Nonprofit organizations, especially those that are dependent on grants and contributions, must hold themselves to a high degree of accountability in their spending. Revenue from fundraising, grants, donations, and other sources must be carefully tracked against existing and future operating and capital expenses.
The need for accountability makes budgeting more important for nonprofits. Without easy-to-understand, real-time budget management software, nonprofit organizations run the risk of overlooking compliance rules of fund accounting and ultimately could impede the important work your organization manages.
Nonprofits have long used spreadsheets as the tool for budgeting. The more complex a budget means more spreadsheets and more potential for errors. As you develop your budget, and as your managers offer input, you run the risk of introducing inconsistencies and conflicting edits of the data and formulas.
Once you finalize your budget, spreadsheets give you no ability to ensure that you meet the requirements of a fund or grant. And reporting on your budget throughout the year, comparing your budget to your actual spending, is a time-consuming and near-impossible task. Monitoring against your budget is critical, especially to nonprofits. What is worse, to overspend or underspend against a grant?
For these reasons, most nonprofits are better off managing their budgets in their accounting or ERP system. For instance, the budget management functionality within Serenic Navigator enables management of your entire budget lifecycle by offering a collaborative, web-based budget preparation tool, monitoring tools to control spending against your budget throughout the year, and real-time reporting tools giving you instant and in-depth insight into your finances.
Real-time, cloud budget management means no surprises and no outside spreadsheets. This means that wherever your employees and managers are, they also have secured real-time access to the budgeting process. The user interface makes it easy for your non-accounting staff to enter their budget and monitor spending against it.
Serenic Navigator budget capabilities include:
Simplified Budget Administration
- Centralized administration that can define global settings, which allow departments to submit concise, transparent, and flexible budgets, or sub plans.
- Sub plans allow you to distribute the budgeting to different Department or Program Managers, restricting access to only their fund, dimensions, and G/L accounts.
- Unlimited versions for each sub-plan, allowing contributors to try a variety of scenarios before submitting a final budget (“copy last year’s budget and increase by 10%”).
- Calculations & Assumptions, which ensure consistent calculations and give the budget preparer the ability to try several “what if” scenarios impacting a variety of budget lines, updated automatically.
- Spread Methods can be applied to any line so that the system automatically takes the amount entered or calculated and spreads it across the budget periods accordingly (e.g., evenly, by quarter, according to a unique schedule).
- Multiple Currency Codes give you the choice of what currencies to use within budgets, and how the currencies are converted.
- Approvals, defined by the administrator, give you the flexibility to assign up to 10 approvers on a sub plan before posting to the G/L.
Streamlined Budget Preparation
- Integrated budget preparation lets you pull existing data from your G/L, keeping accounts and dimensions in synch, and leverages your existing user setup and securities.
- Budget by quantity lets you budget units of measure and amounts rather than just totals, so transactions are more spelled out and transparent.
- Multi-year budgets allow transaction-based budget tracking across fiscal years.
- Justifications give the preparer the opportunity to make notes on the specific G/L account or worksheet entry, eliminating the need for extraneous email correspondence.
Budget Monitoring and Modifications
- Post adjustments using the same process as the original posting.
- View the original budget and any modifications with details.
- Track and view multiple budgets simultaneously so you can easily see how your budget, projects or grants are tracking.
- Automate processes, for reviewing, tracking revisions, and processing final approvals, enabling a more proactive budget management process.
- Track spending against your budget real-time; ensure that purchasing is based on available budgets; and restrict overspending your budget.
Budget management requirements differ greatly from one nonprofit organization to another. The budget management capability within Serenic Navigator is customizable and scalable to meet your organization’s specific requirements, allowing you to replace spreadsheets as your budgeting tool.