4 Best Practices for Setting Your Accounting Team Up for Success Next Year

It’s that time of year again—you’ve finally made it through your fiscal year-end, closed all your books easily, and had a smooth end-of-year audit. After successfully navigating your nonprofit through managing its finances for another year, you’re ready for a break.

But the work isn’t over yet.

As fiscal years flip, many nonprofits and their accounting teams find themselves back at square one. Having made it through another year-end, accounting teams now have to shift their focus back to the starting line as they work towards managing a new year. After getting everything closed and finalized, this may seem like a daunting task, though it doesn’t have to be. Here are four best practices to help you and your team set up for a new year, preparing you for another year of financial success.

Do Your Research

The life of a nonprofit isn’t a simple one, and neither is that of a nonprofit accounting team. Both are fast-paced environments with non-stop action. In a nonprofit, time is just as valuable a commodity as money. You try to stay on top of what’s happening in your industry, while also entering invoices, managing the budget, and generating reports, among other tasks. But accounting and tax laws are constantly changing. Making sure you’ve done your research and are up to date on the newest laws and forms at the top of the year will help save a headache at crunch time. You’ll already be prepared as the year unfolds.

Budget is King

The beginning of the year typically comes with more questions than answers, especially when it comes to knowing what your expenditures for the year will look like. Ensuring you’ve set up a way to effectively create and manage your budget will be key in beginning-of-year preparations, while also helping to nip any financial issues in the bud from the start. For some tips on making this easier, check out our tips on simplifying your budgeting process, including how to use budget templates and scenarios.

Drive Accurate Data

This one is tricky because you’ll have to work across departments, but it’s perhaps one of the most important practices on this list. Show your departments the value of having on-time, complete, and accurate data—better budgeting and forecasting for their programs, for example. And then get a commitment from them to provide on-time, complete, and accurate data to you on a regular basis.

By making sure your team has all the expenses from marketing’s last direct mail campaign, or the event team’s numbers from the annual golf tournament, for example, your accounting team can ensure reports are accurate. Balance sheets and income statements show correct and up-to-date information at board meetings. You can create more accurate forecasts for your financial future, and your team can reconcile more expediently. Not to mention the time savings from not having to chase down numbers. Committing to your data will allow the accounting team to commit to your future.

Let Your Accounting System Work for You

Accounting technology is constantly evolving, and there are new updates and upgrades released every day to help simplify the work for the people behind the screen. Commit yourself and your team to a software that streamlines your most import processes— maybe this is your team’s expense management, reporting, or payables processes—to both take away stress and allow you to continue your focus on your organization’s mission. By finding the best software for your team, and allowing it to work for you, your team is yet another step closer to success.

Make this Your Most Streamlined Year Yet

The beginning of a new year doesn’t have to be a scary one, and with these practices in your back pocket, you and your team are in the driver’s seat on the road to success. With the right research, processes, and templates in place, your team will be empowered to do their jobs more effectively. Your focus on their success is a commitment to your organization’s mission, and using these best practices will help that mission shine.

If you are ready for a fund accounting solution that can help you reach your goals next year, join us for our next Blackbaud Financial Edge NXT product tour. You will see how the system can simplify your fund accounting and make better data-driven decisions.