Monthly Archives

March 2017

Prioritizing Accounting for Nonprofits

By | Accounting, MIP Fund Accounting, Nonprofit | No Comments

With new laws and regulations passing each day, establishing priorities in an ever-changing world of accounting for nonprofits can be difficult. Keeping track of these changes, implementing new ideas, and managing daily tasks can all seem overwhelming. Due to increasingly demanding workloads of nonprofit staff, it’s easy to feel frustrated if you do not establish your priorities.

Making mindful choices can help you feel more in control of your work. Setting daily, weekly, and monthly priorities for yourself and your team can make accounting for nonprofits much easier and less stressful.

Accounting for Nonprofits: Three Tips to Ease Your Stress


  1. Establish your purpose: What is your group’s purpose or mission? When you clearly identify your organization’s vision and mission, you will find it easier to prioritize the essentials. Once you know your mission, all other activities can be organized in order of priority to support your mission. If something doesn’t actively support the organization’s mission or vision, it can be placed lower on the task list.


  1. Diversify income streams: Avoid relying upon a sole source of funding. If anything happens to that source, you’ll end up scrambling to find new income, which adds to your stress level. Grants end; donors can take their money elsewhere .Diversification of your income stream is as important as diversifying your investments. Diversification spreads out the potential risk if one stream dries up.


  1. Measure results: Measure the results of your work. Use both quantifiable means and quantitative means, such as case studies and success stories. Run data reports from your accounting and fund systems so that you can monitor campaign successes and progress towards goals. Learn how to read and use data derived from your systems to better manage your accounting.


Ask Questions to Set Goals


There are many questions you can ask to help prioritize around your organization’s mission. Train your team to ask these questions before taking on another project.

  • Are we doing this because we’ve always done it? It’s easy to get into a rut and continue activities simply because it’s what you’ve always done. Examine the success of each endeavor and don’t be afraid to shift priorities if something no longer works.


  • Are we clinging to “pet” projects?Just because something is a favorite of the director or the board, doesn’t mean it’s a good idea. It may take time to guide them away from their ‘pet’ projects, but if the data shows they aren’t profitable or useful, nor do they support the mission of the organization, then it’s time to rethink them.


  • Does this serve allconstituents? Every activity undertaken by your nonprofit must serve its constituents and fulfill your charter. It’s easy to let good ideas pull you in different directions, but in the end, this does not serve your best interests, nor the interests of your constituents. Always ask who the activity will serve and choose those that serve your constituents the best.


Accounting for nonprofits doesn’t have to be stressful. With the right focus, you can create clarity of purpose and peace of mind.

Welter Consulting offers Abila MIP Fund Accounting software to help nonprofits manage their accounting needs. Abila MIP Fund Accounting enables you to report and track the most important information for your board, your supervisors, and others eager to see how your nonprofit’s resources are being used. It’s a great MIP fund accounting software for many nonprofits.

At Welter Consulting we are committed to finding you the most affordable technology, the most powerful solution, and providing expert support. We are dedicated to assist you in achieving your mission by leveraging technology and superior reporting. We are passionate professionals who choose to work in the nonprofit sector for the same reason you do – helping others. Click here to see a complete listing of upcoming training and webinars, including the Free NonProfit Enrichment Series.

Switching from On-Premise to Cloud Solutions: The Experts Weigh In

By | Abila, Accounting, Data, HR, MIP Fund Accounting, Nonprofit | No Comments

By now you’ve probably read quite a bit about the benefits of switching from on-premises to cloud-based solutions. Forrester research reports that 50% of companies plan to increase their cloud spending in the next 12 months. About 92% have prioritized cloud computing as a new initiative in the next 18 months. Cloud computing isn’t the concept of the future; the future is here, and most companies will run at least one or more cloud-based software programs within the next year

As you consider switching all your software to the cloud, you may have questions. What do you need to know to make the transition? What benefits will your organization obtain from the switch? Is the cloud a better solution?

Five Big Benefits of Cloud-Based Systems

Consider the following  five benefits of cloud-based systems and how they may impact your organization.

