FASB Set to Release Nonprofit Accounting Changes Summer 2016

The Financial Accounting Standards Board (FASB) is set to release the first wave of nonprofit accounting changes during the summer of 2016, according to an article in Accounting Today.

The article indicates that FASB has completed its assessment of the feedback received on Phase 1 of its intended changes. The organization appears ready to release the first set of accounting standards changes that will guide nonprofit organizations in the near future.

The changes are expected to significantly affect the way nonprofits report net revenue, as well as other less significant changes impacting how nonprofits report and account for their finances. This is the first major overhaul of the nonprofit accounting guidelines in over 20 years. The overhaul came because FASB recognized the changing face of the nonprofit sector, with newer types of nonprofits requiring a different view on accounting standards.

Nonprofits Prefer to Stay Flexible, In-Sync with For-Profit Accounting

One thing that surprised the people at FASB was the outpouring of feedback they received from the nonprofit sector. Typically, the standards board receives only a smattering of feedback when it requests public input. The nonprofit sector sent in 250+ letters detailing feedback on the proposed changes.

The biggest request was that FASB retain the flexibility it has previously allowed in nonprofit reporting. Another request that came over loud and clear was the desire for nonprofits, in similar industries as for-profits, to continue using accounting methods and standards in line with the industry itself, rather than based on tax status.

The goal of keeping both for-profit and nonprofit accounting models in sync is to keep their reporting methods clear and easily understandable by most people. Because many people are at least familiar with basic accounting concepts used by for-profits, by keeping the nonprofit model similar, donors and the general public can better understand the finances of nonprofits. Transparency is maintained as it pertains to financial records because the information can be understood more easily.

The Rollout Schedule: What to Expect                                                                     

As Phase 1 begins rollout this year, it will impact reports generated starting December 2017. Financial statements for the fiscal year ending December 2017 should follow the new guidelines, with early adoption permitted.

The Big Change: Two Net Asset Reporting Categories Instead of Three

The biggest changed planned for Phase 1 includes condensing the three net asset reporting categories into two. The current categories include unrestricted, temporarily restricted and permanently restricted. The two new categories will be donor restrictions and without donor restrictions. The “without donor restrictions” category replacing the former unrestricted category.

Other areas impacted by the changes include some minor tweaks in the reporting of investment returns, as well as liquidity and availability.

Help Navigating the Changes

An upcoming webinar will be discussing how the FASB and IASB have released a new revenue recognition standard – which will dramatically impact the financial processes of software companies. Although the effective date is several quarters away, you need to begin taking action now. Click here to register for the New FASB Rev Rec Standards, Actions You Should Take Now Webinar on Thursday, June 16th at 11 AM PT/2 PM ET.

It can be difficult to discern which changes may truly impact your nonprofit organization and which may be considered and evaluated for your particular needs. The professional CPAs and consultants at Beck & Company can assist you through these changes, helping you update your accounting standards to reflect your nonprofit’s financial models and goals. We invite you to contact us to learn more. Call us at 703-834-0776.

New Tax Considerations for Nonprofit Special Events

Events such as annual galas, 5k run/walks, trips, and dinners are a great source of revenue for nonprofit organizations. They gather stakeholders and constituents together and give organizations an opportunity to showcase their charity or cause and invite others into investing in it. One thing to consider when hosting such events are the potential tax ramifications that go along with these types of events. With proper planning there is no need for alarm. Today we will look at some of these tax ramifications and ways you can ensure you’re covered.

A great place to begin is with an understanding of what exactly constitutes a fundraising event according to the IRS.  According to their website, the IRS states that fundraising events are dinners, auctions, and other events conducted for the sole or primary purpose of raising funds.

Before you plan

Fundraising efforts are of course, an important part of any nonprofit organizations strategy. Particularly now, it is imperative to brush up on potential pitfalls from such events. Things like unrelated business income and its corresponding filings and taxes for such income. Additionally you will want to become well versed on Form 990, in particular Schedule G.

Oftentimes corporate sponsorships result in the most lucrative fundraising. However, when hosting an event where a corporate sponsorship receives promotion, that can be considered “advertising”, those dollars could be considered taxable. It is allowed at an event to display a sponsor’s logo, company name, provide an address, website and phone number, or list their product line. Should you advertise for them, (induce a product for purchase, offer discounts etc.), designate a sponsor as an exclusive provider, give a sponsor facilities, services, or other privileges, or grant exclusive or nonexclusive rights to the sponsor’s asset, then that could be considered advertising and is taxable.

