How Six Nonprofit Finance Leaders are Driving Strategy with Data-Driven Decision Making
Cloud software has enabled more nonprofit organizations to take advantage of advanced technologies without the expense of new infrastructure or additional IT staff. That also means nonprofits can benefit from Big Data capabilities to enhance data analysis and data-driven decision making. AI and predictive analytics are beginning to enhance strategic analysis and decision making even further.
Coinciding with advancements in technology, the role of the nonprofit finance leader has also evolved. The early nonprofit finance leaders, we’ll call it “Financial Leadership 1.0,” were more like Historians, studying data from last month, last quarter, last year to try and predict what might happen next. Then came the era of the Real-Time Analyst (Financial Leadership 2.0) where nonprofit finance leaders drive decisions quickly by identifying trends as they occur with real-time data. Now we are entering a new era—the era of the Data-Driven Strategist (Financial Leadership 3.0).
A Data-Driven Nonprofit Accounting and Financial Management Solution Is Critical to Your Mission Success
Your accounting and financial management solution should facilitate data-driven decision making and enable you to devote a larger percentage of your time to strategizing how to accelerate your mission. With the right technology solution your nonprofit organization will:
- Make decisions based on real-time data instead of backward-looking data. Because it is a true cloud solution, Sage Intacct delivers insights based on real-time data.
- Automate routine accounting task to free time to focus on strategy. Sage Intacct automation cuts the time needed to complete a month-end close by up to 79%.
- Contextualize information for more meaningful reporting. Dimensionality in the chart of accounts enables you to slice and dice data according to what is most relevant to your mission success.
- Gain better visibility into organization-wide data. The open API in Sage Intacct can easily bring in data streams from other systems, like Salesforce.
- Visualize data and make it easily accessible for program and department managers. Your finance team can place all relevant information—including charts, graphs and reports—in front of your stakeholders with role-based dashboards.
Six Nonprofit Finance Leaders Explain How Sage Intacct Helps Them Drive Strategic Decisions
From role-based dashboards to easy-to-use reporting and a dimensional chart of accounts, Sage Intacct was designed to put real-time financial and operational data in front of decision makers. Here’s how six nonprofit financial leaders use insights gained from Sage Intacct data to drive strategic decisions:
Mothers Against Drunk Driving® (MADD)
MADD is the nation’s largest nonprofit working to end drunk and drugged driving, support the victims of these violent crimes and prevent underage drinking.
Lista Hightower, CFO at MADD explains…
“Sage Intacct helps us be better stewards of donor dollars, since the less time and money we spend on compliance and administrative work, the more we can spend on MADD’s mission. In addition, it gives us the transparency to see how successful each location is and make sure we’re putting our resources where they’re most needed.”
Pathway Lending is a private, 501(c)3 economic development agency certified by the U.S. Treasury to provide lending solutions and educational services to small businesses.
Barbara Harris, CFO at Pathway Lending explains…
“Sage Intacct frees me up to be a better partner to the C-Suite. I’m able to get into analysis for strategic planning rather than just managing tactical financial processes because the team can handle those now without me. And that’s removed a tremendous burden for me.”
Tri-County Mental Health Services
Tri-County Mental Health Services began in 1990 to provide safety-net services in mental and behavioral health, as well as substance use disorders.
Michelle Naus, CFO at Tri-County Mental Health Services explains…
“Now that we’re so much more productive with Sage Intacct, my team can serve as strategic partners and leaders in the agency by providing more forward-thinking information. Rather than spending time on historical data, we’ve been able to flip our focus forward, and do things like reforecast our budget as needed.”
United Way of Central Indiana (UWCI)
United Way of Central Indiana harnesses the collective impact of local partners specializing in education, financial stability, health and basic needs to focus on specific, measurable goals and improve the lives of everyone in Central Indiana.
Lynn Auffart, Senior Director of Finance at UWCI explains…
“Our finance team is no longer just task-oriented; we’re much more forward-thinking, which is wonderful. As a result, collaboration across the organization has increased tenfold. Everyone from our community impact department, to fundraising, to the volunteer center, is coming to us to ask questions and plan for the future of the United Way of Central Indiana.”
Jumpstart Inc. is a nationally recognized nonprofit that provides investment capital and intensive, high-impact assistance to a diverse range of entrepreneurs and small businesses owners across Ohio.
Karen Adame, Managing Partner, Operations at JumpStart explains…
“Thanks to the automation and visibility we’ve gained with Sage Intacct, I can now spend 75% of my energy analyzing our financial information and making operational decisions that impact the business.”
Children’s Hunger Fund
Children’s Hunger Fund delivers hope to suffering children. By equipping local churches for gospel-centered mercy ministry, CHF has distributed more than $1 billion dollars in nourishing food and other resources to children around the world.
Christopher Sue, CFO at Children’s Hunger Fund explains…
“The productivity we’ve gained with Sage Intacct allows us to make sense of our financial data...Now we can analyze our data to better forecast for the future and make decisions about what we as an organization can do to advance our mission.”
Learn more about how to leverage modern technology to become a more data-driven organization in our eBook, The Rise of the Data-Driven Nonprofit Finance Leader. In it, you’ll learn:
- How the role of the nonprofit finance leader is evolving toward Financial Leadership 3.0.
- Why nonprofit finance leaders need to become data-driven strategists right now.
- Why automation, multi-dimensional reporting, and data integration must be key aspects of your financial management technology strategy.
Nancy Master is a senior nonprofit industry marketing manager at Sage Intacct and is passionate about helping nonprofits achieve mission success. Nancy has more than 15 years of experience in software marketing and close to 20 years of experience working with a human services nonprofit organization.