• Research and Analysis
  • Assessments
  • Reports and Dashboards
  • Planning
  • Training and Education

Not-for-profit accounting has some significant differences from for-profit accounting presentation and many accounting terms may be unfamiliar.  A detailed analysis of the financial capital structure and operating health of an individual organization can assist staff and board leadership in understanding their financial position and strengths and in identifying financial goals to address weaknesses.

BMA Lion
photo: Peter Hegeman
Baltimore Museum of Art

Analysis of a community of organizations -- geographic or by other criteria -- can provide funders or associations with information about trends in their organizations’ finances.

We use a set of balance sheet indicators with revenue and expense ratios to analyze the financial and operating health of individual organizations and communities of organizations.  There is no shortage of ratios that can be applied to financial statements; we focus on those that most clearly answer the client’s questions. 

Samples of the financial questions we can address include:

  • What are your trends in financial health, revenue sources and expenses and how can you use that information for planning?
  • How do you compare to other organizations like yours?
  • You’re considering a larger facility or renovating your current facility – how do you plan for it and how will a new or expanded facility affect your operating budget?
  • What types and amounts of reserves should you have and how should you build them?
  • Your cash flow has gotten worse and you’re having difficulty paying bills on time – how do you address your short and long-term cash needs?
  • You would like to create or enlarge an endowment – is that the best way to address your operating needs, or are there other financial options that would more effectively support your programs and operations?
  • For funders: how strong are your community’s organizations financially, and what are their financial needs?

Financial Assessments

International Sonoran Desert Alliance Many Hands Mural
photo: Mimi Phillips
International Sonoran
Desert Alliance

We can provide a comprehensive assessment of an organization’s financial operations, including a review of:

  • Multi-year financial trends
  • Operating budgets, capital budgets, and financial projections
  • Financial management systems and processes
  • Internal financial reporting
  • Board and staff roles in financial management

Financial assessments include recommendations for changes and improvements in these areas, and can include detailed work plans.

Organization Assessments

Organizations frequently find it helpful to focus on their current structure and operation before making decisions about their future.  We provide assessments of organizations through review of program structure and finances, staffing levels, revenue generation, operating controls, and board role and structure.  Assessments can be done in conjunction with financial analysis or as a first step in a planning process.


Financial dashboards provide a powerful tool for communicating an organization’s key data. The key to an effective dashboard is first to understand what data you want to present and then  to fit the presentation to the data—and to the audience.  Our dashboards frequently combine both tables and graphs, as well as brief explanatory notes.


Executives and board members need accurate, concise financial information to make good short and long-term decisions about their organizations. We assist management in designing reports that provide staff and board leaders the data they require to identify needs and manage effectively. 

Center Stage Triumph of Love
photo: Richard Anderson
Center Stage

We work with staff to design financial reports that provide sufficient information for decision-making without overwhelming with detail.  Financial reports can include operating and capital budgets and assumptions; financial statements to monitor and project financial budget activity through the year; multi-year projections, and cash flow projections.  We can also advise on format changes to audited financial statements to improve clarity, and we provide assistance in designing related financial operating systems.

We can work with the finance committee and board on understanding how to interpret financial information and how to strengthen the board’s financial oversight responsibilities.


Organizations need time to consider issues that reach beyond the day to day challenge of managing the operation of an organization.  We approach each organization individually and create a planning process that will enable each client to develop an institutional strategy that aligns the mission and operation of the organization with the realities of the marketplace.

International Sonoran Desert Alliance young women dancing
photo: Jewel Clearwater
International Sonoran
Desert Alliance

A planning process with staff and board may include reviewing mission, values, and vision; evaluating historical and projected financial trends; analyzing the external environment; and interpreting and developing an institutional strategy. 

If an organization is facing financial difficulties, we can develop a more focused workout plan, including cash flow projections, annual balance sheet benchmarks, identification of sources of working capital, and the creation of tracking systems.

We can create financial models for multi-year projections of operating and balance sheet activity that enable staff and board to explore different scenarios.

Clayworks Winterfest
photo: Peter Hegeman
Baltimore Clayworks

Group training and education can augment the one-on-one training provided as part of a consulting project.  We provide training opportunities for staff, board, and funders on understanding and interpreting financial information and can also develop programs on financial topics specific to the needs of the client.