Abila Nonprofit Finance and Accounting Study Explores Key Trends and Challenges for Nonprofit Finance Professionals

Interruptions from other departments identified as biggest day-to-day challenge; move to small, lean finance teams is a key trend; little involvement with fundraising/development department

November 3, 2015 – AUSTIN, Texas – Abila, the leading provider of software and services to nonprofits, associations, and government entities, today announced findings from its Nonprofit Finance & Accounting Study – Trends and Challenges Facing Nonprofit Finance Professionals. The study explores key trends affecting nonprofit finance and accounting departments, as well as key challenges nonprofit finance professionals face daily. It also looks at the specific trends and challenges for three different generations (Millennials, Generation Xers, and Boomers) of nonprofit finance professionals.

“Finance and accounting at a nonprofit organization has many different layers of complexity and nuance not often found in the for-profit world,” said Erika McNichol, Abila’s director of product marketing and study co-author. “What we found is that many of the finance and accounting professionals at nonprofits face some unique challenges and are very involved across the board in their respective organizations. At the same time, there is a concerted move to small, lean finance teams across organizations of all sizes. In other words, there is significant expectation to do more with less without a decline in quality when it comes to reporting and managing multiple funding sources.”
Key Study Findings Include:

  • Interruptions are common: The number one most common challenge finance/accounting professionals say they face on a daily basis is interruption from other departments (nearly half of all respondents), followed by reporting challenges and training new employees.
  • Nobody is above the basics: While many of the respondents hold senior-level positions, nearly all of them continue to be involved in the day-to-day activities of the organization. This is reflective of a trend found in the data that nonprofits (both large and small) are moving to smaller, leaner finance teams.
  • Funding is (obviously) key: Organizationally, finance/accounting professionals identify long-term sustainability and finding new funding sources as the biggest challenges (this is true for both small and large organizations). Most organizations are looking to increase funding sources in the next three years.
  • Embracing the cloud: Larger organizations are moving to the cloud faster, and see greater value and benefit to cloud-based software. Overall, most of the respondents see the cloud as beneficial, with security being the biggest area of concern.
  • Finance/accounting professionals want to focus more on strategy: By and large, respondents spend much of their time focused on either running reports or preparing for monthly presentations (regardless of role, age, or organization size), and would like to spend more time on strategic and budget planning.
  • Involved across the organization: Overall, respondents say they are actively involved in decision making across the entire organization, not just within the finance department. Many play active roles in operations and human resources, as well. However, the department with which they are the second least involved is fundraising/development.

“There appears to be a missed opportunity or missed connection between the finance and fundraising departments,” continued McNichol. “Closer collaboration between the two departments will likely increase finance’s strategic involvement in the organization, and help develop a clearer vision of how, when, and where dollars are used to fulfill the mission.”

The full report can be downloaded at: www.abila.com/financestudy. The survey results will be shared on a live webinar November 18 at 1:00 pm CT. Register for the webinar here.

About the Study

Commissioned by Abila, Strop Insights explored questions with more than 350 nonprofit finance and accounting professionals in the United States ranging across three age segments – Millennials, Generation Xers, and Boomers – who work at organizations with annual revenue of $1million-$50million+. The online surveys took place between September 20 and September 30, 2015.

About Abila
Abila is the leading provider of software and services to nonprofits, associations, and governmental entities that help them improve decision making, execute with greater precision, increase engagement, and generate more revenue. With Abila solutions, association and nonprofit professionals can use data and personal insight to make better financial and strategic decisions, enhance member and donor engagement and value, operate more efficiently and effectively, and increase revenue to better activate their mission. Abila combines decades of industry insight with technology know-how to serve more than 8,000 customers across North America. For more information, please visit www.abila.com.

Media Contact:
Jenna Overbeck