488: When Shareholder Dividends Equal Fewer Going Hungry | Chris Whitfield, CFO, MANA Nutrition


Manage episode 231745262 series 1039141
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From the moment Chris Whitfield stepped into the CFO office at Mana Nutrition, it was clear to him that various snags in the organization’s information flows were keeping the not-for-profit’s board members on edge. To remedy the situation, Whitefield reformulated the not-for-profit’s approach to reporting, beginning with a beefier balance sheet instead of the slimmed down Statement of Financial Position on which Mana had relied to date.

“It was clear to me that we had to begin reporting on our performance back to a pretty savvy board of directors just as any for-profit company would,” says Whitefield, who also sought to give the board greater visibility into the ebb and flow of the not-for profit’s working capital. “I realized that we could not behave like a not-for-profit that relied on giving and charitable donations, but instead had to rely on our own wits and ability to raise capital through beneficial investment or normal credit channels,” Whitefield explains.

After a few tense meetings–where some pointed questions lingered–Whitefield began to adopt the tools needed to routinely output the reports required to satisfy Mana’s board and at the same time draw the more capital-intensive parts of the organization closer to his finance team.

“We now plan to routinely engage our operations management in the budgeting process,” explains Whitefield, who says that Mana’s operations people began collaborating more closely with finance a year ago, when the organization adopted a cost center reporting process. –Jack Sweeney

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