Executive transition is never easy, and it offers both challenges and opportunities for nonprofits. You may need the help of a nonprofit accounting service to help you fill a gap left by an outgoing CFO, for example. Beck & Company would like to invite you to download the free whitepaper, A Nonprofit’s Guide to Working Smarter with Outsourced Accounting, to provide valuable information during times of transition.
Challenges and Opportunities During an Executive’s Transition
When a beloved leader decides to retire or leave an organization, it offers both challenges and opportunities.
Challenges abound, of course. It’s hard to fill the shoes of a great CEO or CFO, someone who genuinely cared about their team and believed in the nonprofit’s mission. It also leads to uncertainty. Staff may wonder if they’ll like the new leaders or if they can work with them as easily and happily as they could with the outbound executive.
Changes also offer opportunities, and it is on this we’d like to focus. Opportunities include the ability to chart new directions with a new leader. New executives bring fresh ideas to an organization and may have experience from other posts that can help you grow. They bring new perspective and vision as well as energy into a nonprofit.
Bridging the Leadership Gap: Nonprofit Accounting Services
If you believe it will take a while to fill an open position, as it often does when trying to fill top slots, Beck & Company offers nonprofit accounting services that can fill interim gaps. Our team of CPAs has extensive experience in the nonprofit world and can serve as interim CFOs or other leadership positions until you are ready to hire a full-time executive.
Tips for Finding Your Next Leader
After the initial shock wears off, when you learn that a current leader plans to leave, it’s time to get working. Here are tips and best practices to help you find your next great CEO, CFO, or other nonprofit leader.
Create a succession plan: Nonprofit boards can do themselves and their organizations a great favor by developing a succession plan to guide the organization through leadership changes. Identify the qualities you seek in a leader and utilize groups or other resources to help you find the right candidates.
Ease into the transition: If possible (for example, if someone plans to retire), ease into the transition by leaving plenty of time to find the new leader. It can take a year or more to find a leader for a large nonprofit organization. With more time available, you have the benefit of being quite choosy about who will lead the organization to success.
Consider organizational culture: Take the pulse of your organization. Know its culture so you can find someone who will either continue the tradition or effect the changes you seek. Without a good understanding of the corporate culture, you run the risk of putting a leader into position who will find roadblocks and create more turmoil than necessary in the first year of leadership.
Support onboarding: Put into place an onboarding process that includes plenty of time for new leaders to meet key staff, understand the organization’s mission and principles, and broker relationships with donors and members. Don’t expect big changes right away; give the new leader time to ease into the organization.
Hire interim help: Interim leadership, such as nonprofit accounting services or CPAs to fill CFO spots, can be a great help. They can maintain continuity and ensure that operations run smoothly until you hire a new leader.
Change is never easy, but if you can use the opportunities it brings to your advantage, you can grow through it. Nonprofit boards can do a great deal to ease the stress of a leadership transition to ensure their organizations continue to benefit others.
Beck & Company offers experienced CPAs for nonprofit accounting services, interim financial management and consulting, and nonprofit audit services. We invite you to download our free white paper A Nonprofit’s Guide to Working Smarter with Outsourced Accounting and explore our services to help your nonprofit organization grow and thrive.
Beck & Company
Beck & Company is a certified public accounting firm serving the greater Washington D.C. area and the Eastern seaboard. We offer consulting services, auditing, and software selection to help nonprofits with their accounting needs. Contact us today for more information or assistance.