The finance and accounting sectors are experiencing a downturn, attributable to a declining interest among students in pursuing careers within these fields. Concurrently, corporate efforts to recruit for these roles are not keeping pace with market demands, which intensifies the challenge by creating an imbalance in supply and demand. Companies and organizations are facing significant staffing challenges in securing seasoned professionals in these specialized fields, making it even more difficult to fill executive-level and C-suite positions.

MORE NEWS: Celebratory crowd honors winners of 2023 CFO of the Year Awards

Though it has been a matter in the corporate world, it has become a substantial concern throughout the non-profit space with 79% of non-profits noting that compensation competition negatively impacts their hiring rate. Since many organizations do not have the budget to compete with large corporations’ salaries and benefits, three out of four non-profits have job vacancies throughout their organization. As the competition becomes greater, many are wondering what will happen to non-profits who need financial support. 

Throughout recent years, the role of a CFO has become more intricate pivoting from exclusively managing accounting and finance teams to becoming a main leader and strategic partner in the executive party. CFOs are not solely managing money, rather they are developing business plans, working with others to monetize the company’s gain and fostering relationships with external investors. In the non-profit sector, CFOs measure success by the effectiveness of an organization’s mission, rather than by sales or revenue metrics.

Non-profits are primarily mission-driven, although financial resources are often essential to support their goals. Non-profits have stated their top challenge is finding adequate finances and resources, rapidly increasing the need for an expert in the finance industry. 

Non-profits earn income through donations, grants and dues but 75% of organizations are not satisfied with the funds raised, which is why CFOs must be willing and able to cultivate benefactor and stakeholder relationships, while maintaining professionalism and expertise within the finance industry. 

When a non-profit obtains a surplus, it is reinvested into the organization to continue to support their goal and mission. A C-level financial expert should recognize the most effective ways to allocate surplus funds to the areas of the organization that need it most. Non-profits have strict tax laws that they must adhere to since their stream of revenue is tax exempt, making it crucial for a CFO to understand the rules and regulations for 501(c)3 and 501(c)4 organizations and small businesses.

Often, finance students do not have opportunities to obtain the necessary knowledge in the non-profit space. With the small number of finance graduates, there is an even smaller number of those who know how to manage the differences that come in running a non-profit organization. Though it is not mandatory to have a certification or accreditation in non-profit management, it helps an individual enter the non-profit space. 

CFO Solutions for Nonprofit and Small Business 

According to Kimberly Lewis, President and CEO of Goodwill Industries of East Texas, consultants will dominate the non-profit space in 2024, supplementing support only when an organization is in need and capable of bringing in an expert. 

More than 60% of non-profit CEOs have said that is it is especially difficult to fill C-suite roles in an organization, but consultants can fill these positions without the commitment of a full-time salaried employee, allowing organizations to retain expertise and knowledge of a chief financial officer while developing a long-term plan for the future. When utilizing a firm who employs multiple consultants, organizations gain an entire team who understand how to enhance a specialized strategy to maximize donor engagement and monetary benefits without compensation competing with large enterprises.

Consultants provide services that allow non-profits to focus on their mission and goal by maximizing their time and resources. Organizations will be able to use all their efforts to help their community, while having an expert team crunching the numbers. The team behind a specialized consulting firm is responsible for prioritizing the organizations they work with to give insightful advice that will bring the most success and impact towards the mission. Non-profits should never be a low priority as they are driven to helping the community around us. 

Organizations deserve a team of experts who value their mission, provide security, and help focus on what matters most – serving the community which it supports.

Author: Karina Felix is the founder and CEO of Versus Consultants.