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Nonprofit

Update Your Nonprofit’s Career Development Programs

By | Nonprofit, Professional Development | No Comments

Career development? What career development program?

If that was your response to this article’s headline, you’re not alone. Many organizations have set career development programs on the back burner or never got them off the ground in light of the many challenges they’ve had to overcome during the past 18 months.

Career development programs are vital for attracting and retaining top talent. According to one report, 94% of employees say that career development programs are “very important” and a good reason for staying with a company. And, if you want to attract and retain younger talent to your nonprofit, 87% of millennials rank career development programs as very important to their decision to join and organization.

For those nonprofits who haven’t launched a career development program or who set it aside to cope with the challenges brought about by the pandemic, now is the time to rethink your organization’s training programs with an eye to keeping them going no matter what challenges the new year brings.

What Makes a Good Career Development Program?

Good career development programs share certain characteristics:

  1. Caters to all levels of the organization: Career development isn’t just for newcomers to the nonprofit world or those just entering the workplace. It’s for everyone. Good career development programs include specific programs for leaders, too.
  2. Involves virtual training: The new world of work means including your virtual team in training and development opportunities. Technology connects workers to your organization and can connect them to training and development opportunities. Seek out hybrid or virtual models that can be accessed anytime, anywhere.
  3. Offers mentorships: One of the best ways to enhance career knowledge and skills is to partner with an experienced person in the profession. Mentorship programs provide an excellent opportunity for networking, skill development, and career growth.
  4. Focus on what employees want to learn: It’s not enough to offer professional development programs in matters that the organization believes employees should learn. Find out what your team wants and needs to advance their career development and find the right programs to suit them.
  5. Don’t forget fun too: All work and no play make Jack a dull boy, and it makes for a boring workplace. Career development programs should also include time for socializing and networking so that people feel connected to the organization, their teams, and their coworkers.

Focus on Virtual Career Development

Virtual career development opportunities must focus on overcoming the barriers to communication among virtual employees. This can be done through video calls, phone calls, instant messaging, and other technology that aids communication.

One thing to bear in mind when creating and launching virtual career development programs: frequent communication is very important to effectively include everyone on the team. Schedule weekly touch-base calls and consider partnering your virtual team members with experienced employees who can help them grow into their jobs.

Personal, one-to-one time is essential for virtual workers. Many refrain from asking questions in group chats or calls. Having time just with their mentor or manager to ask questions, even if it’s only 15 minutes a week, can help them ask what’s on their minds. These quick touch-base calls can take the place of visits in a physical office space where teammates often drop by an office or desk just to chat and can make people feel better connected to their team members.

Short, Frequent Connections Are Best

Career development isn’t “once and done.” It’s better to provide short, frequent programs than long, occasional ones, especially if using videoconferencing technology. People can become fatigued from too many video conferences. Keeping connections short, focused, and frequent helps keep professional development top of mind, rather than a chore.

When your organization prioritizes career development as part of its approach to personnel management, you can create a desirable workplace with better connections and teamwork. Not only will your employees be happier, but your organization will thrive, with more engaged and connected employees.

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.

How Cloud Accounting Software Transforms Nonprofit Success

By | Accounting, Cloud, Nonprofit | No Comments

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.

Changes Coming to the Audit Opinion

By | Audit, Nonprofit | No Comments

Many nonprofits are gearing up for their annual audit. Expect a “facelift” in your annual audit this year thanks to new AICPA rules. AICPA’s Auditing Standards Board (ASB) has issued Statement on Auditing Standards (SAS) No. 134, Auditor Reporting Amendments, Including Amendments Addressing Disclosures in the Audit of Financial Statements, which will become effective for periods ending on or after December 15, 2021.

What this means is that the auditor’s opinion section of your annual audit will be different this year. Here’s what to expect from this “audit opinion makeover.”

Auditor’s Opinion

The revised ASB Auditing Standards calls for new ways to organize the audit report. First, the auditor’s opinion will now come first in the document. The initial wording remains the same, but the opinion itself will be at the front of the document. This makes it easy for readers to find.

New Ethics Statements

New statements must be included in the report. This includes an ethics statement that clearly indicates that the auditor is required to be independent of the auditee. Additionally, the auditor must include a statement specifying they will meet all ethical standards of the profession.

Responsibilities of Management

Another new section and statement must include the responsibilities of management in respect to evaluating ongoing concerns.

Auditor’s Responsibilities

The auditor’s responsibilities section is still included, but it has been revised to include additional information. The auditor’s responsibilities will be included and described in a bulleted list to make them easier to find and read.

Another change is the inclusion of a paragraph that describes in detail the auditor’s responsiblities to communicate certain matters with those charged with governance. These matters include the scope and timing of the audit, significant findings, and internal control related matters.

Key Audit Matters

Lastly, the ASB (SAS) 134 also introduces new ways to report on Key Audit Matters. This new framework means that entities must specifically hire an auditor to report on this matter. For example, if it is required by a third-party, you may wish to add this, but for most audits, it is not part of required reporting.

The changes also require enhanced reporting in regard to ongoing concerns, including a separate section in the auditor’s report where substantial doubt exists.

Is Your Organization Affected by the Changes?

All nonprofits are affected by the initial changes, but whether or not you need additional reporting on Key Audit Matters does depend upon the nature and scope of your organization and its responsiblities. This is where a good accounting professional or consultant is of great help. They can assist you through the audit process and help you determine how and where these changes impact your organization.

Preparing for Your Audit

Even if you feel that the audit is weeks or months away, it is a good idea to begin preparing for your audit now. Many nonprofits have discovered the benefit of cloud-based fund accounting programs, software that enables auditors to log in and view financial records without the need for time-consuming onsite visits. Such software makes it simple for auditors to log in from their offices and begin their auditing process. If you have such software, you may wish to take advantage of this feature and make it easier for auditors to spend any in-person time with you effectively.

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.