Spring Clean Your Nonprofit Bookkeeping Procedures

A pink flowering tree against a clear blue sky.

Spring is right around the corner! Whether your local groundhog saw his shadow or not, soon winter will make way for the beauty of spring – a time to refresh and renew. As nature reawakens, we can look for ways to clear the cobwebs from all corners of our lives, including our bookkeeping.

Here are five ways to refresh your accounting systems for spring:

Go Paperless

As spring carries brave growth and breathtaking bloom to trees, consider the environmental impact of your organization. Be a friend to the trees by thinking of ways to go paperless. One big way to decrease your carbon footprint is to review all paper bills you receive, then reach out to those vendors to request these be sent electronically. Save your digital files in a secure document portal, and try using electronic payments instead of printing paper checks.

Research New Tools

The garden is not the only place to employ tools. New tools may help you be more efficient in your routine tasks. If you use Bill.com (our preferred online bill payment system) for processing and approving payables, try downloading their mobile app. By viewing and approving vendor invoices from your phone, you can keep your payments on schedule even when you're not at your desk.

Prune Your Filing Tree

Is your filing tree in good order? Or do things tend to sit in a central catch-all folder? It's important to organize your digital files in a way that you can locate them instantly. Consider naming a folder for each year, housing the same “branches” or sub-folders to store everything that crosses your desk in categories that are most useful to you. Inside those folders, add just enough dimension to build out the filing tree so that there is a place for everything.

Review Your Agings

Do you have bills on the books that you’ve since found won’t come due? Have there been changes to any bills you show as open? Or are there customers or donors on your aged receivables listing that may need a reminder? Looking through your aging reports and questioning anything that remains open is a great way to spring clean those accounts.

Reflect On How You Spend Time

Wouldn’t you love to devote more time to focus on your nonprofit's core mission? (Or even just to tiptoe through the tulips?) Think about new efficiencies you can build into your routine, whether that means delegating, outsourcing, or scheduling tasks in advance. While there are certain tasks that simply must be done, taking a fresh look at how you approach them can reveal new ways to save time. For instance, are there tasks that you can batch together and schedule once or twice per month, instead of tackling them piecemeal whenever they cross your desk? Planning ahead will cut down on fire-drills, and grouping similar tasks helps to stay on point to a particular job.

Enjoy the coming change in seasons!