Get to Know Accounting Subledger

Learning Objectives 

After completing this unit, you’ll be able to:

  • Explain the benefits of Accounting Subledger.
  • Point your Salesforce admin to documentation about how to install Accounting Subledger.

Fundraising and Finance: In Need of a Translator

If you work at a nonprofit or an educational institution that depends on donations, you need a way to connect your fundraising data to your accounting systems. This module explores a solution to do just that: Accounting Subledger. 

While Accounting Subledger works with both Nonprofit Cloud and Education Cloud, let’s check in with our friends at the (fictional) nonprofit No More Homelessness (NMH), where fundraising and accounting are disconnected and it’s causing headaches for everyone. (If you work in education, you may be able to relate.)

Sam Aquino, the Director of Finance at NMH, isn't getting what she needs to close the books quickly and provide up-to-date financial intelligence. It’s an onerous task to close even quarterly, and she would like to transition to a monthly close so the organization has greater visibility into its financial situation. (The board is pressing for this, too.) She needs clean fundraising data in her accounting system, and she needs it promptly.

Aniyah Thompson, the Development Director, wants to help but is hesitant to ask her fundraisers to complete yet another task. They’re already overloaded and in the midst of a capital campaign, plus Sam’s team already asks a lot of questions about gifts, anyway.

Sam and Aniyah both care deeply about the mission and working effectively, but at times the demands on each of their teams make it difficult to collaborate. It doesn’t help that fundraisers and accountants think differently about their work and the results. Counting donations is different from accounting for them, after all.

Sam and Aniyah, facing different directions, expressing frustration

Sound familiar? It’s not an unusual problem at nonprofits and educational institutions. Maybe, like at NMH, differing priorities keep your teams from communicating well. Maybe the data has to be formatted to the requirements of the constituent relationship management system or the accounting system with little give either way. Maybe it’s worse than that. (We hope it isn’t.)

And this move from fundraising data to accounting data isn’t just an imperative for operations within your organization—it has an impact on donor trust. Read the blog post linked in the Resources section below to learn more.

Fortunately, there’s a tool that translates donation, pledge, and payment data into the language of accounting—without an extra burden on either fundraising or finance.

Enter Accounting Subledger

Accounting Subledger is a finance product inside of Salesforce that connects to your organization’s finance products outside of Salesforce. 

Your accounting team may not spend much, if any, time in Salesforce if they have their own system. Accounting Subledger allows both teams to work the way they prefer while translating fundraising data into a permanent, transparent format easily transferable to accounting systems.

It does this by seamlessly recording data to a subledger as your fundraising team works. What’s a subledger? It’s a detailed list of transactions that rolls up into your accounting system’s general ledger, or main accounting record.

Data about incoming revenue flows from fundraising to finance through accounting subledger.

And this isn’t just for major gifts, but any donation or revenue your organization tracks in Salesforce, such as memberships, grants, online gifts, or fees for services. That revenue is recorded in a custom object that serves as a permanent record that can’t be edited, which is key for audits and compliance.

Accounting Subledger records

When your accounting period closes, you export the ledger entries dataset from Salesforce and import it into any accounting system that supports importing journal entries—and most of them do. In fact, Accounting Subledger comes with a library of export templates for the most popular accounting systems (more on that later). And, of course, you can always customize those templates to add more fields or create your own export for another system.

How Accounting Subledger Works with Your Salesforce Org

Accounting Subledger is a paid package, so you need to talk to your Salesforce.org Account Executive about adding it to your org. Here are a few things you should know as you consider the package and have that discussion.

  • Accounting Subledger works for either nonprofits or educational institutions as long as they also use the free Nonprofit Success Pack (NPSP) or Salesforce Gift Entry Manager with Education Data Architecture. 
  • Enhanced Recurring Donations must be enabled. Ask your admin to check out the Which Version of Recurring Donations Am I Using? link in Resources below.
  • Accounting Subledger comes in two editions: Starter Edition and Growth Edition. Both editions are paid products. In this module we’ll point out when a feature is only available in the Growth Edition, but you can talk to your Account Executive and check out the documentation in the Resources links below to determine which edition is right for your organization.

Accounting Subledger is intended to be uncomplicated to set up from a technical perspective, but implementation help is available if you need it. Salesforce.org works closely with a network of consulting partners who are experienced with Salesforce and certified on Nonprofit Cloud or Education Cloud. You can work with your Salesforce.org Account Executive to be introduced to an in-network Salesforce.org consulting partner, or check out the Resources section at the end of this unit for more information. 

Onward, into the World of Accounting

Now that you understand what Accounting Subledger can do, let’s follow along with NMH as it solves its problem by implementing the product into its Salesforce org. The first and biggest challenge is making decisions about the organization’s accounting policies and how they translate into Accounting Subledger settings.

So buckle up for some accounting terms and group work. Here we go.

Note

Note

In order to follow along with the how-to steps in this module, you’ll need to be an Accounting Subledger user with the proper permissions. If you’re not, that’s okay. Read on to learn how you would use the package in a production org. Don't try to follow these steps in your Trailhead Playground, because Accounting Subledger isn't available there.

Resources