Monthly Archives

January 2021

Technology Time Saving Tips for Busy Nonprofits

By | Nonprofit, Technology | No Comments

With very new technology launched into the marketplace comes new challenges. Most promise us some type of benefit, usually the benefit of time—saving time in our busy days.

Yet, how many actually keep the promise of saving valuable time? Most new technologies can, in fact, save time if given half the chance and the right insight into their valuable features.

In this tech Q & A, we’ve put together some of our favorite time-saving features. From email to Excel, we’ve got it covered.

Save Time with Your Email

Is email ruling your life? Are you faced with a full inbox every morning? Getting spammed by the same companies over and over again despite frantically clicking “unsubscribe?”

You’re not alone. Adobe estimates the average worker spends a combination of 5 hours or more per day reading and responding to both personal and professional emails. And while that seems like a lot, the amount of time workers spend with their emails has actually decreased since the company began collecting data on email use in 2015.

So how can you spend less time on email and more time working on other tasks?

  • Set up rules in your email program to move specific types of emails into their own folder of workspace. Each email program varies, so the specific “how to” is something you may need to look up for your email program. Emails that do not require immediate action, such as meeting invitations, can be organized into their own separate folder and responded to later.
  • Establish a rule so that automated replies—out of office notifications, for example—are also sent to a separate task folder. This way, they won’t clutter up your inbox.
  • Is a company not adhering to your unsubscribe request? Send their messages into the “folder of doom” in your inbox, a folder where you can delete all messages once a week. Now that will give you a feeling of satisfaction!
  • Working a specific project that requires your full attention? Use those rules in your email program again to divert specific messages into a “priority” folder.

Outlook and Gmail both offer the ability to color-code message alerts, such as the “star” icon in Gmail. This feature lets you color-code the stars so all messages pertaining to one topic can be sorted quickly and easily.

Excel Tips and Time Savers

Many Excel users have certain preferences such as the format of numbers and dates or the width of specific columns. One time-saving tip that’s sure to please picky Excel users is to create Excel templates with your unique preferences in mind.

To create a personal template, open a fresh, new Excel file. Set the parameters for the entire file by clicking the box at the upper left corner and highlighting all cells in the open worksheet. Now, choose the format you prefer such as currency, accounting, data, etc. Save the file as a template by File>Options>Save. A line should appear called “Default personal template location.” Make sure this is chosen, and you’ve created a place to save your templates. Moving forward, new templates can be saved using the “Save As” command selected from the ribbon or dropdown menu and saved to the personal template location.

The Journal of Accountancy offers a step-by-step tutorial demonstrating this process.

Save More Time with the Right Software

You can save even more time by using the right software for your nonprofit. Not sure what to choose? Call Welter Consulting.

Welter Consulting bridges people and technology together for effective solutions for nonprofit organizations. We offer software and services that can help you with your accounting needs. Please contact Welter Consulting at 206-605-3113 for more information.

New Year, New Guidelines – 2021 Mileage, Retirement Plan Limits, and More

By | Accounting, Tax | No Comments

It’s 2021, and we all hope this year brings health, happiness, and prosperity to all. With the new year comes new guidelines for many aspects of accounting, so let’s dive right into the changes, updates, and other information you’ll need for your business accounting.

CARES Act Rules

The CARES Act provided economic relief to American workers and healthcare workers during the coronavirus crisis. First passed in March, the act was intended to provide aid and economic support to workers negatively impacted by the COVID-19 crisis. Several components of the ACT provided direct financial aid as well as assistance to businesses and individuals.

Several elements are involved in the CARES Act relief bill, but the ones potentially impacting nonprofits and their employees include:

  • Penalty for early withdrawal of IRA funds is waived on up to $100,000 withdrawn for coronavirus reasons.
  • For nonitemizers, up to $300 of cash donations may be deducted.
  • For itemizers, deduct charitable contributions of up to100% of AGI (adjusted gross income).

Nonprofits should seek to educate their donors about these changes to encourage additional donations. The Journal of Accountancy provides a tax season preview that offers additional insights into various effects and impacts of the CARES Act.

Additional information is available from Welter Consulting on the provisions of the CARES act for nonprofit organizations.

Mileage Reimbursement Changes

The business mileage rate is 56 cents per mile. Business mileage is no longer deductible as an unreimbursed employee business expense. Charitable services rate is 14 cents per mile.

Retirement Plan Limits

The maximum employee 401K deferral remains at $19,500 with $6,500 additional “catch up” for employees age 50 and older. The overall plan limit moves from $57,000 to $58,000. The defined benefit plan maximum is at $230,000.

