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Accounting

How Cloud Accounting Software Transforms Nonprofit Success

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Stories are powerful ways in which nonprofits generate interest in their mission, secure donations, and obtain grants. Many nonprofits rely heavily on story-based marketing, for example, to share their mission and demonstrate the value of their work.

One way in which you can greatly enhance the power of your stories is through the thoughtful use of data. Data, although it may seem the antithesis of story-based marketing, actually underpins and supports stories to make them stronger and more effective. Here’s how cloud-based nonprofit accounting software can transform your organization in many ways, including how it tells your mission-driven story.

What’s Happening Behind the Financial Scenes?

In order to use data effectively, you must be able to access it in real-time. That’s where cloud accounting software comes into play.

Cloud-based systems rely on internet-enabled connections for users to access and update the system. This means that no matter where your personnel are working, their data flows quickly and efficiently into the cloud-based accounting system.

Another benefit of a cloud-based accounting system is its ability to provide a 360-degree view of all aspects of the organization. From marketing to accounting, grant funding and program-based initiatives, you’ll be able to get a clear and accurate picture of the financial data with cloud-based accounting systems.

Outcomes and Performance Matter to Donors

One way in which cloud-based accounting systems transform nonprofits and help them tell their stories is through outcomes and performance metrics. Both matter a great deal to donors. Many are very concerned with how funds are being used, especially given so many stories in the news about nonprofits wasting funds. The news, of course, exaggerates the bad news and makes it seem like fraud is lurking around every corner, but the impact on donors should not be underestimated.

With real-time visibility, you’ll be able to make better decisions to improve program impacts. Knowing your numbers means you can effect change in various program areas, applying funds to programs that are succeeding. This can enhance and boost both outcomes and performance, which in turn, can be shared as part of your organization’s success story.

Analyzing real time data and key performance indicators (KPIs) is what sets the top nonprofits apart from their counterparts. Such data and KPIs can only exist with the right visibility and data to enhance decision making.

Reducing Data Silos

Another way in which the right cloud software enhances a nonprofit’s ability to tell and sell their story, thus garnering support for their mission, is by reducing data silos. Disparate systems often hinder data sharing. It’s hard to get what you need when you have to ask colleagues to run reports or wait for someone to come back from vacation in order to access a system. With cloud systems, access can be shared among all employees. Levels of data visibility can be controlled; of course—the CFO needs different data than the receptionist. But all employees have the opportunity to view many aspects of organization wide data. This enables shared, improved decision making and collaboration, reduces data silos, and makes it much easier for all to work towards fulfilling the organization’s mission.

Improved Impact Through Collaboration

It is this collaboration that is essential to the modern mission-driven organization. Today’s nonprofits run effectively through teamwork and shared vision. Without shared data, they can struggle to achieve their goals. With shared data, it becomes much easier to discuss, share, and brainstorm, collaborate on problem solving, and come up with creative ways to handle the many challenges nonprofits face. The right cloud accounting software is essential to the success of many modern nonprofits.

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.

An Overview of In-Kind Gifts

By | Accounting, Donations, Nonprofit | No Comments

Many nonprofits rely upon in-kind donations for their activities. Gifts “in-kind” are any donations to a nonprofit that are not cash. A good example is food collected and given to a food bank to distribute directly to others.

If your nonprofit relies heavily upon gifts in-kind for its activities and programs, this guide to accounting for and handling the financial aspects of in-kind donations will be invaluable.

Distinguishing In-Kind Gifts from Other Types of Donations

It is important to distinguish in-kind gifts from other types of donations. For example, items given to a charity in which the use is specified by the donor are not true in-kind donations. Neither are items given to the charity that are to be used by another entity.

An in-kind gift consists of a broad array of goods that may include:

  • Computer hardware and software
  • Office furniture
  • Equipment such as saddles used in a therapeutic riding program
  • Wheelchairs or medical equipment used by a charitable health program
  • Food donated to a food bank

Such items are used directly by the organization or given to the people the charity serves.

Accounting for In-Kind Donations

Under GAAP rules, gifts in-kind should be recorded as revenue when received and also recorded as an expense. Recording them as revenue upon receipt means:

  • Recording the revenue at “fair market value.” Fair market value reflects the average price that your organization would have paid for the item if you had to buy it.
  • Recording the offset value, or the amount of revenue that is the corresponding value as an expense of in-kind good or services.
  • Recording tangible property, such as land or buildings, as an asset to your organization.

Budgeting In-Kind Gifts of Services

One important consideration is the gift of in-kind services. If these services occur on a regular basis, they should be budgeted for in your nonprofit’s budget. For example, if your accountant donates her time to preparing the annual report, she should provide you with a receipt stating the value of the services rendered. You would then budget for that amount in your yearly budget. This way, if your accountant retires, moves, or simply chooses not to donate her services again, you are still prepared to pay the going amount for similar professional services.

Acknowledging the Gift and Providing a Receipt

As we’ve shared in a previous article on tax donation receipts, gifts should be recognized with both a thank-you note and a receipt. The receipt should be similar to those provided for cash gifts. An in-kind gift donation form created by your organization also provides a consistent record of all gifts in-kind and helps you record and track their value over time.

Create a Gift Policy

Lastly, it is a good idea to create a gift policy for your organization that lists the types of gifts accepted, how gifts in-kind are recognized, and how they are used.

Donors come in all shapes and sizes. Some prefer to give cash. Others want to give tangible property that they know can be put to good use. Gifts in-kind offer a valuable asset to your organization, one that should be recognized properly both in your accounts and in the donor’s taxes. With the right tracking and organization, you’re on your way to a solid in-kind donation policy and process that can help you handle these gifts with ease.

