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Why You’re Not Finding the Accounting Candidate Your Nonprofit Desperately Needs

Update: Since we published this article last September, the Bureau of Labor Statistics shows national unemployment rates continuing to drop.

The difficulty in finding qualified accounting talent is that there is almost full employment.

According to a January 2018 article from Robert Half, “The jobless rate for accountants, at 1.8 percent, has come down steadily from 4.2 percent in 2011, the year the BLS adopted new job classifications.”

This talent drought presents many problems for nonprofits trying to build an internal accounting department. The most talented and promising candidates have many more choices and can demand higher salaries. They will also likely go somewhere where there is an well-defined career path: that is, an organization with an established accounting department where they can be promoted to Senior Accountant, Controller, Financial Analyst, or CFO.

In light of this, the best option for a nonprofit committed to being good stewards of their funds, is to outsource their accounting.

Here is the original article published September 26, 2017:

As an Executive Director or CEO of a Nonprofit, at some point, you will make the decision that the time has come to hire an accounting person.

An efficient and effective accounting and finance function is critical to the success of your mission. It’s impossible to grow (expanding programs and outreach) without an experienced, professional hand on the helm of accounting and financial reporting.

It’s a harsh truth: If your accounting is not being handled professionally (by trained experts who understand accounting, nonprofits, and technology), the organization is at risk and constituents’ interests are not being optimally served.

How long has accounting been a problem?

Generally speaking, the longer you have gone without an experienced accountant managing your books, the bigger the mess. The longer you continue to operate without expert attention to your financials and accounting processes, the more at-risk your organization becomes.

Does your ideal candidate even exist?

When we look at some of job descriptions nonprofits post on Indeed and other job boards, we’re amazed. There are so many hybrid jobs – for example a combination of two drastically different specialties, accounting and human resources.

It’s challenging enough to find a candidate with the right accounting credentials and experience. Adding responsibilities from a completely different discipline makes your ideal candidate less likely to find and prolongs your search.

While you need an accountant, wouldn’t you really rather hire a grant writer, fundraiser, social worker, nurse, researcher?

We get it. It’s always more energizing to hire a position that will bolster your core competencies and further your mission. However, there’s no denying that the most repeated buzzwords in the sector are transparency and accountability. The blunt truth is there is no transparency or accountability without pristine financials.

Insisting on in-house accounting when better options exist

“So, we hire an accountant. How difficult can it be?”

Very difficult as a matter of fact. Let’s look at the numbers. Right now, the national unemployment rate is 4.3% in the United States. That number is for all jobs. The more skill or expertise the position requires, the more difficult it will be to fill the position.

Finding an accountant is even more challenging. US News and World Report reports that the unemployment rate for accountants is 2.5% – which explains the enormous competition.

Take that factor and combine it with the fact that, for whatever reason, nonprofits see a higher degree of employee churn than do commercial businesses – and you can see why it’s increasingly difficult to get the help you need.

Are you in denial about the very real risks of chaotic financials?

If you don’t have a clear grasp on your financials, it’s impossible to know that the organization is making the best use of existing funding.

Perhaps more problematic: it’s difficult to find new sources of funding without proper reporting.

And, while it may be uncomfortable to talk about, authentic stewardship can’t exist in a state of financial chaos.

Effective nonprofit leaders are outsourcing the accounting of the organization

Outsourcing accounting is the fastest growing best practice of the 21st Century. It solves the all of the problems we’ve noted above and delivers significant benefits.

Savvy Nonprofit Executive Directors are sticking to their core competency (service delivery, education, arts, etc.) and outsourcing business processes wherever they can.

For all but the largest nonprofits, maintaining an accounting staff is increasingly difficult. It’s hard to compete with the salaries being offered by large nonprofits, commercial business and large accounting firms.

With Qbix Accounting Solutions you enjoy a team of highly experienced nonprofit accounting experts. We employ best practices, implement procedures and workflows, and ensure that accounting duties are performed accurately and on time. You’ll always have the most current reporting with which to make operational decisions, seek new funding, and share with the board and other stakeholders.

Why not schedule a free consultation to see how to solve your accounting problems once and for all?

Otherwise, we invite you to download the eBook ‘Confessions Nonprofit Executive Directors’ which shares the outsourcing experience of other nonprofit leaders.

CL Davidson Macon, GA