Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Seminar: Improving the Fiscal Health of Your Nonprofit

Join the Sikich nonprofit team and guest speakers next Wed, Aug 7 – 8:30am-11:30am, as they provide insights on maintaining and enhancing the financial health of your organization. Pam Velo of Velo Philanthropic Advising will talk about her years of work in assisting major donors to connect with their philanthropic goals and how your organization can create those relationships. Bernstein Global Wealth Management will discuss current trends in investment management and the Sikich team will offer ideas to navigate your increasingly difficult financial decisions. Don’t miss this great opportunity for Executive Leadership, CFO/Controller, Development staff, Finance Committee and other board members. Register here.

Whether you represent a professional association, social service agency or charity, be confident that your non-profit organization will stay financially secure while keeping the best interests of your communities in mind by discussing your unique situation with a Sikich expert. You’ll know you’re getting the best and most customized accounting, advisory, technology and managed services from someone who is involved in community activities and has assumed leadership positions on non-profit boards. To learn more about Sikich Nonprofit Services, contact Steve Stucky at: SStucky@sikich.com or 317.842.4466

Monday, July 22, 2013

“...Run More Like a Business?”

Here’s a chance with Bryan Orander, Charitable Advisors

I don’t usually respond well when I hear people make simplistic statements like “nonprofits should run more like businesses”. When I ask for clarity, they add definition around setting aggressive goals; executing effective marketing strategies; building a brand; recruiting the best people; and generally operating in an intentional, well-organized manner that consistently generates a profit. So they expect that two person nonprofit to operate like Eli Lilly & Co? From a practical standpoint, my perception would be that most nonprofits are run as well as or better than small businesses of comparable size.

That being said, here is an affordable opportunity for a member of your nonprofit staff team to join me and a cohort of small business owners to reflect on where your organization is headed and what you need to do to improve your impact, financial and staff management, and operations. Each series is limited to 15 attendees and only a few slots are open to nonprofits. The discussion will not be about nonprofit boards, restricted revenue, or foundation relations but it will be about all of the things that nonprofits share in common with businesses – reflection and planning for profitability and sustainability; identifying your purpose and target audiences; researching your assumptions; identifying new products and services; hiring, organizing and leading your team, developing processes that let you work more effectively and train new staff more easily; cash flow management, financial budgeting and forecasting, etc.

Using a proven curriculum from Kauffman Foundation, this program is still in its first year with Business Ownership Initiative locally so they are offering the dramatically discounted rate of only $300 for the 10 week series. For more information.

Register for the next Series, beginning the morning of Friday, September 13 at: http://gv091313.eventbrite.com Bryan Orander, President of Charitable Advisors and Publisher of the Not-for-Profit News in Indianapolis and Cincinnati will be the lead facilitator for this session. www.CharitableAdvisors.com

If you have an idea for a new nonprofit, social enterprise, or business, they also have a 10 week series to help you flesh that out and decide if you have what it takes to be an entrepreneur, also only $300 this cycle. Limited nonprofit slots are available. For more information.

Register for the next Series, beginning the evening of September 11 at: http://nv091113.eventbrite.com Denise Herd, President of Herd Strategies will be the lead facilitator for this session. http://herdstrategies.com

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

How Financial Policies Sustain and Strengthen Your Organization

(Jim Simpson - Financial Technologies & and Management)

The board and finance committee responsibility includes ensuring that financial policies and procedures exist and are followed by the organization. Staff management is often delegated the responsibility to develop and maintain financial policies and procedures with limited direction or guidance from the board and finance committee. The board and finance committee can be consumed by more immediate financial matters like budgets, audits, financial statements, and cash flow.

Financial Policies and Procedures help sustain and strengthen your organization by defining:

• How the accounting function is performed including transaction processing like accounts payable, account receivable, payroll, journal entries, and grants and program management?
• What authorization and custody controls exist to reduce financial risks and protect organization?
• What environment and culture exist for your organization, how is authority defined, and what external influences exist?
• How does your accounting system help you implement your financial policies and procedures?
• What segregation of duties and controls exist to detect or prevent accidental or intentional mistakes?
• What training do you provide to ensure competence and knowledge of accounting staff?

It is important that you compare your major transaction processing (A/P, A/R, Payroll, etc) transactions to best practices and evaluate costs versus benefits for each transaction process. If you have not reviewed and improved your financial policies and procedures recently then an experienced outside perspective, like FTM's, can help. An organization with good financial policies and procedures benefits from operating efficiencies, clear expectations, financial accountability, and better training.

More Information - At the end of this article is more detail about how financial policies help sustain and strengthen your organization. Read it at:http://www.ftmllc.com/Library-articles.htm

FTMs next nonprofit webinar will provide more details and will be held on Thursday, July 25th at 12:30 EST. You can register by emailing us atregister@ftmllc.com or calling us at 317-819-0780.

Financial Technologies & Management (FTM) has been a supporter of the Not-for-Profit News for eight years. They are a full service CPA firm providing bookkeeping, accounting, controller, CFO Advisor, and Software Advisor services to over 350 nonprofit and religious organizations since 1999. Contact them at 317.819.0780 or info@ftmllc.com to see how they can help your nonprofit organization.

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

The Overhead Myth

A letter to Donors from BBB, Guidestar, and Charity Navigators

To the Donors of America:

We write to correct a misconception about what matters when deciding which charity to support. The percent of charity expenses that go to administrative and fundraising costs-commonly referred to as "overhead"-is a poor measure of a charity's performance.
We ask you to pay attention to other factors of nonprofit performance: transparency, governance, leadership, and results. For years, each of our organizations has been working to increase the depth and breadth of the information we provide to donors in these areas so as to provide a much fuller picture of a charity's performance.

That is not to say that overhead has no role in ensuring charity accountability. At the extremes the overhead ratio can offer insight: it can be a valid data point for rooting out fraud and poor financial management. In most cases, however, focusing on overhead without considering other critical dimensions of a charity's financial and organizational performance does more damage than good.

In fact, many charities should spend more on overhead. Overhead costs include important investments charities make to improve their work: investments in training, planning, evaluation, and internal systems- as well as their efforts to raise money so they can operate their programs. When we focus solely or predominantly on overhead, we can create what the Stanford Social Innovation Review has called "The Nonprofit Starvation Cycle." We starve charities of the freedom they need to best serve the people and communities they are trying to serve.