Energized Accounting is about getting the most out of your accounting system. We have seen people struggle to get meaningful reporting from older, inflexible accounting systems, particularly when they had accounting structures created when the company was much smaller. We have seen newer systems that didn’t take advantage of time saving or report writing features. A good accounting system needs to:
- Produce understandable reports
- Quickly and reliably
- With no manual intervention, and
- That lead to good decision making
- Handle daily transactions
- Automated as much as possible, and
- As accurately as possible
More Than Technology
An Energized Accounting system includes people, processes and software, so we focus on more than the technology. We help you determine your needs, organize the department, and create practical procedures and checklists. We also work with you to design the reporting you need, then work backwards to build an accounting structure that takes into account.
- Management reports
- Government requirements
- Grant / Banking covenants
- Sales / Fundraising needs, and
- Other stakeholder needs
When we can, we build operational statistics into the reporting, e.g. number of units, donations, services provided, people attending, etc. as well as the dollar amounts, to help people understand the results and plan for the future.
Energized Accounting Inspiration
A book that inspired me is Lean Startup by Eric Ries. It’s not about charities or nonprofit, just the opposite, but Eric does occasionally allude to the charitable sector. I want to take that one step (actually ten or more steps!) further by advocating for Data Driven Decisions in nonprofit programming. We live by our anecdotes of the remarkable transformations we have achieved in people’s lives, the local community, or international aid, but we don’t tend to measure our successes on a daily basis to the point where we can make ongoing improvements in our work.
There are all kinds of challenges in our way: budget constraints, a lack of systems expertise, the unwillingness of funders to help with anything that appears administrative, etc. etc., not to mention the inherent difficulties in actually measuring the work we do. How do you assign a number to a personal transformation as a homeless person moves from the fringes of society to independent living? But however qualitative or subjective the measurements are, we need to start down this road. As researchers study, as government agencies collect statistics, as we do our daily work, we need to find ways to put this data to work. This initiative isn’t new. A lot of work has already been done. Part of the challenge is spreading the word of what’s possible using existing available tools.
As the Treasurer of a large national charity said to me, “Just because it’s difficult doesn’t mean it shouldn’t be done.”