Tag Archives: Recommended Reading

Changes Ahead

This post is all about me, the proprietor of this here site as I have, what I feel, is a big announcement. Life is never static and to illustrate the point I will be moving up to Washington State to start a new position. This comes along just after the birth of our second son last month. It is an exciting and crazy time as we pack up our lives to ship north and get our house ready for the marketplace, but I will try to in another post or two before the big move next month.

I won’t be taking on any more clients, but the work I will be doing (see below) will keep me happily involved with nonprofit accounting, consulting and doing trainings. I’ll also keep blogging and tweeting but under the auspices of my new employer. I have no plans to take this site down so it will remain as a resource for the nonprofit community. I’ll let you all know when and where I start posting updated content in a future post.

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Changes to GAAP and Other News

readingThis week I’ll bring to your attention two new books that you might find interesting, guidance on what to think about if you are contemplating a merger, a FASB and GAAP update and this weeks Question and Answer.

Nonprofit Legal Issues and Volunteer Management

The above two topics a what these two books form the Nonprofit Risk management Center deal with.  EXPOSED: A Legal field guide for nonprofit executives, will be a handy reference for those who have ever needed, or may yet need, to contact a lawyer. It is written specifically for the non-lawyer who still needs to know what about the possible legal issues their nonprofit might face. Click the above link and you can read a free preview.

No Surprises: Harmonizing Risk and Reward in Volunteer Management — 5th Edition, helps nonprofit organizations balance the risks and rewards of volunteer management. This book will help make sure you are protecting your organization and those who serve it.

Nonprofit Mergers

Are You a Good Candidate for a Merger? This is what the latest Tools You Can Use from the Fieldstone Alliance asks. The article poses eleven question nonprofit organizations should ask themselves as they contemplate a merger and gives more resources to go to. The Nonprofits Assistance Fund also updated their good idea about how to find a merger partner here.

FASB and GAAP Update for Nonprofits

For some time the Financial Accounting Standards Board (FASB) has been working to codify Generally Accepted Accounting Principals (GAAP). The end result will be a new coding system for the existing rules, not new accounting rules, with the idea to make it easier to track down relevant information to answer questions. It is set to go into effect September 15, 2009. If you would like to check it out for your self and take a look at the section for not-for-profit entities you can go here to sign up for free access.

A Questionable Relationship

Question: The Board Treasurer and the Bookkeeper of the nonprofit I work with are husband and wife. The Bookkeeper opens the mail and makes the bank deposit as well as maintaining the records on who gave what. The Treasurer manages the accounting and pays the bills. Is this a breach of ethics?

Answer: Not exactly a breach of ethics unless your organization has a code of ethical standards that prevents a relationship like this existing. But the possibility for fraud to occur is there. Perhaps more importantly, the appearance of the possibility of fraud to occur is there. I would advise that perhaps duties should be shifted to separate these folks from having responsibility over one another and to reduce the chances that they could collude together to defraud your nonprofit.

There is always the risk of alienating folks dedicated to the mission of the organization by injecting more “business like” activities such as risk management and internal controls. But that needs to be balanced with making sure the organization’s funds are well cared for. I think if it is explained correctly, most people would be willing to make changes to protect the nonprofit so it can keep doing the work it does.

Nonprofit News Update

roundupThis weeks update features a great piece on using Social Capital, more human resource topics that didn’t make it in to the last post and the latest from the Internal Revenue Service that might affect your organization.

The Power of Social Capital

The Fieldstone Alliance has a great e-newsletter and this topic caught me eye: Mapping Your Networks to Mine Valuable Resources. From the article:

After Exploring all possible options for reducing expenses and increasing revenues, many nonprofits are stymied—how can they survive this downturn? Every nonprofit has another valuable resource that they can tap—social capital. Positive, productive relationships represent social capital, which is just as important (well, almost as important) as money in the bank.

Social capital has been described as the resources available to people based on the networks their relationships give them access to. Just as a skilled plumber knows how the water is piped throughout the house, a skilled nonprofit or community leader knows how social capital flows through their networks or community.

Check out the article for more.

More on Nonprofits Human Resource Issues

Are you, or have you ever had to draft a severance agreement? This article talks about a new publication from the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission that may be of help, even though some are renaming the document, “How to Sue Your Employer.”

Exempt employees can present a challenge to employers, nonprofit or for-profit, especially when it comes to the issue of docking an employee’s pay.  Make a mistake and you can violate their exempt status and open your self up to a world of financial and legal hurt. This article and this article offer some guidance that may be of help. You should also make sure there are not any separate, or even more stringent state rules that may apply to your organization as well.

IRS Updates and News

For those who have been waiting, efile.form990.org is ready to help you through filling out your 2008 form 990. They can also help you with several state filings as well, please do pay them a visit.

The final regulations for the 990-N, the electronic post card filing for small nonprofits have been released. No changes from the draft version, but it should be noted that organizations that are required to file the form and fail to do so for three consecutive years will automatically lose their tax-exempt status. Revocations will begin in May 2010.

The latest Form 990 filing tip is all about related organizations and schedule R. What is a related organization you ask? From the IRS:

Related organizations are organizations that stand in a parent/subsidiary relationship, brother/sister relationship, or supporting/supported organization relationship. Supporting and supported organizations are defined in section 509(a)(3) and 509(f)(3). Determination of the first two relationships depends on a definition of control set forth in the Form 990 instructions glossary and Schedule R instructions. The definition of control depends on whether the organization has owners or persons with beneficial interests.

Finally, the IRS wants us to make sure we handle donated property and non-cash contribution transactions the right way. Here is a page with several more links that might be of interest to any organization that receives non-cash contributions.