What do outsourced nonprofit accounting and Abila MIP Fund Accounting™ have to do with one another? To the outside observer, probably nothing other than both residing in the nonprofit finance and accounting community. As a purveyor of both, serving as an Abila Business Partner and providing outsourced accounting services to nonprofit organizations, we are experiencing a powerful synergy, something that we did not anticipate. Let me explain.
First, a nonprofit that has acquired an MIP Fund Accounting™ license, particularly among smaller organizations, may choose to have its accounting outsourced to save money and improve overall financial management and reporting. Others, may choose to outsource part of the function temporarily because of a key personnel disruption.
Second, when nonprofits look for an outsourced accounting provider they will find that most take a “one-size-fits-all” approach often using QuickBooks™ as the primary software tool, though it may not be the best solution. This is especially the case where there is more than a single fund entity or when grant tracking and reporting are challenging. If the organization seeking to outsource its accounting does not already have capable on-premises or hosted nonprofit accounting software, it makes a lot of sense to move to MIP. Their current needs are amply met and as the organization grows and brings more or all of its accounting functions in-house, MIP will continue to serve their future needs.
We came to this realization in our practice, starting out as selling only accounting technology (MIP) and related implementation services. We found that MIP was a great solution for smaller organizations ($1M – $4M) with more complex accounting and reporting needs, but that present accounting personnel were ill-`equipped to learn the software and in some cases lacked much beyond basic accounting skills. We saw this as a business opportunity to provide the outsourced services and a comfortable solution for the nonprofit’s management and the Board.
Fast forward to present, NFP Partners provides outsourced accounting services to nonprofits across the country. For the majority we use QuickBooks Enterprise hosted by a third-party. These clients are relatively small with uncomplicated accounting and reporting. However, for our larger clients we graduate them into Abila MIP Fund Accounting™ at the start of the engagement or after gaining some experience.
Interestingly, nonprofits that use Abila MIP Fund Accounting™ are now are finding us to provide outsourced accounting services either on an ongoing basis or temporarily during personnel transitions.
Lee Bengston, CPA