Chief financial officers at nonprofit agencies say interruptions on the job is their No. 1 concern.
As CFOs continue to expand their roles beyond financial statement responsibilities and start to focus on operational strategy, those interruptions continue to grow.
Abila, a leading provider of software and services to nonprofits, associations, and government entities, launched the Nonprofit Finance & Accounting Study to explore key trends affecting nonprofit finance and accounting departments, as well as key challenges nonprofit finance professionals face on a daily basis.
The study found that nearly half of all respondents (49%) found the most common challenge was daily interruptions from other departments. Departments outside of finance currently consume 5.4 hours per week of a nonprofit finance leader’s time.
The only task that takes the same 5.4 hours for CFOs to complete, according to the study, is month-end close.
“Finance and accounting at a nonprofit organisation 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 organisations. At the same time, there is a concerted move to small, lean finance teams across organisations of all sizes,” McNichol said.
The study also found that even though CFOs hold senior-level positions, nearly all of them remain involved in day-to-day activities, with 79% of larger organisations and 83% of smaller organisations relying on small finance teams.
“Nonprofits already have very lean staff, and this can be particularly true in nonprofit finance,” James Lum, the CFO of nonprofit information services firm GuideStar, tells Business Insider. “If a nonprofit is lucky enough to have a CFO, that CFO is often unlucky enough to be the only financial staff person covering a range of other functions as well. Interruptions just make a tough juggling act tougher.”
CFOs are also actively involved in decision-making across the entire organisation with more than two-thirds (68%) of respondents saying they have significant or considerable influence across the entire nonprofit.
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