Monthly Archives

May 2022

Should You Classify an Activity as an Advertisement or Sponsorship?

By | Accounting, Nonprofit | No Comments

The IRS often relies upon an accountant’s discretion when choosing how to classify income and expenses. One area that merits further attention is the distinction between advertisements and sponsorships. Are these classified as expenses, gifts, or neither?

The areas we will examine include IRS 513(c) Advertising and IRS 513(i) Qualified Sponsorship Payments, as well as Treasury Regulation 1.513-4 (Certain sponsorship not unrelated trade or business). Taking all three releases into consideration, accountants can develop clear, unambiguous guidelines for their organizations on how to classify activities.

Advertisements vs. Sponsorship: The Main Differences

Most people believe they know what an advertisement is—after all, we’re bombarded with ads from the moment we wake up and switch on the internet, radio, or television to the time we go to bed. But, when it comes to advertising and sponsorships, the distinction may not be as easily recognized.

The IRS, “Rev. Rul. 67-246 holds that where a transaction involving a payment is in the form of a purchase of an item of value (advertising), the presumption is that no gift has been made.”

Therefore, paid advertisements or sponsorships do not qualify as a gift.

The issue arose when corporations began giving substantial gifts to nonprofits. In one case shared on the IRS website, a corporation gave land to a nonprofit to build a historic village replica. Because the corporation donated the land and benefited significantly from the advertising placed around the village owned by the nonprofit, it was considered advertising for the corporation, rather than a sponsorship.

Other areas where the IRS has clearly defined advertising examples (rather than sponsorships) include:

  • When the payment amount is based on attendance or circulation figures—both are examples of advertising. Newspapers, magazines, websites, radio and television stations, for example, base their rates on the circulation or audience. Hence, any promotional space or airtime “given” by the corporation owning these media outlets is considered advertisement, not a sponsorship.
  • A payment which entitles the payor to the use or acknowledgement of its name or logo in printed material published by or on behalf of the exempt organization that is not related to a specific event conducted by the exempt organization; or
  • Payments made in connection with any qualified trade show activity. (IRC Sec. 513(d)(3)(B)).

In these examples, the revenue stream should be considered advertising income and taxed as unrelated business income.

One caveat: a simple acknowledgement of a corporation does not constitute advertising revenue. Putting a sponsor’s logo or URL in an event program, without any promotional text around it, is not advertising. Announcing the sponsoring company and urging event attendees to patronize that company is considered an advertisement. Think of it this way: a simple logo or URL is not advertisement, but anything added to it verbally or in writing extolling people to buy, visit, or take an action would be considered an advertisement. It’s a fine line, but one that’s clear once it’s understood in context.

Action Steps

If you’re concerned that some of your organization’s activities may be misclassified, sit down with your accounting team and review contracts, documents, and supporting materials. Use the rubric provided by the IRS to evaluate activities and, if necessary, revise their classification to ensure transparency, accuracy, and adherence to accounting best practices.

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.

Nonprofits Benefit by Automating Accounts Payable

By | Accounting, Accounting Software, Nonprofit | No Comments

The typical nonprofit accounts payable person spends their day processing invoices, reconciling them to the accounts, and ensuring the bills are paid on time. Manual processes are cumbersome and inefficient.

Areas of inefficiency include:

  1. Paper-intensive data entry process that relies on bills sent via the U.S. mail or electronically retrieved and printed.
  2. Manual data entry of bills into an accounting or spreadsheet program.
  3. Hand-writing checks, signing them, and placing them in an envelope to mail.
  4. Routing physical checks and invoice paperwork to managers for approval.
  5. Reconciling banking statements with accounting programs or spreadsheets.

Each of the five areas of inefficiency can be improved with software that streamlines and automates accounts payable. Such software also closes security gaps that may have occurred due to the pandemic when internal controls were lax given the uncertainty around in-person work. So, if another event occurs that forces the AP person to telecommute, they can still process invoices in a timely manner with a cloud-based system, that runs over the internet, and that can be accessed remotely,

Five Benefits of Automating Accounts Payable

There are many benefits nonprofits receive from automating accounts payable, but the following five are perhaps the most important.

  1. Improved Security

During the pandemic, when much uncertainty remained about who would be in the office on any given day, internal controls at many nonprofits were relaxed. Additionally, nonprofits who did not have cloud systems in place found themselves adding solutions to enable workers to telecommute.

