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Nonprofit Finance Teams Need Tech Skills Now More Than Ever

July 14, 2023
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Nonprofit organizations are turning to technology to help navigate workforce shortages amidst unprecedented demand for their services. According to the National Council of Nonprofits, a troubling 26.2% reported job openings for 20-29% of their positions. An additional 16.1% of nonprofits said they had vacancies for more than 30% of positions.   

While digital transformation can ease some of this unfulfilled workload, it requires employees to have some technical know-how to use tech tools to their best advantage. An Information Technology & Innovation Foundation report shared that 31% of the U.S. workforce have “none” to “limited” digital skills despite 70% of jobs requiring mid- to high-level digital skills. 

Technology Transforms Finance Functions 

Whether automating manual tasks or enhancing data analysis, finance leaders across the nonprofit sector are implementing new technologies to help their teams work more efficiently and impactfully. In a recent AvidXchange/IOFM survey of finance professionals, 70% of respondents said investing in technology is a medium to high priority for their organization. 

Gartner says 40% of finance roles will be new or significantly reshaped by 2025 due to technology. It’s undeniable that emerging technologies like machine learning, automation and AI are changing the way we work. It’s unlikely that these tools will replace human workers. However, today’s workforce must adapt and learn new skills to maximize the potential benefits of digitization.  

Employees Embrace Digitization 

There’s a perception that finance workers are against the digitization of their roles. However, most of the AP professionals AvidXchange and IOFM surveyed in our 2023 AP Professional Career Satisfaction Survey are receptive to automation technology.  

Many finance professionals view automation as a way to streamline processes, reduce errors and increase efficiency. The value of digitization in AP departments may not have always been clear but given the current economic conditions, labor shortage and push for remote work, it’s time to embrace technology rather than resist it.  

Level Up with Upskilling

Upskilling programs are one of the most compelling ways to bridge the digital skills gap in nonprofits. Upskilling refers to training and development opportunities that help employees expand their job-related skills and knowledge to advance their career path. These programs can take many forms, including online courses, in-person training and on-the-job learning. By investing in upskilling programs, organizations can help their employees develop the skills they need to succeed in a digitized workplace.    

Employees aren’t the only ones who benefit from upskilling programs. Investing in these educational initiatives ultimately benefits the broader organization by increasing productivity, improving employee engagement and driving innovation. It’s less expensive than hiring externally and it boosts employee retention and job satisfaction important factors as 79% of nonprofits say salary competition negatively impacts their ability to hire.  

Employees who receive training are better equipped to take on new challenges and are more likely to stay with the organization long-term. Additionally, upskilling programs can help organizations identify new opportunities and ways to streamline operations, leading to organizational growth without additional headcount.   

Most importantly, employees want it. Upskilling is becoming a sought-after benefit. Our recent AvidXchange, IOFM survey found that 84% of AP professionals said learning/skills development is “moderately” or “extremely” important when evaluating a new job opportunity. Nearly 60% of respondents have been working in AP for 10+ years proving that even tenured staff are interested in continuous professional improvement.   

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