Form 990 and Special Events

Another challenge when hosting special events is Form 990 and Schedule G. This is the supplemental information Regarding Fundraising or Gaming Activities.  In the past, special events were reported on Form 990, Part 1, Line 9 in which a five-column reporting format was presented as an attached statement. However, the new Form 990, requires that any amount raised over $15,000 from a special event or gaming, or both, require reporting more information that was previously required. In some instances detailed reporting for the top two events specifically, as well as a collective report for all other fundraising events. Another change is they are asking for a breakout of amounts for cash prizes, non-cash prizes, facility rental costs, and other direct expenses for each event.

In addition, if you hold any sort of gaming event, think Bingo or Casino nights, the schedule G, Part III requires additional breakdowns for expenses and prizes. If this is the case and an event is categorized under the gaming definition, you will be asked to answer nine special, multi-part questions regarding the activity. These questions will include the name and compensation provided to the “gaming manager”.

Although these new rules and requirements are tricky and may seem overwhelming, it still remains true that this is a great time to host fundraising events. Don’t let these new regulations scare you from holding them. Rather, be prepared. Raising funds through these means can be fun, and the more creative and innovative you are the more funds you will likely raise. Ensure your safety by knowing the tax laws ahead of time or partner with someone who can help walk you through them.

At Beck & Company, Certified Public Accountants and Business Advisors, we are an accounting and consulting firm delivering specialized expertise, creative thinking, and unsurpassed service to ensure that our clients’ financial endeavors flourish.

Serving small and mid-sized organizations and individuals, we provide audit, tax, accounting, and consulting service that address all aspects of your business with one goal in mind – exceeding your expectations. We are able to do this by drawing on our combined business backgrounds and experience in public accounting to help you in virtually any area of your business. If you would like help walking through these new tax ramifications, contact us, today.


Maintaining New Governments Standards with Reporting Health Plan Coverage

2015 brought new standards of reporting Health Plan Coverage to both employees and the IRS. Although official reports won’t be due until January of 2016, there are several steps to take now to ensure you are prepared when the time comes.  Depending on if you are a small or large employer, the requirements are as follows:

  • Small Employer: If you are an employer with self-insured health plans and are not considered a large employer (over 50 full-time equivalent employees), you are required to issue Form 1095-B to every covered employee, and file copies with the IRS.
  • Large Employer: If you are considered a large employer, you are required to issue a Form 1095-C to every employee and file copies with the IRS.

The following information will be required to report for each employee receiving a 1095-C

  1. Health care coverage. You must report the health care coverage that was offered or not offered to the employee
  2. Amount. You will need to report the amount that was paid by the employee for their portion of the lowest-cost monthly premium. This applies to self-only minimum value coverage.
  3. Reasoning. Should an employee not be offered insurance at any time within the calendar year you must indicate the reasoning using the corresponding code. For instance, if the employee was not employed in that month (2A) or employed at a part time level (2B).

A list of codes is available at www.irs.gov/instructions/i109495c/index.html and should be reviewed to ensure all form requirements are begin met throughout the year.

Self-insured Employer Reporting

Any employer offering a self-insured health plan must provide the following information:

  1. List of each employee, including spouse, dependents or others covered under the plan who was given coverage for a minimum of one month throughout the year.
  2. Date of birth and social security number for each covered individual.
  3. Each month for which the person was covered

Large Employers will report using Form 1095-C, part 3. If you are not considered a large employer you will want to use 1095-B.

See www.irs.gov/instructions/i109495b/index.html. For the comprehensive requirements of form 1095.

