Meet North Marin Community Services’ Vanshika Nachnani, a 2019 CFO Recognition Award winner
Vanshika Nachnani, chief financial officer of North Marin Community Services in Novato, is one of North Bay Business Journal's CFO Recognition Awards winners for 2019.
Nachnani manages the financial resources of the organization including accounting, finance, organization-wide budgets, and investments in accordance with generally accepted accounting principles and organization/contract policies and procedures; safeguards assets through the maintenance of proper controls. Participates as a member of the senior management team in the development and implementation of organization-wide policies and programs that will contribute to its overall success.
Also manages the accounting operations of the organization including budgeting, auditing, payroll, accounts payable and receivable, general ledger and financial reporting in accordance with generally accepted accounting principles and internal policies and procedures. Oversees development and implementation of financial systems. Interprets accounting reports to management and board.
Responsible for HR functions which includes administration of Health Benefits, Family leave & Workers Compensation. Directs a group of functions for the organization including human resources, information technology, office services and facilities and grounds.
Nachnani has extensive finance and accounting management experience spanning all accounting oversight. A financial leader who enjoys working at both a strategic and hands on level with a very collaborative management style and brings a wealth of nonprofit accounting experience.
Nachnani speaks four languages, certified by the American Council of Teaching Foreign Languages. Holds a master's degree in accounting and finance.
Number of company employees: 60
Professional background:Over 20 years' experience in non-profit financial management
Education: Masters degree, accounting and finance
How has the current economic environment changed how you carry out your job at your current employer?
The current economic environment at the local micro level and the larger macro level continues to be robust, which means the potential for donations is in the expanding cycle. This has motivated us to reach out to a larger circle of donors to attract more funding for our programs.
What are the two key challenges your industry faces?
The gap between the haves and have nots has increased. The number of individuals needing our support and service has increased, thus leading us to think out of the box and support the maximum possible. The cost of providing these services continues to rise and puts us in a tough balancing act.
Tell us about a recent success your company has had.
On Jan 1, 2018, the Novato Youth Center and the Novato Human Needs Center successfully merged and together we are now the North Marin Community Services. This merger allowed for a transformational structural change that has dramatically improved human services within North Marin for the underserved. We serve 5,500 people annually through a multi-generational continuum of education, enrichment and support services.
What advice would you give to young emerging financial leaders?
Develop connections, stay relevant, and be constantly forward thinking. Choose to be a part of a company that aligns with your values and be a part of a strong leadership team that has a strong work ethic and likes to professionally grow. Use your voice to ask questions, offer thoughts and solutions. Focus on the results. Embrace the traits that are yours, your compassion, your passion and your empathy. These are an important part of who you are. Think outside the box, your career path doesn't have to follow everyone else's. Risks can be rewarding. Find a passion besides your job, be happy, take time for yourself and enjoy life.
How do you think your business will change in the next five years?
There appears to be an increased willingness in the community to contribute back. We should use this opportunity to improve the economic viability of the program. The programs that need additional funding should be presented to the potential donors. We need to continue our outreach efforts to promote our programs and enhance our services through innovative solutions. The number of community members needing support is also expected to go up. The cost of living particularly the cost of housing will increase the strain on the finances of the local population. The services provided by us can help remediate some of these pains our community will face in the upcoming years.
What is a decision you wish you hadn't made? What did you learn from it?
I wish that I hadn't worked for the for profit corporate world that did not align with my core values. Learning lesson: Love what you do and never again enter a career path that is not a fit.
What is your most memorable business experience?
I have valued the continued support and encouragement by our Board of Directors and CEO throughout my professional journey to become a CFO. The opportunity to build a Finance and Admin team over the years and my part in bringing them together, empowering and mentoring them has also been a great experience. I've had the pleasure of working with many smart and talented individuals.
What is your greatest business success?
This is my 10th year at the North Marin Community Services and over the years, we have built a strong financial system and internal controls that result in clean annual audits. A strong liquidity ratio that would sustain up to 1.3 years of operations, and no debt or mortgages on our two buildings. Our recent merger that seemed seamless to the outside world is another great business success.
What was your toughest business decision?
Personnel decisions are always hard especially during restructures. We are in the business of serving people, and staff are our most important asset, so our several strategic downsizing decisions were very difficult.
What would your friends and family be surprised to find out about you?
My spirituality guides my daily work and is tremendously important to the success of my professional self.
Tell us about your community involvement activities.
Always been involved with non profits whether its volunteering or working for them. Growing up in India I tutored children after school; Read to children at the local library; Volunteered at the orphanage and senior retirement homes; as a parent involved at the elementary, middle and high school levels volunteering for different projects as needed;