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The Classic Nonprofit Challenge: Too Much Information & Too Many Classes

Nov 16, 2021 11:43:00 AM Kathy Dise Nonprofit

nonprofit meetingWe often help nonprofits simplify their bookkeeping records that are overwhelming because the financial statements have too much detail. Often, more is NOT better. Too much information can be confusing and doesn’t paint a clean picture of how the organization is doing.

Would you prefer to read a three-page P&L or a quick one-pager? We typically try to explain to our nonprofit clients that a concise, one-page statement for the annual report is one the most important things you can give your donors, board or CPA. It should cover topics such as viability determination, financial stability, resiliency & flexibility, new programs and support from your finance committee.

Here are some ways nonprofits can simplify their bookkeeping:

  1. Minimize the length of the P&L by reducing the number of accounts if the data can be obtained using another feature. For example, use “Special Events” as a subclass of “Fundraising” and then a separate account is not necessary.
  2. Minimize Classes: Keep classes to a few, broad categories, such as: Grants, Programs, Fundraising, Scholarships, and Administrative. You can get more granular using subclasses and for any restricted, or unique uses of the funds.
  3. Use Items in QuickBooks Desktop and use products/services in QuickBooks Online. Each item is recognized in a specific account in the “chart of accounts.”
  4. When running a detailed report, choose the collapse feature to minimize details.
  5. Consider enhancing annual reports using the “Company Snapshot” to generate visuals like graphs and charts, making the numbers more digestible for the reader.

Remember, too much information is actually not helpful in reporting your nonprofit’s financial story. Providing a quick snapshot keeps your advisors and donors focused on the most important performance results of your nonprofit. If you need help with your bookkeeping, BudgetEase has professionals who specialize in bookkeeping for nonprofits.  We can help make QuickBooks work for you!

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Kathy Dise

Written by Kathy Dise

Kathy has over 30 years experience helping small businesses succeed. As a commercial lender, commercialization expert and now as a QuickBooks diamond level advisor, Kathy understands the challenges small business owners face. Her experience helps business owners quickly accomplish their financial goals. As the owner of BudgetEase, Kathy works with clients to develop a plan to efficiently process 1,000s of small transactions so owners can make informed decisions. She lives in Shaker Heights, OH with her husband Ralph and enjoys golf, curling and walking in Cleveland’s fabulous Metro Parks.