Do these examples ring familiar?
The organization has been served by a Fiscal Agent for several years and is finally making the switch to a free standing nonprofit. But it has no functioning chart of accounts, and the new, young ED hasn't a clue about getting set up. Three months later: payroll, insurance, HR services, and complete financial statements. Systems are developed and documented for accounting processes as well as onboarding new staff.
The Executive Director has moved on, and the new Board leadership chooses an interim Executive Director to give the organization time to review their needs. The small staff is experiencing high turnover, staff salaries are too low, cash balances are high but there isn't a plan for the future. An analysis of the staff structure is critically needed. Job descriptions are created, an organizational plan to move the mission forward includes new positions and new goals, and a salary review enhances staff satisfaction.
After several years of turnover in the CFO office, the operations team is isolated from the rest of the 60+ staff. The finance & admin team is realigned and explicitly integrated into department meetings to increase visibility and see their co-workers as their clients. Reporting is overhauled based on the needs of program and department heads and monthly in person meetings ensure a "big picture" understanding as well as accurate information across the organization
My Five Steps
Regardless of the underlying issues, I approach each challenge the same way:
I have 30 years' experience in nonprofit finance. In addition to being able to create cash flow statements, budgets and monthly statements, my strength is in being a "translator".
I demystify financials and assist staff and board to develop financial reports which inform the mission and advance the future of the organization.
Audits should not be treated as a once a year, "stop everything" event; systems can be put in place to ensure everything is ready when the auditors arrive.
"You were able to connect the big picture with practical, business with mission"
Whether you need a short term Executive Director, CFO or Operations Director, I have been there and can help during your transition. I'll work with staff and Board to confirm the scope and focus--whether it's to maintain the great systems already in place or to embrace the opportunity to redefine and redesign. The critical role as an interim manager is to listen and to ensure the values of the organization are maintained.
"Ellen is a player-coach: more about the WE, not ME"
Operations encompasses all of the backroom responsibilities within the organization: finance, HR, facilities. As a frequent Operations Director, I take a "bird's eye view" of the organization and work closely with managers to design a reporting and staff structure that ensures efficient and best use of resources.
I have extensive experience in working among both Board and staff to ensure the organization's constituents are all working toward the same goals. I have developed and facilitated planning meetings, revamped staff meeting structures and used staff retreats to develop annual workplans.
"An excellent leader in complex, multi-stakeholder situations"