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Nonprofits: NetSuite 2020 Release 1 Delivers Automations and Tighter Financial Controls

Productivity and efficiency are the watchwords in the NetSuite 2020 Release 1. With Release 1, nonprofit finance staff can better focus on the big picture rather than get lost in the tedium of manual, error prone business processes. NetSuite 2020 Release 1 has improved banking integration, workflow approval, project budgeting and vendor prepayments. These time-consuming and error-prone tasks are now automated, freeing up a controller’s day for more strategic work:

  • Cash visibility and predictability are vital for any nonprofit, but with limited staffing and time, it’s a challenge to stay ahead. Nonprofits can now link their bank accounts to NetSuite using the Bank Feeds SuiteApp to seamlessly, securely and automatically integrate their banking data into NetSuite.
  • In NetSuite 2020 Release 1, automated bank data reconciliation takes the headache out of managing banking transactions. Bank feeds automatically import banking transactions and account balances from the user's bank or financial institution directly into their NetSuite account, eliminating the need to import bank files. This ensures accounts and records are up to date and accurate. 
  •  With Fixed Asset Management in NetSuite 2020 Release 1, users will now be able to use a dashboard to show the health of their fixed assets. In this release, the user will be able to see the processes that require action and what corrections to make, when the action was corrected and by whom; and they can also run a scan of those processes.



  • There’s also great news for accounts payable staff! Starting in NetSuite 2020 Release 1, vendor prepayment can be linked to an existing purchase order, either by a click in the purchase order form or by specifying a purchase order in the vendor prepayment form.

    In addition, the new optional auto-apply feature can add automatic vendor prepayment applications on to bills that are linked to the same purchase order. Auto-apply can reduce the complexity and number of steps it takes to manage purchases and bills, taking out the tedium of manually reconciling payments to vendors.
  • NetSuite 2020 Release 1 brings some administrative control improvements to expense reporting. Accountants now can recategorize the GL account that an expense report line posts to without changing or creating new expense categories. The ability to address security and privacy concerns, including GDPR standards, have been addressed so that users who access reports can also access receipts and accompanying documentation.


  • NetSuite 2020 Release 1 also features cost control improvements. It helps managers get better visibility into which costs are being billed and gain more control of established approval processes.

    In the previous release, enhancements to SuiteApprovals gave more flexibility to business owners for expense reports, and that has now been extended further to support requisitions. Approval routing now allows users to route documents to employees across organizations and subsidiaries for review with a custom approval chain.

    The SuiteApprovals Workflow is a key ingredient in helping organizations efficiently manage complex projects and partnerships while maintaining a secure operating environment, a factor taking on increasing importance. As expectations of greater transparency and seamless communication have raised the bar for accountability and workflow efficiency, a robust approval system is the most effective investment an organization can make. 
  • Many nonprofits manage their project budgets in spreadsheets, which on the surface is easy, but can lead to expensive mistakes that are time-consuming to fix. NetSuite 2020 Release 1 adds enhancements to the project budgeting process, starting with the project initiation. Now, with project budgets:

    • Users are able to define a fully customizable work breakdown structure within the budgets, so that they can track costs and gain visibility into how the budget was used, not only at the project level but also at the cross-project level. Automated cost calculations increase accuracy.
    • Activity codes allow users to track like costs across all projects- for example travel expenses can be tracked against all projects, not just one.
    •  A crucial aspect for project budgeting is to enable budget updates before the project starts but also after the project has already started (re-budgeting). Re-budgeting is supported with Advanced Project Budgets through auto-versioning and also through the ability to always re-estimate the projects estimated time to completion.
  • Nonprofit project managers can gain insight into their project health using project management and charge-based billing. Users can now see the impact on revenue if time is set as billable, and they can also see forecast milestone and fixed date billings as well as other billing types on a project. This feature can be enabled in the project profitability configuration. By enabling this feature, you can include the forecast and actual charges in the project profitability reports.
  • NetSuite 2020 Release 1 extends custom transaction flexibility by adding two new custom transaction types for sales and purchases. These types allow users to create invoice, cash sale credit memo- or bill-like custom transactions. Nonprofits can create their own unique transaction types, such as pledge write-offs.

    Custom transaction types inherit most of the standard sales and purchase functionality such as support for items, taxes and revenue recognition. Users can define a unique name for the transaction, create numbering sequences as well as define permissions and the GL impact of the transaction.

    Partners and Platform Services Group (PSG) teams will also be able to include these transactions in bundles or SuiteApps so that it is easy for customers to install predefined custom transaction types.

Learn More About NetSuite 2020 Release 1

There are many new and improved features in NetSuite 2020 Release 1. The Release Notes are available for you to learn more about the all features in this release.

New to the release process? Learn more about it here.

Finally, be sure to request access to your Release Preview account. There, you can test to see how the new features will work with your own data and get a jumpstart on maximizing the impact of NetSuite 2020 Release 1.