Transition Relief for Large Employers

Transitional relief has been provided by the IRS for a variety of employer and plan situations including penalties for incomplete or incorrect returns. Generally, the relief will provide extra time to develop processes for data collection in compliance with the new requirements. However, no relief will be extended to employers who can show a concerted effort to collect and provide required information. Transitional relief will be extended in specific circumstances, some of which are detailed below:

  • If by December 27, 2012, your health plan was not on a calendar you may be eligible for transitional relief for the first calendar months of 2015. Please note you must have offered affordable coverage providing minimal benefits by the first day of 2015.
  • If your company has wavered at the 50 Full Time Employee (FTE) mark you may be eligible for Transitional Relief. You may use a six consecutive month measuring period in 2014 to assess whether you are considered a Large Employer.
  • The requirement states that you must offer coverage for all days within the month, for January 2015 if you provided coverage before the first payday you will be considered as offering coverage as of January 1, 2015.
  • If you did not offer coverage in 2013 or 2014 for dependents you will not be subject to shared responsibility liability in 2015. However, you must prove that you are taking steps to offer dependent coverage.
  • Should you have more than 50 but fewer than 100 FTE, for 2015, you are not held liable for the shared responsibility payment. However, you must show that you
    • Have fewer than 100 FTE employees
    • has not reduced its hours of service or workforce between 2/9/2014 and 12/31/14
    • Are maintaining previously offered coverage. Forms 1094C and 1095-C will verify these requirements.
  • An employer will have a reduced penalty if they have over 99 FTE employees and have offered affordable minimum coverage to at least 70% of its employees

The Affordable Care Act requirements have had their challenges. Concerns have been identified and requirement changes have been made. However, it is advisable to prioritize compliance and planning to adhere to these regulations. Reports to the IRS and employees are imperative to the compliance process and should be followed.

At Beck & Company, Certified Public Accountants and Business Advisors, we are an accounting and consulting firm delivering specialized expertise, creative thinking, and unsurpassed service to ensure that our clients’ financial endeavors flourish.

Serving small and mid-sized organizations and individuals, we provide audit, tax, accounting, and consulting service that address all aspects of your business with one goal in mind – exceeding your expectations. We are able to do this by drawing on our combined business backgrounds and experience in public accounting to help you in virtually any area of your business. Contact us for more information on our accounting and consulting services that can help you.

Nonprofit Leaders and How they Influence Board Members

The factors that contribute to the success (or failure) of nonprofits are many. Over the past month, we have taken a closer look at many of these factors. These include following through on commitments to staff and nonprofit constituents, prioritizing people over tasks, advocating for instead of simply satisfying the needs of constituents, using data to inform decisions, and using technology to take advantage of all possible venues with which to connect with all involved in the organization. In addition, we looked at how directors can help their board members to enhance organizational success by the ways in which meetings and other interactions with board members are structured in order to maximize the boards’ expertise. To learn more about this, visit here.

In addition to structuring board meetings and other interactions, leaders and directors of nonprofits have other powerful potential to positively influence the board of directors. These can be split into tasks and effective use of time. Let’s take a closer look at both.

Tasks Essential to Leaders and Directors of Nonprofits Positively Assisting Boards in their Job and the Organization Overall

  1. Ensuring compliance and control of organizational practices even as the organization grows, changes, and increases in complexity
  2. Ensuring financial practices are in place, monitored, upheld, and secure
  3. Helping structure, navigate, and implement the strategic direction of the nonprofit and being sure operations are matching intended goals and outcomes
  4. Building capability for the future by guiding current practices, future decisions, and daily operations well in addition to evaluating prior actions for effectiveness

Tips Essential to Leaders and Directors of Nonprofits Using Time with Board Members Effectively

  1. Carefully plan interactions, meetings, and prioritization of tasks/decisions that need to be done/made
  2. Manage expectations of what can be achieved in the time given to make strategic decision-making possible instead of challenging by not overwhelming board members but still wisely using instead of wasting time
  3. Use opportunities for conversation unrelated to actual board meetings (such as dinners or other gatherings) to gain better overall insight into board members and their skill sets in order to better leverage the talents they possess
  4. Think strategically about what the board truly needs to hear about and be involved in versus what can be handled within the organization’s daily operations instead. The ultimate waste of valuable time is spending it on areas that are unnecessary and not seeking guidance and direction in areas that are essential to success.
  5. Use technology effectively to communicate with board members in a convenient way that also keeps communication flowing. This means using emails or other forms of communication for check-ins between scheduled board meetings. In addition, this can involve telephone and video conferencing to make it possible for meetings to occur without requiring everybody to be in the same place at the same time in order for a meeting to be held.

