March 22, 2019 As Seen in Long Island Business News (LIBN)
Clearly, the engine that drives the goals of not-for-profits is their financial strength or fiscal fitness. The challenge for most organizations becomes, not only securing funds, but as importantly, managing the governance of the grants and donations they receive. Time-consuming reporting and detailed record keeping often sideline an organization’s day-to-day mission. Today, many nonprofits are seeing real benefits from outsourcing some or all of these necessary, but mission-derailing, accounting and reporting functions.
Reporting: Complex and Ever-Changing
So much is constantly changing in the world of fiscal reporting. In fact, recently, the Financial Accounting Standards Board (FASB) made some major changes in reporting standards that may catch many nonprofits off guard when compiling their calendar year 2018 financial activity.
“Under the new guidelines, which will be phased in this year, the reporting requirements for audits and for the IRS have changed.” says Bob Jahelka, managing partner at DSJCPA in Westbury, LI. “Unless fully aware of all these changes, your staff may not be properly compiling their reports and financial statements. We are helping nonprofits remain in full compliance during this latest transition.”
Jahelka explains that the beauty of outsourcing accounting and reporting functions to a CPA firm is the knowledge and insight we are able to provide to the not-for-profit. “Whether you bring in a bookkeeper or a high-level accountant to service your specific accounting needs, you are, in effect, benefitting from the direction and expertise of our entire CPA firm,” he says. “We are providing a deeper level of know how and awareness when it comes to governance and that is essential in the nonprofit world.”
Governance: Key to Maintaining NFP Status and Funding
Whether presenting financial statement findings at a quarterly board meeting, working with a nonprofit client to develop budgets or handling grant reconciliation by systematically examining allocations, it all boils down to compliance. Not-for-profits that fail to carefully carry out the requirements of a private or government grant, or that have reporting inaccuracies, run the risk of losing their grant funding. Likewise, failure to submit proper tax filings can jeopardize their not-for-profit status.
The oversight and governance that a CPA firm provides on behalf of nonprofits ensures that audit books are accurate and maintained properly. It assures that reports and filings are precise and timely. It also keeps your organization in full compliance with complex grant requirements.
Helping Nonprofits Save Money
“One of our goals when we work with not-for-profit clients is to help them save money. Greater savings helps these organizations advance their mission,” says Anthony Carrella, partner at DSJCPA and nonprofit specialist. In the case of nursing homes, DSJCPA methodologies help maintain the accuracy of billing and can safeguard clients from costly and unnecessary fines that might be imposed due to inadvertent double billing.
“Our pre-audit preparation saves organizations from the high cost of audit overruns. A smooth audit is like an “A” on our report card – it demonstrates that we’ve done our job well,” says Jahelka. “At times, we serve as an internal auditor and review our clients’ systems and controls,” Carrella adds. “By doing a month-end review of their closeout, for instance, we can see if their books and records are accurate and comply with governmental reporting or if new systems need to be put in place.”
Helping Advance the Cause
In addition to saving organizations money, DSJCPA has had a hand in seeing more than one organization grow. “By data mining, we offer nonprofits a thorough financial analysis, budget projections and meaningful reports to help them stay on track and aligned with their goals,” says Carrella.
“One of our clients is an outstanding example of growth. It’s a private foundation that started with one in-house accountant and a CPA from our firm. Today, the organization has two floors of accountants and still retains us for ongoing oversight,” says Jahelka.
Another way that DSJCPA has helped nonprofits grow is with its expertise in grant writing. “We know what to say and how to present the numbers to make powerfully-effective grant proposals,” Carrella adds.
Some not-for-profits have modest needs when it comes to accounting — others are funded by dozens of grants and have intricate reporting requirements. Whether you need a proficient part-time bookkeeper or an interim CFO, DSJCPA has the resources and experience to help achieve your nonprofit’s goals, accelerate its growth and ensure its future.