Category

FASB

Common Functional Expense Allocation Errors—and How You Can Avoid Them

By | Accounting, FASB, Nonprofit | No Comments

One of the most important questions potential donors ask themselves when reviewing nonprofit financials is how an organization uses it funds. Donors want to know that a nonprofit uses them wisely and puts most of its money towards its programs. An analysis of expenses by nature and function can tell a compelling story to potential donors and make it clear that your nonprofit is a responsible steward of its funds.

But there are several common functional expense allocation errors that occur among many nonprofits. Is your organization making these mistakes?

7 Functional Expense Allocation Mistakes

  1. No expense allocation methodology: Now that GAAP requires nonprofits to disclose the methods they use to allocate costs among programs and various support functions, it’s more important than ever to ensure that you have a reasonable allocation method. It’s assumed that nonprofits will each choose their own allocation method. What’s important is that the method makes sense (is considered “reasonable”) and that it is applied consistently. Lack of a documented expense allocation methodology is a common mistake that is easily rectified.
  2. Incorrectly classifying management and general expenses: GAAP rules (FASB ASC 720-958-45-7) stipulate that various expenses should be allocated to management and general expenses. This includes payroll, human resources, and accounting costs. In years past, nonprofits had more leeway to allocate these expenses. If your organization hasn’t updated its allocation guidelines, now’s the time to fix this common mistake.
  3. Allocating too few costs to programs: Another common error is not allocating enough costs to actual programs. An example is an accounting professional whose salary expense is allocated to management, but they provide 100% of support to a particular program. In that case, their costs should be allocated to the program instead of to the overall payroll budget.
  4. Not considering joint costs: If an activity supports multiple purposes, consider allocating it as a joint cost. FASB ASC Subtopic 958-720, Not-for-Profit Entities-Other Expenses describes the reporting requirements. Creating a systematic and reasonable basis for allocating joint costs and applying it consistently helps rectify this error. Consider and choose from among several allocation methods, too, such as the physical-units method, the relative-direct-costs method, and standalone method.
  5. Providing the appropriate level of detail: It can be challenging to provide the appropriate level of detail for the natural component of expenses in the functional expense analysis. To find the best level of detail, consider the needs of your audience. What do they want and need to know? Find a happy medium between disclosing too much and too little information.
  6. Not allocating fundraising expenses: Check that the salaries allocated to fundraising expenses are reasonable. Many organizations fail to allocate fundraising expenses appropriately. Ask yourself if the amount you are currently allocating is reasonable. You may need to make some adjustments.
  7. Misclassifying investment-related activity: Under current GAAP requirements, direct internal and external investment related expenses should be netted on the statement of activities with the investment return. Based on the new presentation requirements, such expenses should be omitted from the functional expense analysis.

Professional Judgment Is Vital

Nonprofit accounting professionals must use their judgment when considering functional expense allocation. Knowing the common errors and keeping them in mind when reviewing your organization’s financials can help you make prudent decisions that are in the best interests of your nonprofit.

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.

FASB Updates Gifts-in-Kind Standards

By | Accounting, FASB, Nonprofit | No Comments

FASB introduced accounting standards update 2020-07, Presentation and Disclosure by Not-for-Profit Entities for Contributed Nonfinancial Assets, to clarify the existing standard around gifts-in-kind. Such gifts may include assets like land, buildings, and equipment, or the use of such assets. Other items included in this category are utilities, materials and supplies, such as food, clothing, or pharmaceuticals, intangible assets, and recognized contributed services.

The standard must be applied retrospectively and organizations may choose to adopt the updated standard earlier than the effective date. The amendments take effect for annual reporting starting after June 15, 2021, and interim periods within annual reporting periods beginning after June 15, 2022.

What Is the Updated Requirement?

The newly updated standard requires nonprofit organizations to show contributed nonfinancial assets as a separate line item in the statement of activities. This should be kept separate from contributions of cash or other financial assets. Nonprofits are now required under the standard to disclose contributed nonfinancial assets within the statement of activities. These should be disaggregated by category. The categories should depict the type of nonfinancial asset being presented.

What Must Nonprofits Disclose?