Beck and Company Certified Public Accountants and Business Advisors know that achieving success as a nonprofit and positively impacting board members are no easy feats. That is why we are here to help. Needing to focus on so many people (including board members) even with time limitation plus carrying out important tasks makes it hard to also need to focus time and energy on the financial side of operations. We can help with this aspect so you can focus on the others areas that will help you be successful. Beck and Company CPAs offer a large variety of financial services that are tailored to nonprofit needs. For more information on these nonprofit services, visit here.

Contact us here at Beck and Company CPAs to request financial nonprofit service offerings or to get more information on how to help your board and constituents in order to be successful as a nonprofit.

Helping your Nonprofit Board of Directors to be Successful

Being a successful nonprofit organization has never been an easy task. Unfortunately, it is more difficult than ever to be a successful nonprofit thanks to the quick pace of changes in our modern world, higher stakes than ever before, rapid technological advances, added pressures to keep up with all of the venues being used to get the word out, and many other facets. To find success, much is required on the part of the organization. To learn more about four keys to success for nonprofits, visit here.

When it comes to your board of directors, the challenges they face are no different. The modern board faces constantly evolving challenges with multiple issues competing for its attention in a limited period of time. With so many factors influencing nonprofits and such limited time for boards to meet, how can you help your board maximize the use of their board meeting time?

Structuring Board Meetings: Have a Central Focus

As directors of your nonprofit, it all begins with careful planning of the agenda to secure adequate time for the issues you most want to focus on. As we’ve discussed over the past few weeks, if you don’t know what to focus on at your nonprofit, this can be costly and detrimental to success. If it is unclear where to put emphasis and energy, you will likely need to change your focus from day-to-day operations to people and your mission in order to ensure success. Be sure your priorities, goals, and focus are defined and prioritized first and foremost. Once you know what to focus on during the meeting, start it with the strategic issues of priority for that year, ensuring there is time for quality discussion. Routine matters can be slotted in later.

Ways to Engage the Board of Directors during Meetings and Other Venues of Involvement

In addition to the idea of using traditional board meeting discussions and forums during board meetings, site visits and specialized briefings help to draw all the key strands of the agenda together to support strategic decision-making and gain a better understanding of what goes on at the organization. After these visits and briefings, a next step is to look at trends, call out the impact of technology, and use this body of evidence to influence and inform where the organization anticipates and desires to go moving forward. However, it is also important to provide an opportunity for unstructured discussion– a free flow of information with you as the chief executive or director before the demands of the agenda take over. This also provides an opportunity to hear about and benefit from board members’ wide-ranging experience and expertise.

As Beck and Company Certified Public Accountants and Business Advisors, we understand all that goes into being successful as a nonprofit and how much work goes into being intentional in helping your board members along this same path. For this reason, we are here to help. You can allow yourself to focus on your mission and being the liaison between the organization and board if you have less to focus on in terms of the financial side of daily operations. We would be happy to assist you with your auditing, accounting, and overall financial needs. Visit here for more information on the variety of nonprofit services we offer including CFO, controllership, and accounting services.

Contact us here at Beck and Company CPAs so we can equip you as nonprofit directors to equip your board of directors while easing the burdens of financial responsibilities by helping with them. We look forward to being part of your success as a nonprofit!

4 Keys to Being a Truly Successful Nonprofit

It is often the case that mainstream businesses are a bit “ahead of the times” of what most nonprofits are doing. High-performing companies are not just sitting on the sideline in order to get ahead of the curve. Instead, they are actively implementing innovative processes and honing their focus to get ahead. These companies are increasing revenue, growing in profits, raising market shares, and improving customer satisfaction. Although the desired outcomes are a little different for nonprofits, the desire to achieve success in goals is no different between mainstream businesses and nonprofit organizations. By implementing some of the same practices these successful companies are using at your nonprofit, you can help your organization to not only get out of its own ruts but be a leader and innovator among nonprofits. In turn, you can have the level of success in achieving your mission and goals that many large and successful businesses are having in achieving their desired profits.

It all starts by putting your focus in the right place. When it comes to businesses, they have found that there is connection between strong customer and employee engagement. A genuine customer focus is needed in order for businesses to thrive. This is no different for nonprofits. There needs to be a focus on nonprofit constituents and staff members instead of just day-to-day operations. To evaluate where your organization lies in putting your focus on the people and fulfilling commitments made to them, visit here.

