Nonprofits Sneak Peek: NetSuite 2021 Release 1 Delivers New Planning, Budgeting and Cost Control Capabilities

Rashmi Singh, Nonprofit Industry Principal Product Manager

February 5, 2021

The past year has been especially challenging for nonprofits, especially those with budgets of less than $5 million. The Association of Fundraising Professionals’ Coronavirus Response Survey found that 56% percent of nonprofit leaders(opens in new tab) were concerned about a drop off in fundraising.

Meanwhile, the most hopeful development has been the continued growth of private foundation and donor-advised funds.

Whether a nonprofit is looking to tighten its belt or to improve accountability to major donors, NetSuite 2021 Release 1 delivers the program planning, budgeting and cost control capabilities to fuel financial sustainability.

Delivering Your Mission

  • New soft credit capabilities recognize constituents who help bring in donations. It allows multiple constituents to be attached as soft credit recipients on a transaction. This helps a nonprofit precisely measure the total giving impact of a constituent.


  • New fundraising reports in NetSuite 2021 Release 1 help identify donors who have given in the past but haven’t donated this year yet. It makes it easy to generate a list of lapsed donors. It also shows the recency and frequency of previous gifts from these lapsed donors.

Smart Financials and Operational Automation

  • The new expense commitments and budget validation functionality prevents nonprofits from overspending by validating purchase requests and orders against available budget, ensuring that budgets are closely followed.
  • Budget versus actual reporting by segments clarifies the financial picture, displaying total and available budget, actuals and commitments by grant, program or department. This provides up-to-date insight into how incurred expenses and commitments match up with available budget, as well as the flexibility to customize reporting when doing multi-year grant budgeting.
  • The enhanced balancing segment feature enables transaction searches to show balancing by segment status, and lets users identify or set up notifications when transactions are unbalanced.
  • On the cash management front, the global bank feeds feature allows for automated importing of bank and credit card data into NetSuite from banks in Europe, the U.S. and Canada using the Bank Feeds SuiteApp. Banking integration support has now been expanded to Asia, Australia and New Zealand, increasing efficiency and simplifing the tedious task of manual reconciliations.
  • The introduction of a centralized purchasing and billing feature consolidates purchases across multi-subsidiary organizations and generates vendor payments from a single location, resulting in a more efficient purchasing process. This can reduce purchase order volume and automate corresponding cross-charges. Ultimately, it delivers better spend management and increased productivity.
  • With SuiteApprovals email approval, users can now  review, approve or reject transactions on the go by simply clicking on a link in an email. Review and audits of email approval actions appear in the approval log before they are updated in the system, improving flexibility and creating quicker transaction approvals.

Optimizing the Project Lifecycle

  • Project managers can initiate purchases directly from projects with new project purchase automation and visibility functionalityWith a view of project purchase transactions they can more easily route purchase approvals. As a result purchasing and project management personnel can collaborate more effectively, and the simplified user experience lets project managers easily view how purchases are affecting projects.
  • With a new “retract” button, employees can easily correct weekly timesheets before they’re approved, eliminating wasted effort by employees, approvers and administrators alike.
  • With new functionality, managers can set limits for each expense line in a project to adhere to policy, while new filters allow for control of policies based on billable line items. The combination of controls and notifications ensures alignment with a nonprofit’s policies.

Continuous Employee Engagement

  • SuitePeople HR’s new time-off auto-approval function provides the ability to auto-approve time-off requests by employees or types of time-off, and supervisors are alerted when direct reports file for auto-approved time-off requests. This enables nonprofits to simplify approval for absences such as jury duty, parental leave or bereavement.
  • Enhancements to SuitePeople Performance Management* support the pursuit and assessment of goals by providing a portlet for the employee center, visualizations for individuals and teams, goal format and performance metric descriptions, and the ability to search and review current and historical goals. A new SuiteAnalytics workbook enable performance analysis, and employees can engage with their goals data from anywhere within NetSuite.

Learn More About NetSuite 2021 Release 1

Any customer who’s gone through previous NetSuite refreshes knows that no blog post can do justice to all of the new functions and capabilities in NetSuite 2021 Release 1.

For a more complete picture of what the new features can deliver to nonprofits, be sure to read the release notes(opens in new tab). And if you’re new to the release process, learn more in SuiteAnswers(opens in new tab).

Most importantly, don’t forget to request access to your Release Preview(opens in new tab) test account. Nothing substitutes for getting to test how all the new features will work with your data, workflows and customizations.

Connect with your NetSuite Account Manager.(opens in new tab)

*Available in North America only.

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