Unfortunately, lax security both with internal controls and digital materials enabled criminals to take advantage of the situation. Nonprofits are always at a high risk of cybercrime since they generally lack a dedicated IT infrastructure to prevent or remediate against attacks.

An automated accounts payable system improves security in many ways. It eliminates time-consuming paper routing of approvals, automating invoice and payment approvals through email which cuts down on delay and potential fraud. It also helps secure the AP system itself against cyberattacks through the added security provided by cloud-based servers and software.

Paper checks can be mostly eliminated, making automatic bank transfer payments and e-checks a simpler, faster solution. These payment methods are also highly secure, ensuring that potential criminals cannot forge signatures on paper checks, for example, to steal funds.

  • Enhances forecasting accuracy

Manual AP processing makes forecasting extremely challenging since cash flow and recorded bank balances may not be entirely up to date. With automated AP processing, the balance shown in the system is accurate, and improves the ability to forecast cash flow, receivables, and payables. It takes some of the uncertainty out of forecasting, which is a huge help during these continuing uncertain times.

  • Transparency into the organization’s finances

With automated AP processing, anyone at your organization logging into the system can view the current state of their budget and payables. This adds a layer of transparency and accountability into the budgeting and payment system that may be more challenging to reach with manual AP processing.

  • Access to accurate data

Organizations that can access and use their financial data can make better decisions around budgeting and expenditures. With manual processes, this information can be difficult to access and utilize. With automated AP systems, reports can be generated quickly to help you utilize the valuable data found in the system.

  •  Easier audit process

The annual audit process is time-consuming enough. Manual accounting practices extend the timeline. Automating AP means faster access to information the auditing team needs, as well as easier access for them if they are auditing remotely (a new trend that arose during the pandemic).

Sage Intacct Automates AP Easily

To automate AP, you need the right software. Sage Intacct easily automates AP and other workflows with no IT support required. It makes working remotely easier, offers excellent security, and improves efficiency throughout the AP process.

With Sage Intaact, your organization can:

  • Add a robust cloud solution to automate AP without costly hardware or infrastructure support
  • Handle complicated fund accounting and grant management easily
  • Segregate, budget, and report on restricted grant funds
  • Comply with strict new audit processes
  • Automate workflows
  • Connect Sage Intacct to other systems to extend and enhance systems and share data

Watch a video demonstration or schedule a demo and consultation with Welter Consulting today. Visit Welter’s Sage Intacct information center for details.

With the right software, AP automation can bring your organization to a whole new level of efficiency. It’s faster, and software such as Sage Intaact makes the process of adding and using the system easier.

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.

What Are the Benefits of Moving to Cloud Computing?

By | Accounting, Cloud, cyber security, Nonprofit | No Comments

Cloud computing utilizes shared network hardware to mitigate against security risks and data loss. It lowers costs, improves access and speed, and is often considered the go-to option for many organizations. Let’s explore the reasons why moving to cloud computing can benefit your organization.

Improved Security

Cyber threats have increased exponentially in recent times. Only 26% of nonprofits actively monitor their network environments, a critical step to protect against threats. And more than 70% of nonprofits have not run any cyber threat assessments. Criminals know that nonprofits have neither the bandwidth nor the resources to defend against an attack, thus making them an even more appealing target.

Large cloud computing providers can afford to put into place rigid security protocols to protect donor and fundraising data. They can enact two-factor authentication, secure data transfers, and other steps to secure your data.

When selecting a cloud computing provider, look for one that has attained a Statement on Standards for Attestation Engagements (SSAE) certification, as designated by the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA). Such cloud hosts have undergone a rigorous audit of their systems, including privacy controls, and are less vulnerable to attack.

Private cloud (instead of public cloud) servers may offer greater security. Public cloud has suffered in recent times from data breaches caused by misconfigured servers. If privacy is of deep concern to your organization, consider opting for private instead of public cloud services.

Uninterrupted Access

Many nonprofits faced the sudden shift to remote work when the pandemic arrived. Cloud computing facilitates remote work by providing uninterrupted access to data and servers 24/7. Anywhere you have an internet connection, authorized personnel can log into the system. This enables easier telecommuting and meaningful work while traveling.

Regular Backups

Regular backups safeguard data as well as systems. Increasing data limits does not affect cloud storage, as more storage space can be added easily and quickly. Redundant systems ensure that, no matter what happens or where it occurs, the systems continue to run smoothly.


