5 Business Productivity Killers—and How to Fix Them

Are these productivity killers lurking in your nonprofit’s finance department?

If you feel that business is harder today, you’re not alone. In addition to rising regulatory obligations and relentless technological change, the ability to attract and retain top talent has never been more difficult. To compete and thrive in this environment, nonprofits need to optimize their finance and accounting practices, and that means tackling challenges that lurk in nearly every organization.

Here are the top five productivity killers that plague many nonprofit finance and accounting departments—and how to overcome them:

1.) Failure to Delegate

The late John Hunt, a professor at the London Business School and expert in organizational behavior found that only 30% of managers think they can delegate well. The reason most managers have trouble delegating isn’t that they doubt the value of focusing more of their time on strategic tasks; it’s that managers don’t trust that their team members can successfully execute on some of the non-core tasks that are ripe for delegation.

The key to successful delegation is building a team that has the right skills and experience needed to give you confidence that the job will be done right.

2.) Viewing Financial Data Through a Reactive Lens

The days of running a business by looking backwards at quarterly or yearly financial reports are over.

New financial management systems and tools leveraging the cloud, workflow automation, and mobile technology have made it possible to monitor and analyze activities across all segments of your business as soon as they happen. Having access to real-time financial information that gives you a comprehensive view of performance and programmatic impact allows you to have more productive conversations and make decisions more efficiently.

3.) Not Harnessing Analytics and the Cloud

Many organizations are hanging on to on-premise, legacy accounting and financial systems and outdated processes simply because of inertia and reluctance to invest the time and resources needed to adopt new tools. But doing things the way they’ve always been done puts you at a competitive disadvantage in a disruptive and rapidly changing business environment. It’s important to realize that investments made in learning and implementing a new system or process that helps you operate more efficiently will pay dividends in terms of streamlining your operations and enabling better decision-making.

Staying competitive means continuing to evolve as an organization and making changes to both processes and technology to improve operational efficiency and increase mission impact. And while change isn’t always easy, having a trusted and experienced implementation partner to walk you through the process can help ensure a smooth and successful transition.

4.) Overlooking Existing Capabilities

Often, solutions that can streamline or automate financial processes are already embedded in your existing technology tools—but you may feel like you don’t have the time or the wherewithal to fully explore these capabilities. Product enhancements continually add valuable features, and new integrations and plugins can automate processes and eliminate unnecessary manual entries.

Working with an outside advisor who is experienced in your financial and accounting platforms can help you unlock the full power of your existing tools and quickly scale the learning curve for these new features.

5.) Not Documenting Processes

How you do something is just as important as what you do. But if you don’t document your finance and accounting processes, that knowledge walks out the door with your people every night—a scary proposition in a tight labor market with high turnover. Laying out your end-to-end processes allows you to spot redundancies and identify ways to make workflows more efficient through automation and other technology-driven techniques.

Also, remember that your documented processes aren’t set in stone. You should continually revisit them and look for opportunities to optimize them in light of new technology that has become available or changes to your team.

Oftentimes, having an outside assessment of the organization’s financial operations and processes can help uncover these types of productivity killers. Tate & Tryon has assisted hundreds of nonprofit organizations with implementing technology and process improvements to increase the efficiency of their financial operations.

Please contact us to learn more about how we can help.


2019 Nonprofit CFO of the Year Awards: Celebrating Nonprofit CFO Excellence

Posted on , updated on

Firm News05/30/2019


Help recognize the efforts and achievements of an exceptional CFO whose leadership has made an impact.  Nominate a CFO for the 2019 Nonprofit CFO of the Year Awards. Winners will be formally recognized at the 2019 Nonprofit CFO of the Year Awards Luncheon on October 10, 2019 at the Capital Hilton in Washington DC.

Important Compliance Updates for DC Organizations

Posted on , updated on

Exempt Organization Tax05/29/2019


As states move to streamline their tax and reporting systems, more filings are being offered for submission through electronic channels such as state business portals. The District of Columbia has been no stranger to this phenomenon, with multiple portals available through their Office of Tax and Revenue (OTR), the Department of Consumer and Regulatory Affairs (DCRA), and the Department of Employment Services (DOES).

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