If the focus of your organization, just like high-performing businesses that focus on customers and employees, is on the mission/constituents and staff, you are on the right track. Now, let’s take a closer look at four key areas that will help you, along with the right focus, to be truly successful as a nonprofit that are based on keys to success found amongst successful mainstream businesses.

4 Keys to being a Truly Successful Nonprofit

  1. Right priorities start from the top but run deep. The behaviors of nonprofit leaders and board members support a focus on nonprofit constituents and the mission in high-performing nonprofits, and the practice is drilled down to include the behaviors of staff members, too. Success stems from supporting the execution of constituent- and mission-focused strategies. Leadership involvement includes crafting a formal strategy (such as a solid mission and action steps to meet it), setting clear goals, and aligning internal systems and processes with the needs that need to be met.
  2. Focus beyond just constituent satisfaction to extend to customer advocacy. Satisfaction is the global standard for measuring a focus on customers for businesses and constituents for nonprofits. But, high performers across the spectrum recognize that active engagement is essential. Feedback and referrals are both important. In addition, advocating for constituents as a whole instead of simply meeting a need or two is essential.
  3. The focus of the nonprofit should be driven, at least in part, by data. In the age of Big Data and evidence-based business activity, high-performance companies use customer insights, shared organization-wide, to shape products, services, and strategy. This should not be any different for nonprofits. Are you regularly collecting and actively using data to help meet your mission and goals?
  4. Connect with constituents in as many ways as you can, including the use of technology. Are you putting technology to good use to better make connections with everyone from donors to those who receive the services offered by your nonprofit? This can include social media venues and technology offerings meant to track interactions plus marketing initiatives. These connections should encompass sharing stories and service offerings, soliciting feedback, listening to and acting on feedback, and promoting participation.

Beck and Company Certified Public Accountants and Business Advisors know that being a truly successful nonprofit, just like a successful business, is no easy task. That is why we are here to help. With so much focus needed on prioritizing, keeping people satisfied, advocating for constituents, using data to enhance success, and connecting well with those involved, it is hard to also need to focus time and energy on the financial side of operations. Leave this part to us so you can focus on the others areas that will help you be successful. We can help with a large variety of financial services that are tailored to nonprofit needs. For more information on all of our nonprofit services, visit here.

Beck and Company CPAs would be happy to help you achieve your nonprofit goals by helping with your financial practices and carrying out audits, etc. Contact us to learn more.

Setting your Nonprofit Organization Apart: Where Do Your Commitments Lie?

It is undeniable that you want your nonprofit organization to be as successful as possible, but do you really know what that takes? It can be easy, almost too easy, to simply do what has always been done at your organization instead of trying to be the best you can be and set yourselves apart from the pack. Too often, nonprofits do what they have always done instead of being innovative leaders themselves. Don’t let the success of your organization be robbed by a lack of initiative and best practices to simply maintain what has always been done and what is comfortable.

If you agree that you want to be as successful as possible as a nonprofit, that some things will need to be developed instead of staying the same in order to get there, and that you want to separate yourselves from the identity of “surviving” with acceptable practices to “thriving,” how do you do this? It starts by having a true focus on so much more than just day-to-day operations and tasks. It stems from a focus on people.

Developing the Right Focus on People instead of Operations

Let’s take it a step further and consider if your organization really does even focus at all beyond the day-to-day operations. Should your focus just be on routines and practices or should there be more of a focus on the people? Have you considered the people you are trying to reach and the people trying to make this outreach possible by working for your organization? This is an important starting point to evaluate your priorities and where your focus actually lies. It takes being focused on your mission and its constituents and helping your staff to be successful in these efforts.

If the focus of your organization should be on the mission/constituents and staff, you need to evaluate how they currently are being reached and how they are feeling. Let’s take a closer look at how to evaluate this by using some reflection questions you can ask yourself. The reality is that these questions should highlight if you are keeping your commitments to these groups because keeping commitments is essential to success.

Questions to ask yourself regarding those you are trying to reach based on your mission (your nonprofit constituents):

  • Are we meeting the needs we said we would meet or failing to provide what was promised?
  • Are constituents satisfied or disgruntled?
  • Does our mission come across to our constituents in how we act upon it or not?
  • Do constituents feel comfortable interacting with staff members and that their needs are being understood and responded to?

