Finance and Accounting

Carnival of Nonprofit Consultants #22

The blog carnival is here again. Although this week was an open call for posts, I noticed a theme--all the posts relate to planning for 2007. Hopefully through this advice, we can all become better nonprofits in 2007.

1. Gene Tagaki of the Nonprofit Law blog discusses the, "IRS Exempt Organizations Division 2007 Priorities," in his post.

2. Alan at the California Association of Nonprofits shares the, "2007 mileage reimbursement rates set forth by the IRS," in his Nonprofit Accounting Bootcamp blog.

3. Nancy Swartz of the Getting Attention blog, discusses the importance of putting your tag line in your e-mail signature, in her "Your World, Your Chance to Make it Better," blog post.

4. "Cause related marketing comes of age," in Paul Jones's cause related marking blog.

5. Tracy of Frequence Inc. blog entry shares about the, "Top Ten Ways to Prevent Employee Theft in your Organization."

6. Holly at the NTEN Connect blog post is called, "Protect Your .org."

7. Jeff of the Donor Power Blog, shares with us how to focus on our donors and not ourselves in his, "The Invisible Donor" blog post.

The Bamboo Project will be hosting next week's Blog Carnival of Nonprofit Consultants.

Nonprofit Research Rocks! ARNOVA Conference

I recently attended the Association for Research on Nonprofits and Voluntary Action (ARNOVA) conference in Chicago. (My alma mater--North Park University was one of the host colleges.) This conference was a great gathering of Nonprofit Professors, Researchers and Practitioners who presented relevant research findings and presentations about the Nonprofit Sector.

I especially enjoyed the session about Nonprofit Fraud which reported about some nonprofit fraud statistics as well as provided suggestions how to prevent it. Some of the suggestions included:

Budgeting for Nonprofits

If your fiscal year is July-June then you already have your annual budget in place, however for those of us that have a fiscal year January-December the budgeting process has begun!

I have a 3 step method for preparing the annual budget for my organization.

1. I make a list of the staff for the organization and then I figure out how many hours each staff person will spend working on each program, as well as how much time they will spend on administration and fundraising time. I do this through conducting a time study--seeing how each staff member spends their time for one particular week, or by looking at staff time allocation from the previous year.

Should my nonprofit do a Review or an Audit?

A common question that comes up for many nonprofits-Should my nonprofit do a review or an audit?

Since I just finished submitting Aspiration's financials to our accountant who will be filing our annual 990 tax return and conducting our annual review, I thought it would be a great time to answer that question.

A financial review is when an accountant asks the organization to submit a series of financial documents. The accountant then reviews those documents and presents the financial reports to the organization in which it is good practice for the Board of Directors to vote on the review presented by the accountant. Review’s generally cost $2-6k or less.

Travel Reimbursements for Nonprofit Staff

I just got back from traveling to Boston for work and reimbursements have been on my mind. I wanted to share a reimbursement practice that I learned from the last nonprofit I worked for.

It's often a hardship for nonprofit staff to pay out of pocket for expenses while traveling so we implemented a policy to provide staff a per diem while traveling on behalf of the organization.

To figure out the per diem rate we used the domestic per diem rates set forth by the U.S. General Service Administration. These rates are broken down by location/lodging/meals and incidentals. The map on the website makes it easy to find a location and per diem amount for that location.  

Working with Vendors/Consultants/Contractors

I have worked with a lot of vendors/consultants/contractors ranging from Copy Machine vendors, phone/wiring vendors,  to accountants, web designers, and more. So I thought I'd write a post about 4 steps I follow when working with vendors.

1. When researching vendors I get multiple quotes to make a comparison of prices and services and always ask for a list of nonprofit specific client references. Then I call the references. A lot of vendors say they work with nonprofits, however I like to verify that they have many nonprofit clients and those clients are happy with their work.

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