Good Accounting Practices for Nonprofits
As an accountant, it’s important to be on the top of your financial game. Understanding healthy nonprofit accounting practices, the best nonprofit accounting software to use, the latest rules and regulations, and protecting your organization’s financial data is key
Have Internal Policies and Controls
Fraud is a real concern for nonprofit organizations. In fact, 40% of NPO professionals say they put “some or minor effort into helping prevent fraud”, according to Abila’s 2016 Nonprofit Finance Study.
Assign Different Financial Practices to Different People
Similar to the above, you want to protect your organization from any type of possible fraud. An easy way to do that is to assign different financial tasks to different people. Why do this?
Use Accounting Software Designed for Nonprofits
Nonprofits have unique accounting challenges. And the best way to solve those challenges is to use nonprofit accounting software. Nonprofit accounting software can streamline, simplify, and strengthen your budgeting, forecasting, HR management, grant management, and fundraising. The software can also provide internal controls over your financial data, helping you secure and protect your information.
Create an Annual Operating Budget
Every organization needs a budget, whether you’re a nonprofit or for-profit. Each year you should create a realistic operating budget that you can adhere to as much as possible.
The Future of Accounting: Will it Still Exist
With the imminent rise of artificial intelligence, a wide variety of professions will be at risk of becoming obsolete within the next 20 years. With this in mind, many business owners and number crunchers alike are asking themselves, “what is the future of accounting?”
The robots are coming
Let’s be honest, accountants have a tough job earning the career respect they deserve. Few children admit to wanting to be an accountant when they grow up, while firefighter, teacher and astronaut remain at the top of the list. Even lawyers, who get similar flak, have an easier ride than the humble accountant, who tends to be pigeonholed and stereotyped as, (can I say it?) boring!
The forest AND the trees
Another thing I’ve learned through running a business is that I’m really not a details person. If you’re a type N on the Myers-Briggs scale like me (25% of the population), you often miss the details in favour of observing patterns and seeing the bigger picture. I need to work closely with people who do details well. Finding people with complementary abilities is crucial to building a successful team.
Accounting firms need to evolve to survive
One thing we know for sure is that technology is changing the future of accounting in business. Cloud accounting packages like Xero and QBO have made accounting software finally accessible from anywhere on any device. But they also present it in a way business owners can actually understand! Running Sage on a dusty computer in the corner of the office is now, for most, a thing of the past.
The role of the accountant is about giving business owners the peace of mind that they’re not making a horrible mistake somewhere and ending up with an unexpectedly large tax bill, fines, or even a prison sentence. Having an outside third party (human) perspective on how the books are being run is such a valuable asset that I can’t imagine that need will ever go away, no matter how automated things become.
Accountant Top Needed Skills
A well-crafted resume skills section, highlighting your relevant skills for an accountant position, will help your resume beat the applicant tracking system (ATS), which is the first step to getting your application noticed. Use the accountant top skills and proficiencies below to help you effectively write your resume.
Accountant top skills & proficiencies:
Attention to detail
Reporting research results
Data entry management
Planning and organizing
Scheduling and monitoring
Problem analysis and problem-solving skills
Proficiency with Microsoft Office
Excel skills wannabe accountants need to know
Excel is an incredibly powerful tool for accountants, and it is a key skill that any budding accountant should try to become familiar with. If you’re a newly qualified accountant, an accountancy student or are a business owner who wants a better handle on their finances, here are some of our top Excel tips for accounting and finance professionals.
VLOOKUP and HLOOKUP
VLOOKUP and HLOOKUP are two of the most useful Excel functions for accountants. These functions let you search a table of data and give all the appropriate information for an individual set of data based on only one part of it.
Another important excel formula for accountants and finance professionals is HLOOKUP. Taken directly from the Office site, here’s what the HLOOKUP formula does
Paste options that could prevent errors
This is a useful excel skill that everyone needs to know! Have you ever hit ‘paste’ and been left with a sheet full of errors? Try Paste > Special instead! You’ll be able to transpose data, copy data validation and more with paste options. Click the drop-down menu next to the paste button to see what options are available, or paste as special when you right click.
Learn keyboard shortcuts
Keyboard shortcuts are essential for anyone who uses Excel regularly. They improve efficiency by turning multiple-click processes into one easy button press (including the one above).
Big ambitions – starting your own practice
It may be just a dream when you are studying, but once you qualify you may seriously consider setting up on your own. Iwona Tokc-Wilde looks at what this entails
Despite the global economic turmoil of the last few years, the number of business start-ups has been rising steadily around the world, with some countries reporting record figures.
As business confidence around the world is now growing, both trends – the rise in business start-ups and the corresponding need for small accountancy and bookkeeping firms – are likely to continue, so this is a big opportunity for those nearing qualification.
Compliance is key
First of all, you must comply with all the rules and regulations required for opening and running an accountancy practice, including being fully licensed to take on this sort of work.
ACCA’s Global Practising Regulations 2003 require any member who is a principal in an accountancy practice to hold an ACCA practising certificate (students are not permitted to start and run a public practice), even if the member holds a local licence for the region in which they practise. ACCA’s definition of public practice work extends beyond audit and other regulated work, to incorporate all types of work generally associated with an accountancy practice, but excluding bookkeeping services.