  1. Obtain a clear picture of financial information: Quickly view the entire financial picture for your nonprofit organization. Cash flow, membership dues, sales from products, event/conference income, and much more can be reviewed easily and quickly. Information from multiple departments feeds into one system to provide a comprehensive big-picture view of the financials for your organization.
  2. Decreased reliance on spreadsheets: Many nonprofits still use spreadsheet-based accounting. Spreadsheets offer a simple method for running basic accounting information but lack the sophistication of combining information into one easily accessible location. Spreadsheets tend to be finicky, with formulas and formatting that can be tricky to use. And one small data entry error on a spreadsheet can lead to multiple problems later. Cloud computing reduces these chances. Reports can be run directly from cloud-based systems without fussing about formatting.
  3. Enhanced visibility: Cloud-based systems enhance and increase visibility of data across all parts of the organization. Everyone shares their information in a cloud-based system, with access available to all departments and team members.
  4. One data source: On-premises software can lead to multiple versions of the same document. Chasing after the latest version and reconciling changes can take a great deal of time. Cloud systems always provide the latest reports and information.
  5. Integrate office processes: Cloud systems integrate front and back-office operations into one system. You’ll no longer need to maintain separate systems for both.

On-premises solutions have many drawbacks. Not only do they lack integration and visibility, but they need updates. Updates must be performed individually on each piece of equipment. Cloud solutions update automatically so that the latest version is always running.

The Main Difference Between On-Premise and Cloud Solutions: ROI

Lastly, the biggest difference between cloud-based and on-premise solutions is the ROI.  With cloud solutions, efficiency increases immediately after adopting the cloud. The system gains in value with a positive ROI as it saves time and money elsewhere in the organization.

Not so with on-premise systems. Such systems begin losing ROI from the moment they’re installed. With constant updates and upgrades, purchases of special hardware and equipment to run them, and salaries for people to maintain them, these systems increase in cost and decrease in ROI.

Clearly, the winner is the cloud. With so many organizations adopting cloud-based solutions and more nonprofit software offered via the cloud, it’s time to make the leap to the cloud.

Welter Consulting

Welter Consulting bridges people and technology together for effective solutions for nonprofit organizations. We offer software and services that can help you improve and grow your accounting practice. Please contact Welter Consulting at 206-605-3113 for more information.

Employee Policies Your Nonprofit Can’t Live Without

By | Accounting, CPA, HR, Nonprofit | No Comments

Every nonprofit should have an employee handbook. An employee handbook provides objective guidelines for many areas governing the conduct of employees and the smooth operations of the organization. Even if the organization has just a handful of employees, an employee handbook is necessary.

But it’s not enough to draft a handbook and leave it at that. Employee policies must be shared with your team. Reminders are often necessary. And, like it or not, reinforcement is critical. Without reinforcement, employee policies are meaningless.

10 Items to Include in Your Employee Handbook

The SBA recommends including the following topics in an employee handbook:

  1. Disclaimers: Disclaimers generally appear at the beginning of the handbook and define the basic terms of the employee- employer relationship. It includes a statement that the handbook may be updated and changed at any time. It also defines what is called an ‘at will’ employee relationship, meaning that the organization may, at its discretion, terminate employment at will.
  2. Non-disclosure and conflict of interest statements: These protect the organization against employees sharing confidential information with external parties or competitors.
  3. Anti-discrimination policies: Anti-discrimination policies make it clear that you intend to comply with the Americans with Disabilities Act. These policies set forth the organization’s commitment to equality for all regardless of disability.
  4. Compensation: Salary, salary reviews, overtime hours, and other compensation should be clearly outlined in the compensation portion of the handbook.
  5. Gift policies: If your organization does not allow employees to receive gifts from members or donors, include this information as well.
  6. Work schedules: Office hours, days that the office is closed for holidays, and other information pertinent to work schedules can be included too.
  7. Vacation and sick time: List the amount of vacation and sick time available to employees. Include information on how additional time accrues, if any, and how employees should call in sick or request paid leave.
  8. Health and safety: Employees should know how to report health and safety violations and problems. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration provides more information on compliance with relevant health and safety laws.

