Top Challenges for Nonprofit Finance Professionals


Nonprofit finance professionals are stretched thin. Two separate studies, by Accufund and Abila, found that the the majority of nonprofits surveyed suggest they are understaffed and overworked. Highlights from both studies indicated nonprofits either don't have access or aren't properly leveraging available technology to facilitate their finance departments. If you're a nonprofit professional, here are the key takeaways from these surveys that you need to know:

Small Departments

  • 95% of nonprofits reported having finance departments consisting of one to five people
  • Small staff means senior-level positions still do most day-to-day accounting functions of the department
  • Other departments within the nonprofit rely on the finance department on a daily basis, taking them away from more strategic work

Funding Challenges

  • Surprisingly, many nonprofit finance departments say they are only minimally involved with a development/fundraising department
  • Collaboration between finance and development departments could be key to long-term sustainability
  • Finance departments must constantly identify and work to increase funding sources

Strategic Planning

  • Due to the unique financial requirements of nonprofits, a finance department often spends most of their time running reports and presenting to the Executive Director and Board of Directors
  • Finance departments wish to spend more time on strategic budgeting and planning

Better Technology

  • 73% of finance departments don't have reporting automation and spend up to 5 hours a week manipulating data
  • 55% of nonprofit finance departments cannot view graphical analytics
  • Large organizations are quickly moving data to the cloud; smaller nonprofits have been slower to adapt
  • Cloud accounting has given greater peace of mind to nonprofit finance departments, particularly with regard to oversight of volunteers

For more information, click to view the full Abila and AccuFund studies.

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