The accounting staff at nonprofits have a difficult job. Depending on the size of the organization, the staff (or staff person) have a lot of tasks to manage in order to keep the organization fiscally responsible and compliant.
In order to be successful in the nonprofit accounting field one must possess certain qualities. A few of those qualities include being:
- Patient - They say patience is a virtue and yes, it is. No matter whether you’re handling accounts receivable, accounts payable, or payroll, you’ll need to have the fortitude to dig in and make sure there is complete accuracy when handling your responsibilities. This may mean checking, double checking, and triple checking your work.
- Detail-oriented – Being detailed is key for any accounting professional. In accounting there are minor details that can have major impact on your reporting if information is entered incorrectly. Many nonprofit accounting software systems on the market today have built in mechanisms to assist with accuracy, but even the most robust and intuitive software, like the GMS Accounting and Financial Management System, can’t account for human error. In order to be successful, you’ll need to make sure you’re detail-oriented.
- Understanding – You should be willing to understand industry standards of nonprofit accounting and of your agency. Every nonprofit has a specific way they like to keep their books. For instance, some nonprofits have specific General Ledger code requirements, others have specific reports they need to supply to their Board of Directors, and the list can go on and on. Making sure you dig in and understand both general nonprofit accounting industry standards and your organization’s practices will make your job easier.