many important organizations—and regulatory entities—may sound overwhelming, but Intacct makes fund accounting easy. Nonprofits like United Way’s regional chapters often use net asset accounting methods to track donations at the fund level and set up necessary restriction designations, and Intacct’s dimensions make this even simpler. Dimensions also provide the flexibility to define how to track net assets and easily comply with reporting regulations.
Compliance—Nonprofits can track each transaction with restriction designations that comply with both current and upcoming Financial Accounting Standards Board reporting requirements for not-for-profits. This includes additional annual financial statements reporting requirements for fiscal years beginning after December 15, 2017 (Update-14, topic 958).
Trial balance reporting—An unlimited number of funds can be designated as entities, allowing for fully balanced trial balance reports. The same functionality also lets users automatically generate inter-entity or inter-fund balancing entries. This means easy tracking of due-to and due-from balances as they are transferred between funds.
Fund-level tracking—An organization that does not require fully balanced trial balance reports at the fund level can set up funds with location as the dimension. This still allows tracking transactions at that fund level but without the inter-fund due-to and due-from balances.
What about donor software integration?
Many organizations have to manually enter accounting entries related to donations and payouts. This is not necessary, though, for those using Salesforce.com with Intacct. Since the software is fully integrated, once donations are entered in Salesforce.com the data can be directly passed to Intacct. This means full financial reporting visibility, too. Users can view revenue in real-time and learn about liabilities that arise from donations as they occur—not months later.
Intacct’s Spend Management allows users to monitor purchases against both budgeted and committed expenses all within the system. This is useful for tracking committed expenses related to a project or campaign. Even better—no more spreadsheets needed.
Budgeting at the General Ledger account and dimension levels is one way to stay within budget. Administrators can set up alerts when a user enters purchase transactions that will exceed the budgeted and committed expenses for that account and dimension. They can even take it a step further and prevent these entries altogether.
Nonprofit management with Intacct
Managing nonprofit campaigns, donations, and fund distribution can be a tedious, manual process without the right software. Intacct can help correctly allocate funds, pay grantees on time, and track donations in real-time. Its accurate and detailed reporting enables transparency to donors as well as regulatory compliance.
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