Five Accounting Jobs at Non-Profit Organizations
- Chief Financial Officer
- Director of Fundraising
- Venture Philanthropy Director
- Financial Aid Officer
- Tax Accountant
While accounting might at first seem not as important in the non-profit sector, it is actually just as significant if not more so since resources are limited, and there are many fulfilling non-profit accounting jobs available. In these organizations, every cent matters, so accountants need to keep impeccable records and present this information to a board of directors periodically throughout the year. Plus, in order to remain a non-profit entity, there are annual specific reports and paperwork to file. Some non-profit accounting careers include the following.
1. Chief Financial Officer
This position is very similar to that in a for-profit corporation with the exception that maximizing profits is not part of the job. The CFO of a nonprofit focuses on strategy. They make predictions about future donations and use this information to make recommendations to the chief operating officer, executive director, and board members from a finance perspective. Often the primary focus of a nonprofit organization is related to human services, so an accountant is helpful in the conversation to ensure plans are fiscally feasible.
2. Director of Fundraising
Accountants involved in fundraising are crucial because the amount of funding directly relates to the ability of a nonprofit organization to fulfill its mission. This can also be one of the most difficult tasks and requires professionals who have excellent communication skills in order to explain the ideals of the organization as well as the practical aspects.
3. Venture Philanthropy Director
This is one of the newest nonprofit accounting careers as venture philanthropy is a relatively new concept. As Forbes describes, the idea is that businesses provide funding for a nonprofit organization in an underprivileged area or with an untested idea, lenders that cannot otherwise secure financing, with the plan that the loan will be paid back over time. Accountants in charge of these projects need to have a keen eye for promising ideas while also the ability to minimizing risk.
4. Financial Aid Officer
Another nonprofit sector that frequently employs accountants is higher education. Many colleges and universities hold this designation and hire financial aid officers to help students find ways to afford tuition and living expenses. These professionals evaluate a student’s and his or her family’s situation and use a combination of grants, scholarships, and work-study programs to design a complete aid package. An effective accountant can increase a school’s enrollment by helping make the school a viable option for more families.
5. Tax Accountant
Even though a foundation might be exempt from some taxes, an accountant still needs to file annual paperwork detailing the financial situation of the organization. There are also different types of nonprofit designations, so it is important for nonprofits to hire a tax accountant to ensure there are no penalties later.
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Many of these positions pay less than an equivalent job in a for-profit organization, but some accountants find this type of work fulfilling, and perks include a more casual work environment and a philanthropic mission. There is at least one non-profit accounting job at nearly every foundation and charity.