Easy accounting software frees up your volunteers’ handsStuart Taverner
Volunteers are the lifeblood of any not-for-profit organisation and without them things just wouldn’t happen. But unfortunately you probably face a revolving door of new committees and treasurers most years; or maybe the people putting their hand up don’t have the skills you need to keep the organisation’s finances up to date, especially when using systems that require the user to understand accounting.
Now, that is not to criticise volunteers in any way! Most are hardworking, community minded people who are doing their bit and want the best for their group. But sometimes in this fast-paced world, it is hard to find volunteers who will commit long-term or those who have the experience you are looking for.
This means you need a consistent, simple, easy to use bookkeeping system to make reporting your financial outcomes fool proof. It needs to be something that is easy enough for anyone to use and understand, and that facilitates the smooth running and record keeping of your organisation.
I was recently speaking with one of our clients, Mandy, a small business owner who also volunteers at a not for profit organisation. Upon the organisation’s treasurer leaving, Mandy found herself taking over that position. Mandy said that she only landed the role because the organisation knew she had experience in using accounting software, which she developed through using Cashflow Manager to do the books for her own small business. This is not an uncommon story. In fact, in many volunteer based organisations those who have any kind of bookkeeping experience are called upon to take over the role of treasurer. But what if Mandy needs to move on, and there are no other volunteers with any kind of bookkeeping experience?
As you can see there are a number of challenges faced by not for profit organisations when thinking about how to manage their finances. Some of these questions include:
- How do we attract people to take the job of treasurer?
- What kinds of reports are required by the organisation, and often more importantly, by the governing body or association?
- If a new treasurer takes over, is the bookkeeping system being used simple and transferable?
- If there are wages to be paid, is there a simple way to organise the payroll?
- What is double entry accounting? Do we need to use such a complex system, or is there a simple way to get the same results without having to train someone up?
- The solution must be economical to buy and have low ongoing costs.
As a not for profit organisation, it is important that the accounting software you choose is able to accurately handle contributions from donors, grants, investments, fundraising, manage outgoing costs and wages, and also produce reports easily. Furthermore, you probably don’t have the spare cash to spend on expensive software. So to meet these challenges, the program you choose must be easy to implement quickly and cheaply, be simple and straightforward and contribute to your organisation’s efficiency.
Using a flexible bookkeeping and accounting system like Cashflow Manager for your volunteer organisation, that’s easy enough to entice your treasurer to use, will encourage your organisation to get their bookkeeping done right. At last your treasurer doesn’t need to be an accountant.