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Non Profit Financial Reports: Customizing the Board Member Experience

The act of formatting non profit financial reports is a challenging practice because you are required to provide a holistic view of an organization’s finances so that members can make decisions and guide effective actions.

In constructing the report, constraints are placed on this practice by the fact that board members are busy and they need information that is relatively easy to digest. As a result, the format these reports normally take is a carefully chosen table printed out on a single sheet of paper.

Despite the value in its simplicity, this form of reporting is insufficient because it forces you to settle for one view, therefore failing to provide a truly comprehensive look at your non-profit’s financial activity. This is compounded by an additional challenge, the fact that boards are diverse. Some understand finance better than you or your staff. Others need a refresher course every time a single number floats into their field of vision. The different members all want detail on different things based on their expertise and interest.

How can we customize the user experience for board members in order to better accommodate this challenge and provide greater visibility into pertinent financial information? The answer: Take it online.

Take it Online

Although we have had access to digital financial records for quite some time, our board reporting practices have failed to align as we have continued to stick with reporting on a single sheet of paper. Luckily for us, these limitations are starting to give, thanks to the advent of mobile computing solutions like tablets. By offering access to customized data, board members can make better and more effective decisions that reflect their own background and knowledge level.

Enterprise software like Serenic Navigator  has new levels of flexibility that will allow you to issue data on a limited basis to users like Board members who do not need to conduct business in your accounting system.  They can look at different views of the data and different levels of detail on their own. Or you can create a short presentation that will walk them through all the points you want them to understand about the data available to them.

How it Works

With Serenic Navigator 2013, board members can still receive their typical one page financial board report by using out of the box functions and canned reports. Non Profit organizations can also use account schedules within Navigator to provide a variety of flexible digital reports to board members. The accounting department can use a wizard to create not for profit specific reports for Statement of Financial Position, Expense and Activity reports. Board members can then access these reports via a new web client, right from the comfort of their own chair using a laptop, tablet, or other mobile device. Navigator’s web client is supported by various browsers and devices, including Internet Explorer, Chrome, Firefox, Safari, and Safari on iPad.

The below screenshot displays the type of dashboard that a board member would have access to in order to view and filter financial information – either at a high-level or on a more granular scale.

If you’re interested in how you can improve your non profit financial reports, we’d be happy to discuss it further!

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