Questions to ask yourself regarding your organization’s staff:

  • Are we keeping promises made to our staff?
  • Are staff members feeling like they are being taken for granted, or are they appreciated?
  • Are staff needs being met by the organization to the point that they can truly focus on meeting the needs of others—of the nonprofit constituents being served?
  • Are staff members treating constituents well?
  • Are staff members bought in to the mission?
  • Are staff members equipped with the resources and training they need or not?

As Beck and Company Certified Public Accountants and Business Advisors, we realize just how much goes into being successful as a nonprofit. This is so much more than just day-to-day operations but requires pouring time, energy, and resources into the people serving and being served by the nonprofit. That is why we are here to help. You can allow yourself to focus on your mission and the important people involved with your nonprofit more if you have less to focus on in terms of the financial side of daily operations. We would be happy to assist you with your auditing, accounting, and overall financial needs. For more information on the variety of nonprofit services we offer including CFO, controllership, and accounting services, visit here.

Contact Beck and Company CPAs to find out more about helping your nonprofit to be successful and how we can help you achieve this by meeting your auditing and accounting needs.

Nonprofit Financial Transparency Actions that Reduce the Risk of Fraud

All of us want to trust those we work with and that they share our beliefs about ethical practices. Unfortunately, this is not the case all the time. Fraud is a real risk for nonprofit organizations. Fraud can have a serious impact on your organization’s reputation, future receipt of donations, stakeholder trust, and more. It is essential that you safeguard your organization from fraudulent activity. One more important area impacted by fraud are the financial facets of your organization. This can truly be costly. We will take a closer look at financial safeguards and actions you can take to reduce the risk of fraud at your nonprofit in the area of finances. For other actions you can take to safeguard your nonprofit in the area of the board of directors from possible fraud, visit here. Those tips will help you be aware of four conditions that promote fraud and tips for avoiding it as a board.

Beck and Company’s Certified Public Accountants and Business Advisors can help with important aspects of safeguarding finances and financial transactions within your nonprofit and take the importance of this very seriously. Fraudulent activity can be costly, damaging, and ultimately destructive to organizations and their important work. That’s why we offer nonprofit financial audits to help you help your organization be very knowledgeable about the financial practices that are occurring within your nonprofit. This knowledge can be used to help you be more actively involved in upholding and maintaining effective financial reporting to prevent fraud. We can conduct internal financial audits and provide you with the facts you need to stay current on financial dealings and not allow fraud to creep into areas that are not being monitored but should be. Learn more about our auditing services here.

Financial Facets that need to be Safeguarded and Tips to Prevent Fraud

  • Checking and Banking accounts
  • Keep blank checks locked in a secure location and restrict access to them
  • On a monthly basis, have staff outside of the disbursement initiation, approval, and check-signing functions that are at the senior level obtain unopened bank statements and review cancelled checks and statements
  • Implement an independent review (here at Beck and Company CPAs, we can do this for you) of monthly bank reconciliations and related journal entries
  • Record all new accounts and closed accounts in finance committee minutes
  • Learn what fraud prevention services may be offered through your banking institution
  • Revenue and receipting
  • Use dual control where more than one person is receiving and counting receipts in addition to check and cash contributions
  • Require all grant notifications to be reported to the finance department
  • Reconcile earned revenue (such as student enrollment numbers or tickets sold) with statistics outside of the finance department
  • Disbursements
  • Compare vendor addresses and employee addresses periodically to ensure there is no crossover
  • Detect kickback schemes by performing independent price checks of payroll taxes withheld against amounts actually paid
  • Require two live signatures for every check and wire transfer that is of significant value (determine that amount as a group)
  • Reporting
  • Set reasonable spending limits on company credit cards and purchasing cards
  • Require finance department reviews of periodic reporting on all grants to ensure effective financial reporting is in place
  • Require reporting on monthly balance sheets and income statements
  • Expense reporting
  • Formulate and strictly enforce credit card expenditure documentation
  • Have a nonprofit financial audit committee member review CFO and CEO expense reports for true financial transparency in the organization from top to bottom

Financial transparency is so important to reducing the risk of fraud. Beck and Company CPAs are here to assist you with any area within the financial realm that you may need expert help in for everything from establishing more effective financial reporting systems to conducting nonprofit financial audits that can reveal anything that needs a closer look in order to be safeguarded from fraud. Please contact us for information and help in these areas.


