How Overburdened Bookkeepers Can Hurt Your Business
Nonprofits employ some of the most passionate people out there--they’re hardworking, devoted, and often utterly enamored with the mission they serve. For CEOs, this seems like the dream--employees who believe in their cause are typically better for business, right?
While this is true in theory, employees with too many responsibilities often struggle to keep everything straightened out, which can cost your nonprofit money. Nowhere is this more true than in nonprofit bookkeeping services.
In small organizations, accounting tasks are often given to people who have an inadequate amount of experience in bookkeeping. They may have been chosen only because they still keep a hard copy checkbook instead of relying on online banking. While these people mean well, they’re likely to make mistakes that can hurt your business.
Commonly, bookkeepers who lack formal training or experience will fail to divide expenses according to the category in which they fall (and according to standard accounting practices). They’ll let books go to the end of the year without being reconciled, which can lead to mistakes that are difficult to correct later on. They’re certainly doing their best, but they just don’t have the time and expertise that an outsourced accounting service can offer.
Lack of follow up
For the novice fill-in bookkeeper, it can seem obvious that sales or other money into a business should solve the problem of paying the bills. Too often, nonprofits forget that promised money isn’t the same as real money. If people aren’t actually sending in checks, your nonprofit may be short on cash.
An employee with accounting responsibilities tacked onto a job they otherwise excel at may not have the time, energy, or know-how to actually follow up with people who have forgotten or chosen not to send in the money they promised. An experienced nonprofit bookkeeping service can take care of the dirty work for your organization, ultimately saving you money.
The devil is in the details
There is a reason that accountants undergo years of training and testing before they enter the field--they’re experts in their field, and that is no small task. As such, there are a lot of things that only they really know, and outsourced accountants are great at sharing the little tips and tricks of the trade that will save your business money.
A fill-in accountant may record everything as an immediate expense, while an experienced bookkeeper knows that it better serves your nonprofit when recorded as an asset, which can depreciate. An experienced accountant will know that even small dollar amounts (that don’t need to be officially reported) add up over time, creating a significant deficit if forgotten about.
The bottom line
If you’re running a nonprofit, you know that your employees would do almost anything to serve your mission. They happily wear many hats, as do you--but for your financials, their sanity (and your own) explore the possibility of outsourced nonprofit accounting.