When outsourcing makes sense
By Asha Vyas
Libraries are a hub of information and are transforming into spaces for social services, virtual offices, and cyber connectivity. To manage that evolution, knowing the financial story of your library is critical to planning, funding growth, and gaining community support. Translating that story begins with the Fiscal Officer [FO].
The days of the ‘accidental bookkeeper’ who is tasked with entering transactions into the accounting system because they are good with numbers are over. This approach exposes the board to risk. Volunteer board members and directors should understand the importance of a technically knowledgeable FO. In fact, some situations of fraud and mismanagement can lead to boards and directors being personally liable.
A strong library FO plays a pivotal role in the board’s fiduciary responsibility of public funds. They should be able to articulate the big-picture financial overview as well as the stories in the details. Sometimes the FO may not have the time, staff, or skills to explain your organization’s financial health.
In those circumstances, a partnership with a good outsourcing provider is a value-based solution to supplement and support. This reduces stress on the internal team and provides information to educate your board and community on the stewardship of public funds.
Outsourced services can include
- Daily and weekly transactions
- Month-end reconciliation and board reporting
- Year-end financial statements, analysis, and budgeting
- Special projects – new software, grant sourcing and compliance, and data visualization
There is no ‘standard’ cookie-cutter way that libraries operate so the outsourced firm needs to be prepared to work with each library’s unique situation.
There are plenty of reports highlighting the shortage of accounting professionals. Proactively looking at outsourcing as a solution before you need it prevents the pressure of reactive decision-making. Outsourcing can be temporary or permanent. It can supplement and support an existing internal department or be a completely independent team. With outsourcing, you only pay for what you need.
- Cost – cost-effective access to specialized services, and support from subject experts
- Fresh perspective – evaluating existing processes or technologies to find efficiencies
- Education – Training of existing staff on current or new processes
- Support – outsourcing can help fill gaps for a temporary need or special projects.
- Separation of Duties – bringing in external help provides another level of internal control
At YPTC, we do one thing, and we do it well: financial management for nonprofits and similar organizations like libraries. YPTC provides accounting, financial reporting, and best practices quickly, efficiently, and accurately. We support organizations of all sizes, and in any location: onsite or remotely. We help them turn their accounting departments into a source of strength, so library leaders can focus on the work that counts: their mission. External experts help organizations that lack the budget or technically skilled staff form a strong internal finance department.
Asha Vyas is a Training Content Specialist with Your Part-Time Controller, LLC [YPTC]. YPTC provides customized accounting and financial management services for over 1,200 nonprofits nationwide. Since 1993, YPTC has built transformative, personalized solutions based on clients’ financial needs, including cash flows, funding streams, financial concerns, and internal control challenges. YPTC is committed to educating organizations through webinars and resources that provide relevant takeaways and best practices. To learn more about YPTC and browse our content, visit www.yptc.com.