Additional details should be disclosed around the statement of gifts-in-kind. Nonprofits should prepare statements that include the following disclosures:

  • Whether the asset was used or monetized during the reporting period.
  • If the asset was used, include a description of how the items were used and for which programs run by the nonprofit.
  • A policy statement from the nonprofit about how gifts can or cannot be monetized rather than using the gifts-in-kind.
  • A full description of any donor-imposed restrictions on how the gift may be used or monetized.
  • The valuation techniques used to assess the gift’s value upon receipt. For guidance, see
  • If the nonprofit is prohibited by a donor-imposed restriction on selling or using the item, the market by which fair value was estimated.

Challenges Involving Gifts-in-Kind

Accurately and clearly accounting for gifts-in-kind has always been challenging, but it can be particularly challenging for some nonprofits, especially if they aren’t used to receiving gifts-in-kind. The previously cited FASB Topic 820 offers help but common sense, previous experience, and prudent judgment must guide a nonprofit as they value items used for programs.

Some items are easier to value than others. An automobile donated to a nonprofit can be valued by using the Kelly Blue Book Value. But what about a horse or pony donated to an equine therapy program? Here, the marketplace where the animal might be sold offers some insight. Similar horses sold in the equine therapy program’s service area may be used as a basis for judging the value of the donated animal.

Some watchdog groups view gifts-in-kind differently than other donations. Because there is so much leeway in how such gifts can be valued, nonprofit accounting professionals must keep detailed records and notes of how values are obtained and reported.

Another consideration is that there may be donor or legal restrictions on gifts. A donor may choose to restrict a gift so that it cannot be sold or they may have specific conditions around the use of the gift. These conditions must be adhered to in order to be compliant with the terms of the gift.

Lastly, gifts are sometimes purchased at below market value by the nonprofit from a donor. How you account for this varies but should be considered as part of the gifts-in-kind guidelines within your nonprofit organization. You may need to establish policies around GIK so that such situations are treated consistently over time.

Gifts-in-kind can be a valuable addition to your nonprofit. Accounting for them clearly and consistently enables you to welcome them when donors step up with generous gifts.

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.

FASB New Cloud Computing Standard Reduces Complexity

By | Cloud, FASB | No Comments

Cloud computing offers unprecedented convenience and adaptability, especially now with so many organizations encouraging remote working arrangements for employees. With cloud computing, your team logs into the organization’s systems from any internet-connected computer. Data stored on the cloud offers excellent security and backup protection as well as the convenience of accessibility.

FASB Offers New Cloud Computing Standard

FASB announced another new standard on cloud computing costs associated with a service agreement. This standard is effective for public business entities in fiscal years beginning on or after December 15, 2019, and will take effect for all other entities for reporting periods beginning after December 15, 2020.

Accounting Standards Update No. 2018-15, Intangibles — Goodwill and Other — Internal-Use Software (Subtopic 350-40): Customer’s Accounting for Implementation Costs Incurred in a Cloud Computing Service Arrangement That Is a Service Contract has a very long and complex title for a standard intended to reduce complexity.

The standard now aligns the requirements for capitalizing implementation costs incurred in a hosting arrangement. The hosting arrangement must be a service contract. The requirements are for capitalizing the implementation costs incurred to develop, or obtain, software and hosting arrangements that include an internal-use software license. Note, however, that the amendment doesn’t affect accounting for the service element of a hosting arrangement if it is in a service contract.

Before this clarification, there were two different capitalization models. Each model depended on whether the item purchased was a service agreement or an asset. However, cloud computing models weren’t included in the 2015-issued standards. This update clarifies how to account for cloud computing adoption, a popular method of software adoption.

Hybrid Solutions Require Close Accounting Attention

Another challenge that many organizations face is accounting for hybrid cloud models. Hybrid models may include both cloud-based and site-based elements in a software solution. If it’s both, how should it be accounted for?

Companies must assess which portion of the costs are internal-use and which are considered part of a service agreement. The focus should be on identifying costs and properly allocating them to the correct item.

Potential Advantages from the Update

There are some potential advantages from the FASB update, too. One advantage is the deferral aspects of the costs that qualify. EBITDA and some balance sheet metrics may be impacted by the deferral.

