The True Costs of Nonprofit Budgeting with Excel


Excel is the go-to reporting and budgeting tool for countless finance teams, including financial planning and analysis (FP&A) professionals. In fact, there are more than one billion users worldwide—that’s about one in seven people! Excel is comfortable and familiar, but for growing nonprofits, it can be a real drag on your budgeting processes and productivity. This can lead to costly mistakes and missed opportunities.

Consider these common pitfalls of using only an Excel-based planning system:

  • Time sink: Excel devours time because it’s error-prone and requires a lot of manual care and feeding. Finance teams end up spending most of their time in spreadsheets, wasting hours that could be used for more strategic, high-value work. And if you want to scale up or collaborate—especially across multiple locations—the inefficiencies of Excel make those tasks even more challenging. Tedious ad-hoc reporting tasks, manual data aggregation, and hours spent validating formulas and spreadsheet cells leave little or no time for strategic, analytical, and collaborative work.
  • Unreliable data: Because Excel data is often siloed and department-specific, it reduces trust in data across the organization and makes a single source of truth all but impossible. For example, it’s not unusual for larger organizations to have multiple Excel formulas to achieve the same metric. The result: wasted time debating which data and metrics to use instead of discussing how key data and metrics can benefit your nonprofit into the future. Excel-based planning thus impedes an organization’s ability to make quick, data-driven decisions in a fast-changing world.
  • Cloudy view: Excel offers limited and uneven visibility into the business operations and drivers that are central to the success of your organization. As a result, decisions remain gut-based instead of data-driven. At a time when business technology is rapidly changing, Excel simply doesn’t have the horsepower to generate dynamic and integrated insights that can help drive strategy and inform decision-making.

Better nonprofit budgeting with Adaptive Insights

The answer is an integrated planning and analytics solution like Adaptive Insights. It’s designed to complement Excel by freeing up valuable time for more strategic activities and deep visibility into your nonprofit. By creating a centralized repository that integrates all of your data, it provides a single source of truth that improves integrity and gives you confidence in planning. Now, instead of poring over spreadsheets, you can bring your Excel data to life with dynamic, customizable dashboards.

Adaptive Insights empowers finance to report, analyze, and produce a view of the KPIs in an accelerated and self-service way. In other words, planning and analytics are no longer separate activities but are seamlessly integrated. They tell a story your finance team can act on, and inform strategic decision-making that can help your nonprofit achieve mission success.

JMT Consulting is your budgeting technology partner

Nonprofits work with JMT Consulting to implement Adaptive Insights because we bring the right combination of expertise with Adaptive and experience in the nonprofit space. In fact, we’ve successfully implemented Adaptive Insights for many different types and sizes of nonprofits. Ready to transform your nonprofit’s FP&A processes with better budgeting software? Contact us today!