It’s been a challenging few years. Yet, thanks to hard work, resilience, courage—and in some cases, good luck—vibrant nonprofit organizations have survived and thrived. As the pandemic (hopefully) runs its course, it’s a good time to assess and plan. The good news is there’s a team of financial and organizational advisors ready to assist.
Here are several best practices for how to best work with your CPA and other advisors:
Financial management and compliance: This is the core of your relationship with your trusted financial advisors. Your CPA is eager to help you run your organization in a financially responsible and efficient way, from basic accounting practices, budgeting, and reporting to forecasting and regulatory compliance.
Your financial advisors can help you with more specific issues as well, such as maintaining tight internal controls, policies and procedures, specialized software, and technology.
Having a financial “reset” conversation every year gives you the opportunity to chat with each other about what’s ahead in terms of new regulations and how you might improve your organization’s financial efficiencies.
Purchase and sale decisions: If your organization is considering expanding its footprint, investing in new equipment, selling a significant asset, moving, or making a similarly big decision, talk to your CPA before taking action. He or she will have ideas about how to structure purchases or sales to be most advantageous to the organization. As always, the earlier you get your trusted advisors involved in these types of decisions, the better.
Ideas and opinions: It’s important for nonprofit leaders to have a sounding board to vet ideas and hone opinions. Your advisory team works with clients in many types of industries and can share a variety of perspectives and experiences. Sometimes it’s helpful to just have a good listener for a confidential conversation about an employment matter or ethical dilemma.
Board education: Ask your CPA to present your audited financial statements to the board in person. The board must understand the financial statements to govern effectively, and it’s wise to establish open lines of communication with your auditors.
Board recruitment: It’s likely that your CPA and his or her colleagues serve on various boards and have therefore seen the best (and worst!) of nonprofit governance. Your advisors can weigh in on which skills you need on your board and, based on their community involvement, may even have suggestions for individuals to fill various roles.
Staffing: Your CPA can help with staffing issues by identifying skills gaps, reviewing job descriptions, and sharing thoughts on workflows. In addition, your CPA firm can provide outsourced services from basic bookkeeping to CFO duties, depending on your needs and auditor independence requirements.
Reviewing documents: In addition to having your attorney draft and review important documents, have your CPA review them, too. These documents include bylaws, insurance policies, and contracts. Your CPA can give an opinion on how these agreements can be structured in light of your specific organizational circumstances.
Deterring fraud: Nonprofit organizations are often susceptible to fraud because of limited operating budgets and fewer resources to protect themselves. Your CPA can assist with training to increase vigilance up and down the organizational chart and help executives set a tone of zero tolerance. Your CPA can also help to implement secure internal controls, which are a key step to deterring fraud.
Hantzmon Wiebel is your ally, with your organization’s best interests in mind. Contact us today so we can start talking about the best way to protect your organization’s assets and set up a successful future.
Disclaimer of Liability
Our firm provides the information in this article for general guidance only, and does not constitute the provision of legal advice, tax advice, accounting services, investment advice or professional consulting of any kind. The information provided herein should not be used as a substitute for consultation with professional tax, accounting, legal or other competent advisors. Before making any decision or taking any action, you should consult a professional advisor who has been provided with all pertinent facts relevant to your particular situation. Tax articles in this blog are not intended to be used, and cannot be used by any taxpayer, for the purpose of avoiding accuracy-related penalties that may be imposed on the taxpayer. The information is provided “as is,” with no assurance or guarantee of completeness, accuracy or timeliness of the information, and without warranty of any kind, express or implied, including but not limited to warranties of performance, merchantability and fitness for a particular purpose.