The new standard also aligns the balance sheet and income statement in the aggregate for all types of software. It adds consistency and comparability which help accountants provide clear financial reports.

Getting to the Right Answer

Clarity and consistency are both vital to accounting metrics, with management involved in policy decisions regarding IT projects. Deciding whether or not to adopt a hybrid cloud model, pure cloud, or site-based solution is a decision that requires time and care. Each organization must weigh the pros and cons of various products and solutions, including the financial and accounting ramifications, and determine what is best for their needs.

The best method of determining new software for an organization is to include representatives from each department on the decision team. This includes members from finance and accounting who, together with IT, marketing, sales, and management must decide which solution meets the organization’s needs the best. By understanding the financial ramifications of adopting new software, the finance team can provide an informed opinion about the best choice from an accounting and financial perspective.

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.

FASB Delays Several Effective Dates: Credit Losses, Leasing, Hedging, and Long-Duration Insurance Standards Affected

By | FASB | No Comments

The Financial Accounting Standards Board announced at the end of 2019 that they were delaying several effective dates. These changes impact four areas: credit losses, leasing, hedging, and long-duration insurance standards.

You can find a chart of all the dates and standards impacted on the FASB website.

Who Is Affected?

If your nonprofit is considered a public business entity (PBE), it may be subjected to the same rules and requirements as PBEs. When looking at FASB ASU 2019-10, this would place nonprofits in “bucket 2” in the update, subjecting them to the same changes as other entities when it comes to reporting financial instruments such as credit losses, leasing, derivatives, and hedging.

What Are the Major Implications?

If your nonprofit is affected by ASU 2019-10, here are the critical points found in the standards update:

  • Credit Losses: If your organization is on a calendar-year end, and it is eligible for the deferral, the new effective date is January 1, 2023. Organizations can determine whether they are eligible to be ‘smaller reporting companies’ based on their most recent filing determination. This must be in accordance with SED regulations as of November 15, 2019.
  • Derivatives: Nonpublic business entities get a one-year deferral. If your organization is on a calendar year-end, and it is eligible for the deferral, the effective date is January 1, 2021.
  • Leases: All non-public business entities get a one-year deferral. This includes nonprofits that have issued, or are conduit bond obligators for securities that are traded, listed, or quoted on an over-the-counter market or exchange, as well as employee benefit plans that file or furnish financial statements with or to the SEC. If your organization is on a calendar year-end, and it is eligible for the deferral, the new effective date is January 1, 2021.

Why the Update?

According to the FASB report, there is a significant change to the underlying philosophy of the standards, thus necessitating updates to:

  1. Accounting Standards Update No. 2016-13, Financial Instruments— Credit Losses (Topic 326): Measurement of Credit Losses on Financial Instruments (Credit Losses)
  2. Accounting Standards Update No. 2017-12, Derivatives and Hedging (Topic 815): Targeted Improvements to Accounting for Hedging Activities (Hedging)
  3. Accounting Standards Update No. 2016-02, Leases (Topic 842) (Leases).
  4. Accounting Standards Update No. 2018-12, Financial Services—Insurance (Topic 944)

Is Your Nonprofit a PBE?

It is essential to note whether your nonprofit is considered a PBE, which would make the changes applicable to your organization. FASB amended its glossary of terms in 2013 to create one definition for PBEs.

Although nonprofits are left out of the general definition of PBE in the Master Glossary, specific nonprofits may be subjected to the requirements imposed on PBEs by specific FASB standards. When that occurs, nonprofits are differentiated using similar terms to those used for the definition of PBEs.

“Nonprofits that have issued, or is a conduit bond obligor for securities that are traded, listed, or quoted on an exchange or an over-the-counter [OTC] marketare held to the same accelerated effective dates and expanded disclosure requirements imposed on PBEs,” according to AICPA.

Your best recourse is to consult with the Master Glossary definitions and use these to evaluate whether your nonprofit fits in the PBE category. Then, check what disclosures are required. Nonprofits, for example, are required to disclose certain pension information only if the nonprofit is determined to be a public entity.

Fortunately, FASB has granted more time to adhere to the news standard. They’ve also provided plenty of clarifying information in the documents we’ve linked to help you understand the full impact of the changes and updates.

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.