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.

The Washington Cares Fund: Making Long Term Care Affordable

By | Accounting, MIP Fund Accounting, Nonprofit | No Comments

Organizations located in Washington state have another benefit they can offer to their employees: the WA Cares fund. This fund, created and managed by the state itself, provides long-term care options to all residents in the state. Residents contribute to the fund while they are working and can access the benefits if they meet certain criteria for long-term care needs.

How Does the WA Cares Fund Work?

In 2019, Governor Inslee signed the LTSS Trust Act into law. Through this act, Washingtonians will begin contributing .58 cents out of every $100 earned into the WA Cares fund starting in 2022. By 2025, those eligible for benefits may tap into them for long term care needs.

Why the WA Cares Fund?

Only about 7.5 million Americans have long-term care insurance, but more than 52% of people age 65 and older are likely to need long-term care at some point in their lives. And, with costs exceeding $300,000 on average over the course of a person’s lifetime, the expenses can be devastating to older Americans.

Washington is now the first state to offer long-term care insurance at an affordable rate for residents who meet eligibility criteria.

What Nonprofit Employers Need to Know

Employers do not need to contribute to the new fund. They do, however, have to track employee hours and wages, and report them to the state. Starting January 1, 2022, you will be required to report employees’ wages and hours worked, as well as collect WA Cares premiums from your employees’ wages. This is the same as you do now for Paid Leave.

You will not need to file a report during any quarters in which your employees have no hours or wages to report.

Are there exemptions?

Employees who wish to be exempt from the WA Cares premium may apply for an exemption. It is their responsibility to apply and to provide you with proof that their exemption was approved. Proof consists of a letter issued by the Employment Security Department (ESD). Once approved, exemptions are permanent, and employees cannot opt back in.

If you are notified that an employee has received approval for an exemption, you must keep a copy of the exemption letter on file and omit collecting the premium from the employee’s wages.

What if my organization offers long-term care insurance?

You may continue offering long-term care insurance to your employees, but it is up to them (not you) whether they should apply for exemption from the WA Cares coverage. There is no organization-wide exemption, so you are still responsible for monitoring wages and hours worked and deducting the appropriate amount of premiums from employees’ wages and reporting them.

You can learn more at: wacaresfund.wa.gov

MIP Fund Accounting Can Help You Track WA Cares Fund Premiums

For nonprofits running MIP Fund Accounting, setting up tracking of the WA Cares premiums is identical to the setup in the system for tracking WA Paid Family and Medical Leave. The only difference is that the setup for WA Cares should deduct .58 cents per every $100 of wages.

Washington is now the first state to offer this important coverage to employees. It’s one more benefit you can use to attract great employees to your organization and to provide your employees with peace of mind for their futures.

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.

Acknowledging Donations Graciously – and With Tax Receipts

By | Accounting, Donations, Nonprofit | No Comments

Nonprofit managers know the power of a gracious thank you when it comes to acknowledging donations. It’s part of donor management—ensuring that donors feel valued and appreciated.

But accompanying a lovely thank-you note should be something more ordinary: a tax donation receipt. A receipt for donation isn’t just proof that the donor gave money to your organization, but a document that can be used by donors to take a tax write-off. Here’s what your donation thank you and receipt should include.

Tax Deductions for Nonprofit Donations

Tax deductions may be claimed for those who donate goods or money to a charitable organization. Charitable organizations should be recognized as a 501 (c) (3) organization by the IRS.

A donation means that the money or goods given to the organization are done so without anything given in return. If you paid for a t-shirt at a museum gift shop, for example, that would not count as a charitable donation because you received the t-shirt in return. If, however, you donated $25 to the museum without receiving an item in return, it may be considered a charitable donation.

Thank-You Letters and Tax Documentation

Thank-you letters may seem old-fashioned, but donors do appreciate the acknowledgement of their generosity. In addition to a personalized thank-you letter, your organization should also include a receipt for the donation which the donor can use for charitable tax deductions.

Such receipts should include specific information, such as:

  • The donor’s name, address, and date the donation was received
  • The organization’s legal name
  • The organization’s tax status
  • The organization’s EIR
  • Total dollar amount given
  • If anything other than money was given, a description of the item donated

You should also include a note stating whether or not a gift was given as a thank you. A simple description is fine— “We hope you enjoy this small bookmark as a token of our gratitude” is sufficient. Remember, they are not paying for the gift, but you should acknowledge it in the letter.

Lastly, be sure to include a reminder to the donor to keep the letter and receipt as proof of their donation. Keep a copy in your files, too. You never know when you might get a call from a donor looking for it!

MIP Fund Accounting Makes Donation Receipts Easy

If your nonprofit is running MIP Fund Accounting software, you have the ability to print donation receipts right from your system. It’s part of the general ledger module, and it’s included in every MIP package.

You can access it immediately or, if you’re a current client and can’t quite figure it out, give Vicki at call at Welter Consulting, 206-605-3113. And, if you’re not currently a client but you’re interested in finding out more about how nonprofit accounting software can make your organization run smoothly, we welcome your call too.

Other Ideas to Thank Donors

One of the best ways to thank donors is to do so personally. A handwritten letter, a heartfelt typed letter, and of course, that donation receipt is much appreciated.

Other ways to thank your donors include:

  • Mentions on social media
  • Mentions in printed newsletters
  • Share a story or picture of how the donation was used
  • Create a short “thank you” video
  • Offer a small gift or inexpensive token of appreciation

A gracious thank you goes a long way toward enhancing the donor experience. And, along with a thank you, be sure to include your donor’s receipt so they can take advantage of the tax deduction.

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 fo