5 ways nonprofits can prepare for an audit
No not-for-profit looks forward to annual audits. But regular maintenance and preparation specific to an impending audit can make the process less disruptive. We recommend taking the following steps. 1. Reconcile routinely You shouldn’t wait until audit time to reconcile accounts — for example, cash, receivables, pledges, payables, accruals and revenues. Reconcile general ledger account balances to supporting schedules (bank reconciliation, receivables and payable aging) monthly or at least quarterly. And don’t forget to reconcile database information provided and maintained by nonaccounting departments, such as contributions, events revenue, registration revenue and sponsorships. 2. Prepare supporting documentation Collect all supporting documentation
Do you know the new accounting rules for gifts in kind?
If your not-for-profit organization accepts contributions of nonfinancial assets, such as land, services and supplies, you should know about Financial Accounting Standards Board (FASB) rules approved last year. Accounting Standards Update (ASU), Not-for-Profit Entities (Topic 958): Presentation and Disclosures by Not-for-Profit Entities for Contributed Nonfinancial Assets is intended to increase transparency around gifts in kind. Inflated values The updated rules were generated in response to concerns about U.S. wholesale market prices being used to determine the value of donated pharmaceuticals that can’t legally be sold in the United States. A donor, for example, could contribute such drugs for use only
Gifts in kind: New reporting requirements for nonprofits
On September 17, the Financial Accounting Standards Board (FASB) issued an accounting rule that will provide more detailed information about noncash contributions charities and other not-for-profit organizations receive known as “gifts in kind.” Here are the details. Need for change Gifts in kind can play an important role in ensuring a charity functions effectively. They may include various goods, services and time. Examples of contributed nonfinancial assets include: Fixed assets, such as land, buildings and equipment, The use of fixed assets or utilities, Materials and supplies, such as food, clothing or pharmaceuticals, Intangible assets, and Recognized contributed services. Increased scrutiny by
Is it time to outsource finance and accounting?
Outsourcing may appeal to organizations that are currently struggling with mounting overhead costs during the COVID-19 crisis. By outsourcing, you convert certain fixed overhead costs associated with compensating and supporting employees into variable costs that can be scaled back in an economic downturn — or dialed up in times of growth and transition. One department that’s ripe with outsourcing opportunities is finance and accounting. There are many external providers of such specialized, time-consuming services as payroll processing, tax preparation and bookkeeping. You can even outsource your controller or CFO function. But do the benefits of outsourcing these tasks outweigh the
Conflict-of-interest policies are too important for nonprofits to neglect
Does your not-for-profit organization have a conflict-of-interest policy in place? Do your board members, trustees and key employees understand how the policy affects them? If you answer “no” to either (or both) of these questions, you have some work to do. A duty Nonprofit board officers, directors, trustees and key employees all must avoid conflicts of interest because it’s their duty to do so. Any direct or indirect financial interest in a transaction or arrangement that might benefit one of these individuals personally could result in bad publicity, the loss of donor and public support, and even the revocation of
Auditing grant compliance
Has your organization received any public or private grants to fund its growth? Grants sometimes require an independent audit by a qualified accounting firm. Here’s what grant recipients should know to help facilitate matters and ensure compliance at all levels. Federal compliance Federal awards require compliance with the Uniform Administrative Requirements, Cost Principles, and Audit Requirements for Federal Awards (also known as 2 CFR Part 200). This guidance requires any entity that expends $750,000 or more of federal assistance received for its operations to undergo a “single audit,” which is a rigorous, organizationwide examination. To provide grant recipients with
Does your nonprofit need a CFO?
Your not-for-profit’s ability to pursue its mission depends greatly on its financial health and integrity. If your nonprofit is growing and your executives are struggling to juggle financial responsibilities, it may be time to hire a chief financial officer (CFO). Core responsibilities Generally, the nonprofit CFO (also known as the director of finance) is a senior-level position charged with oversight of accounting and finances. He or she works closely with the executive director, finance committee and treasurer and serves as a business partner to your program heads. A CFO reports to the executive director or board of directors on
5 questions can help nonprofits avoid accounting and tax mistakes
To err is human, but some errors are more consequential — and harder to fix — than others. Most not-for-profit organizations can’t afford to lose precious financial resources, so you need to do whatever possible to minimize accounting and tax mistakes. Get started by considering the following five questions: Have we formally documented our accounting processes? All aspects of managing your nonprofit’s money should be reflected in a detailed, written accounting manual. This should include how to accept and deposit donations and pay bills. How much do we rely on our accounting software? These days, accounting software is essential to