Cloud computing also offers nonprofits a more affordable entrée into enhanced computing power. Cloud systems hosted on shared or private cloud servers are maintained by the hosting company’s staff. IT staff can be deployed to solve onsite problems, provide daily IT services, and provide support for routine IT needs. There is no need for a nonprofit to invest in hardware, additional staff, or the space and equipment needed for staff.

Important Questions to Ask When Moving to the Cloud

If you’re convinced that moving to a cloud-hosted fund accounting program or another cloud-based software system is right for your nonprofit, there are several key questions to ask about the software under consideration.

  1. What is the process to migrate to the cloud? How challenging will it be? What is our organization’s participation in the process? Understand the time and money it will take to make the move to the cloud.
  2. How do the features of this system compare to what I have now? What is better, different, or will change? What remains the same?
  3. Who owns the data? Some contracts have the hosting company owning your data. Read the fine print.
  4. How difficult or easy is this software for our team to learn? When checking references with other software users, ask them this question to obtain direct feedback from other customers.
  5. Will there be any system downtime?
  6. What if we wish to stop using this system or move to a different one? What is the process?
  7. How frequently are backups made and how can we access them if necessary?

Cloud computing makes good sense for many nonprofits. It offers numerous advantages and few disadvantages. If you feel it is the next step for your organization, contact Welter Consulting for assistance.

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.

Top Issues for Nonprofits in 2022

By | Accounting, Audit, COVID-19, Nonprofit | No Comments

These issues are top of mind for most accounting professionals, but especially for those leading the accounting function at nonprofits. This year appears to bring with it the continuing challenges resulting from the global pandemic as well as updates from FASB accountants need to know.

COVID-19 Issues Impacting Nonprofits

The economic impact of the government’s actions during the global pandemic are still not entirely understood. In March 2020, the government passed the $2 trillion CARES Act, and a year later in March 2021, the $1.9 trillion American Rescue Plan Act. If you’ll recall from previous articles, the CARES Act provided funds for the Paycheck Protection Program which used the Small Business Administration’s lending program to provide forgivable loans of up to $10 million per borrower. Qualifying businesses could spend this money on mortgage payments, payroll, or other business debts to continue operations.

Additionally, the CARES Act benefitted nonprofits directly by raising the limits on charitable deductions for both those who itemize deductions and those who do not. The government also raised the cap on charitable contributions for corporations. These actions were intended to increase cash gifts to nonprofits, strained by sudden increased demand for their services during the pandemic.

The response to the COVID-19 pandemic remains fluid as the situation continues to change. Many nonprofit accountants, however, still have questions about how to account for CARES Act funds, Payroll Protect Action loans, and more.

We’ve put together a list of resources to help you navigate any remaining questions from the pandemic response as they impact your nonprofit accounting.

Remote Auditing

Many nonprofits may still choose remote audits. To facilitate remote audits, incorporate the following best practices into your organization.

  • Utilize all available technology to share files with your auditors. This may include secure portals for sharing documents or videoconference. If your accounting and finance system allows for guest logins, you may be able to set up a secure login for your auditors.
  • Schedule additional video conferences to confirm supporting documentation. You may also wish to schedule video conferences in advance so that check-in dates are on everyone’s calendars.
  • Provide multiple contact methods to keep communication lines open. A secure instant messenger platform may be set up for the audit.
  • Build additional time into the auditing schedule to anticipate and accommodate potential delays in communication. Remote workers may be logging into their email at various times, which can lead to longer response times.
  • Be vigilant about cybersecurity, especially when sharing financial data.

Other Nonprofit Accounting Concerns

Nonprofits may also have concerns about other aspects of COVID-related accounting.

Cash management issues are at the top of many nonprofit accountants’ minds. Continue to build up operating reserves. Seek cost containment strategies that make sense for your organization.

If internal controls were relaxed during the pandemic, reinstate them when workers return to the office, even if only a handful are back. It’s important to ensure security and good internal controls even during challenging times.

This is also a good time to develop policies around remote work if your organization doesn’t already have them. Many organizations are finding that remote work policies are helping them attract more and better qualified candidates for open positions. A telecommuting alternative is an attractive benefit for many job applicants.

Lastly, be sure to keep your board and other advisors updated on your organization’s financial challenges, opportunities, and threats. Good communication is always essential.

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.