The role of the accounting function for non-profit organisations cannot be underestimated, says Belinda te Riele, CEO of Starfish Greathearts Foundation South African.

Donors and international aid agencies are requiring higher levels of financial reporting, and in order to meet these standards a clear and comprehensive financial reporting system is required.
The IQ Business Group has a long partnership with Starfish, working with the successful NGO since 2000. Starfish requested support in strengthening their accounting and reporting practices, at the time when donor reporting requirements became more demanding, and access to funding more competitive.
Francois Roos, risk and accounting manager at The IQ Business Group, South Africa’s leading independent management consultancy, says, “At IQ we not only provide end-to-end solutions for corporate conglomerates, but work with non-profit organisations like Starfish and government health providers such as the Chris Hani Baragwanath Hospital who we assisted in improving their paediatric patient care.”
Starfish Greathearts Foundation is an international development charity that aims to bring life, hope and opportunity to children left orphaned or vulnerable in South Africa. Starfish forms a vital link between donors, who are often based off-shore, and the community-based organisations (CBOs) to whom the raised funds are allocated.
Together with Starfish, The IQ Business Group’s accounting services division installed and implemented a comprehensive accounting system to provide the Foundation with strengthened financial systems and reports.
“IQ’s support to Starfish included not only an accounting system, but also an opportunity to strengthen financial capacity within the team,” says te Riele. The IQ solution includes financial accounting, cash management, payroll management, budgetary control and financial reporting.
“Donations and funds are now more effectively managed, with support fees accurately ascertained, mitigating the risk of any overspending or under budgeting. Thanks to IQ, Starfish is now also able to better assist CBO’s in their budget forecasts,” says te Riele. “This new function not only enforces efficiency but increases donor confidence.”
The IQ Business Group also used the initiative to provide critical accountancy exposure for their graduate accountants in their TOPP programme, enabling the students to get widespread exposure to the full spectrum of accountancy – required for their certification.
“Providing NGOs with an outsourced accounting model such as this, enables them to access required accounting skills, and implement a clear and comprehensive financial reporting system, without the huge cost of investing in an in-house accounting function. Additionally, our TOPP students get the necessary broad exposure for them to complete their qualification,” concludes Roos.