First Thoughts

Arts Finance. Building stronger nonprofits.

Time to tweak the COA?

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June 30 is a common enough date for organizations to have rolled over into the next fiscal year, and that’s always a good time to reevaluate the effectiveness of your Chart of Accounts.

As a fiscal year draws to a close, department heads and program managers tend to become very interested in how their activities have done, relative to their budget. When posed with questions of this nature, are you able to generate reports reflecting subsets of activity, nicely packaged and sorted by fund, department, account, subaccount, project and grant?

Very few orgs need to have that many breakouts in a single report, but if you had to, could you? Or would you need to do a little ‘Spreadsheet Diving’ to come up with the right set of information?

Charts of Accounts, and their fundamental design, often represent the weakest link in the reporting process. It’s an old story. The ease with which you can extract meaningful information from your accounting app has a direct relationship with the manner in which the information has been captured.

If the demands on your organization’s output is not supported by the designs governing the input, the valuable resources on which you depend could be rendered less than effective.

There is no ‘one size fits all’ answer to this situation, Each org’s circumstances and reporting demands are their own. However, there is a consistency of process in the solution. That process begins with simply and clearly defining your organization’s reporting needs, and then structuring your Chart of Accounts in an appropriate manner.

As always, give a call or drop me a note if you have questions.

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