In addition to what the SBA recommends, there are some additional policies that you may wish to add:

  1. Drug and alcohol policies: Drug and alcohol screening may be part of your workplace. You should also state clearly your organization’s no-tolerance policy for alcohol or drug use on the job and include information on how to report violations. Particularly considering I-502, which legalizes recreational use of marijuana in Washington State, it is crucial that you clearly define expectations with respect to drug/alcohol use on the job. To enforce any drug policy, you should also identify what types of testing will be conducted: 1) pre-employment; 2) reasonable suspicion; 3) post-accident; or 4) random.
  2. Anti-harassment policy: Define what constitutes unlawful harassment and discrimination, and identify all protected categories under federal, state and local law. Identify the person to whom such complaints should be brought and how they will be investigated. Make sure to specify that retaliation will not be tolerated.

Many organizations create an employee handbook that lacks some important policies. Be sure that your nonprofit includes drug and alcohol policies, anti-harassment policies, anti-discrimination information, and the all-important disclaimer. This information both complies with the law and is vital for safeguarding your nonprofit and employees.

An employee handbook may not seem all that important if you have just a few employees, but it’s just as important with two employees as it is with 200. Be sure to update your employee handbook as necessary, share it with your employees, and use it as a valuable resource to guide employment practices at your nonprofit.

Welter Consulting

Welter Consulting bridges people and technology together for effective solutions for nonprofit organizations. We offer software and services that can help you improve and grow your accounting practice. Please contact Welter Consulting at 206-605-3113 for more information.

Cross-Training: It’s Vital to Your Nonprofit’s Success

By | Accounting, Audit, HR, Nonprofit | No Comments

Most nonprofit organizations take great care to safeguard vital databases. An emergency plan guides your team through major emergencies. But what would happen today if one of your team had a sudden emergency and had to take a month off from work? Accidents, sickness, and death are a part of life. No matter how you plan for a contingency, it can be difficult to fill someone’s role if others aren’t fully aware of what they do.

That’s where a cross-training plan comes into the picture. For-profit organizations have long insisted upon cross-training employees. This means that every employee has another employee fully briefed and trained in their job duties and responsibilities. There are many reasons why cross-training is important, and many benefits to both your employees and your nonprofit organization.

Benefits of Cross-Training

There are many reasons why cross-training is important to your organization.

  • Long-term absences: Health emergencies, pregnancy and parental leave, family emergencies, and other unforeseen circumstances may necessitate a key employee’s absence for weeks or months at a time. During this time, you’ll need coverage for their position. While you could certainly hire a temp, this is an expensive and ineffective solution. A temp still needs to be trained on the person’s tasks and responsibilities. Cross-training ensures that someone on the team knows exactly what needs to get done and when. Even if you do decide to hire a temp to cover the position long-term, a cross-trained staff member can in turn train the temp and the work can move forward without delay.
  • Busy periods: Certain months may be busier than others, and during those months, it’s helpful to have someone cross-trained to step in and assist. Membership dues may all be due in December or January, for example, and it’s helpful for the accounting department to have someone trained to enter the information and update the membership directory. Other departments may also experience similar cycles of ebb and flow to their work and can trade off staff as needed.
  • Continuity: Donors, members, and others trust an organization which demonstrates consistency and continuity. With cross-training, the work continues unabated. The organization demonstrates a commitment to service and support for their members, which goes a long way towards building trust.

Benefits to Employees

Employees benefit from cross-training too. Learning new skills adds interest to their day as well as valuable knowledge they can use to further their careers. Training for a supervisor’s position helps employees acquire the skills needed to step up in the organization. Lateral skills training, or training in skills related to an employee’s current position in the organization, can still broaden and expand the skills someone uses in their daily job.

When Cross-Training Isn’t Appropriate

There are some occasions when cross-training isn’t appropriate. Sensitive data and information, such as human resources materials, should be kept within the HR department, so cross-train only HR personnel for positions within the department.

Some employees aren’t interested in cross-training opportunities. Try not to force people to be trained for another job if they’re not interested in it. Those who succeed in cross-training activities are people who are highly motivated to learn, grow, and expand their horizons. These are people who want to remain with your organization and grow their careers in the nonprofit sector.

Cross-training has been used for many years in the for-profit sector to ensure continuity of work and productivity. Borrowing this idea from the for-profit arena and applying it to the nonprofit world makes good business sense.

Welter Consulting bridges people and technology together for effective solutions for nonprofit organizations. We offer software and services that can help you improve and grow your accounting practice. Please contact Welter Consulting at 206-605-3113 for more information.