The Roth IRA contribution limit is $6,000 with an added $1,000 for “catch up” for 50 and over. The Roth IRA contribution limit phaseout (MAGI) is $196,000 to $206,000 for married, filing jointly, and $124,000 to $139,000 for single head of household. Married, filing separately ranges from 0 to $10,000.

The SEP minimum required compensation is $600. The compensation limit for determining maximum allowable contributions by employer is $285,000.

Social Security Changes

The Social Security Administration also published their set of guidelines for 2021. This includes the number of credits needed to accrue from time in the workforce to qualify for social security, and much more. All employees of nonprofit organizations must still pay into the social security system; working for a tax-exempt organization does not exempt individuals from paying taxes, including social security and Medicare taxes.

Looking for Additional Information?

The IRS now has an opt-in form for exempt organizations to sign up for their ongoing news briefs. Each news brief contains an update about new materials for exempt organizations and links to the IRS publication pertaining to the update. It’s a time-saving service for nonprofits and available directly on the IRS website.

As the new year progresses, stay informed of the latest news from the accountancy and tax world for nonprofits right here at Welter Consulting. Welter Consulting bridges people and technology together for effective solutions for nonprofit organizations. We offer software and services that can help you with your accounting needs. Please contact Welter Consulting at 206-605-3113 for more information.

Compliance Focus: Unclaimed Property Laws

By | Accounting, Nonprofit, Unclaimed Property | No Comments

Unclaimed property remains a revenue source for many states. It can take two forms: tangible (such as unclaimed safe deposit boxes) and intangible (unclaimed general ledger property). Each state sets its own rules regarding when property may be declared unclaimed and how to legally dispose of such property. This article offers a general overview of unclaimed property laws and guidelines for how entities must comply with them, but for specific laws regarding unclaimed property in your state, consult your state’s website or an attorney.

What Exactly Is Unclaimed Property?

Unclaimed property is just what the name implies: something left behind, unclaimed for a period of time, or abandoned.

A good example is a bank safe deposit box. Often, families aren’t aware that a relative has a safe deposit box, nor do they have access to the key. If the owner of the box passes away, the bank may be unaware for a period of time during which the family has already settled the estate. The bank may be unable to find the legal owner of the box.

Banks are required to conduct due diligence and make every effort to find the legal owner. After exhausting these avenues and after a specific time period has passed, the laws governing the disposal of such unclaimed property go into effect, and the contents may revert to the state or to the property holder. If the property reverts to the state, this is called escheatment.

Nonprofits May Have Unclaimed Property, Too

Intangible property, such as general ledger entries, may also be declared unclaimed property. An example of such unclaimed property may be paychecks owed to an employee who leaves, moves away, and provides no forwarding address. In such an example, nonprofits are bound to use every appropriate means (letters, emails, etc.) to find the person to which the money is owed. If the owner cannot be located after a set time, state laws also govern how intangible property is disposed.

Dormancy Period

The time period in which property remains idle is called the dormancy period. Depending on the state, this may be one, two, three, or more years. During this time, the holder of the property is required to make every good faith effort to contact the original property owner. After the appropriate efforts have been made and the period has passed without contact from the property owner, the holder must escheat or give the property over to the proper jurisdiction. First dibs go to the property owner’s state, with the holder’s state in second place for the escheatment.

Types of Unclaimed Property Nonprofits May Encounter

Most nonprofit accountants will go through their career with very few instances of unclaimed property crossing their desks. But it can, and does, happen. A few examples of unclaimed property a nonprofit may encounter and should account for include:

  • Customer overpayments
  • Rebates from manufacturers
  • Unclaimed rights (mineral, oil, gas)

If your nonprofit has a history of inconsistent reporting of unclaimed property, the state may flag it as the target of an audit. Audits are conducted by third parties. Once one state requests an audit, others may join in as well.

One way to potentially avoid the unpleasant disruption of an audit is to have a consistent and clear method of reporting unclaimed property. Voluntary Disclosure Agreement programs enable organizations to become compliant and avoid audits and associated late fees and penalties in their reporting.

Although unclaimed property isn’t something you’ll encounter often, it is a possibility, so it pays to be prepared.

Welter Consulting

Welter Consulting bridges people and technology together for effective solutions for nonprofit organizations. We offer software and services that can help you with your accounting needs. Please contact Welter Consulting at 206-605-3113 for more information.