What are some of the unique fiscal challenges that nonprofits face and how can nonprofit fund accounting software help with their organizational and management requirements?
Overcoming Challenges Fund Accounting Software Solves
Fillmore-Leroy Area Residents, Inc. (FLARE, Inc) is a full serviced community development agency that has been assisting residents of Buffalo and the Masten District since 1974. We spoke with Executive Director, Wendy H. Anderson, about some of the unique organizational and management challenges she faces and how FastFund Online has helped.
The following interview takes you through the problems that FLARE has overcome using fund accounting software for their nonprofit organization.
Q: Can you tell us more about the Fillmore Leroy area and the housing and community services that FLARE provides to the residents there?
FLARE provides housing assistance programs to the residents and homeowners in the Fillmore-Leroy area of the City of Buffalo. FLARE contracts with the city to provide an Emergency Loan Program and a Weatherization Program to those in need; both of which helps low-moderate income individuals make much needed repairs to their homes such as roof replacements and plumbing and electrical system replacements. We also provide services to children and youth – there is a daycare center on the premises; and senior citizens.
Q: How long have you been Executive Director and what drew you to this organization?
I have been the Executive Director of FLARE for 2 years. The idea of serving has always been with me and I have been fortunate enough to apply this principal in my professional career. If you know anything about Buffalo, NY, it is one of the poorest cities in the nation. It goes without saying that a large percentage of the people who live here are poor. Western New York also has one of the highest percentages of elderly in the United States. There is always work to be done to assist the less fortunate among us. And that is what I enjoy doing, so here I am.
Q: How many employees and volunteers work at FLARE? How many need access to your accounting information? What advice do you have for managing an organization during challenges such as staff turnover or with volunteers with varying levels of experience?
FLARE is a small nonprofit agency. There are a total of 5 employees, and anywhere from 1 – 10 volunteers at any given time. Only two staff need access to our accounting information; the bookkeeper and myself. My advice on managing an organization during challenges such as staff turnover is be prepared for Murphy’s Law. No matter how much you prepare or how well you interview perspective employees, people do move on, or worse yet, do not measure up to the job expectations. Take it with a grain of salt; in these difficult times, there is always someone who can use a job.
Q: FLARE is funded by a variety of sources including individual and corporate donors, foundation awards and federal, state & city agencies. What are the challenges involved with these different sources and how has FastFund Online helped your organization?
I am not an accountant, nor a bookkeeper. But I do know that when you are dealing with numerous funding sources, revenue cycles are different, reporting cycles are different and monitoring cycles are different. Admittedly, it can be confusing trying to keep everything organized and in order. Fastfund Online has helped us to do exactly that – keep everything in order. What I particularly like about Fastfund Online is the support they provide. The support team has been exceptional in providing the assistance whenever we have called for help, especially during our audit preparation.
Q: Can you describe the process of switching from your old accounting solution to FastFund Online? How did Araize help you and your staff with the transition?
Frankly, FLARE has switched to Fastfund Online before I came on board. However, I can speak to their availability and being accessible for questions and guidance. It has been exceptional and I like the fact that they have webinar training on various topics online that you can at your own pace.
Q: How frequently do you present information to your Board of Directors? How does FastFund Online help you to prepare and present the information that they require?
The Board of Directors requests financial information once a month at their monthly board meeting. It is relatively easy to go online and print out reports.
Q: As well as recording transactions and meeting Accounting requirements, how does the information FastFund Online provides help you to make strategic decisions for your organization?
Fastfund Online helps FLARE to keep track of its various grants or funding streams, plan annual budgets, and meet reporting and audit obligations.
Your Takeaway Tip
If your nonprofit organization is struggling to meet the fiscal demands and responsibilities of financial reporting and audits, it’s time to consider using a dedicated fund accounting solution. Working with software designed specifically for nonprofits can help your nonprofit meet these challenges head on.
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