Preventing Nonprofit Fraudulent Activity within the Board of Directors

Implementing systems and actions meant to help your nonprofit organization prevent and eliminate fraud are essential to its ongoing financial and organizational health. Last week, we took a look at six important facts you should know about fraud that will help you take actions against it and implement effective financial reporting in the process. Click here to learn more. Beck and Company’s Certified Public Accountants and Business Advisors have also shared some tips and steps for preventing fraud in the past that are an important starting point in fraud prevention. Today, we will look at some additional actions you can take to further reduce fraud risks to your organization through actions needed within the board of directors. View the other prevention tips as a starting point, and then keep reading for additional tips and help.

Beck and Company CPAs offer auditing services to carry out nonprofit financial audits at your organization that can provide you with an extensive examination of financial information. These audits will give you a closer look at possible areas of fraud within your organization so that you can be intentional in dealing with them. We would be more than happy to help your organization in this way so you can help your organization maintain its wellbeing and prevent abuse.

Four Conditions that Promote Fraud:

Before we look at additional tips for preventing fraud, it is important to note the four factors or conditions that, when present in your organization, lead to fraud occurring. Be sure you are aware of the existence of these conditions so you can stop them both within the organization and the board of directors. They are:

  • Incentive (personal, professional, and financial gains)
  • Opportunity (ineffective financial reporting or lack of reports that allow for easy access and actions with little or no knowledge being able to be tracked by others)
  • Rationalization (justification of need or ability to commit abusive or fraudulent act)
  • Capability (in a position of trust and access to funds that make it easy to commit fraud)

Tips for Preventing Fraud within the Board of Directors at Nonprofits

Board members are not exempt from having the potential to commit fraud. In fact, they often have more access to information and funds in addition to being the most trusted within an organization. They can use this power and the above four conditions that are often most true of the board in order to take advantage of the nonprofit organization. Here are some tips to help ensure the board, too, is upholding financial transparency and acting with integrity even with more power and access available to them.

  • Institute a board member code of conduct and ethics policy
  • Create and use a conflict of interest policy and require all board members and senior staff alike to sign this disclosure statement on an annual basis
  • Require staff and board member background checks including for those in existing roles (especially finance staff and those in the most sensitive positions)
  • Establish a formal audit committee with a charter laying out specific duties and tasks. Beck and Company CPAs would be pleased to help you in this process and as the auditors.
  • Enforce a formulated gift acceptance policy for all gifts
  • Monitor performance throughout the year of internal control policies and procedures by requiring finance staff to report results of reviews of internal control processes and use effective financial reporting
  • Engage an independent accounting firm (such as Beck and Company CPAs) to evaluate controls as an agreed-upon procedure that occurs regularly

These board fraud prevention tips are only one area that needs fraud prevention. Stay tuned next week for tips that span across the financial domain of the organization. Beck and Company CPAs can help with nonprofit financial audits that will give you the financial transparency you need as an organization to prevent abuse within the board and nonprofit. Please contact us for assistance.

Implementing Effective Financial Reporting: Know the Facts about Fraud

Fraud is, in essence, criminal deception or wrongful action intentionally intended to result in personal and most often financial gain. Unfortunately, even nonprofit organizations are susceptible to fraudulent activity, and this can even occur within the organization internally through staff actions of finances that manipulate the truth of the financial reality or use it for personal instead of organizational use. Last week, we took a look at ways to prevent fraud, the many types of financial fraud that exist, and how financial transparency can help. To learn more about all of these important facets to understand in terms of fraud, visit here.

Beck and Company’s Certified Public Accountants and Business Advisors know how important it is for your organization to truly thrive and accomplish its mission. Fraudulent activity can be both damaging and ultimately destructive to organizations and their important work. That’s why we offer nonprofit financial audits to help you help your organization be very knowledgeable about the financial practices that are occurring within your nonprofit and so you can be educated and actively involved in upholding and maintaining effective financial reporting to prevent fraud. We can conduct internal financial audits and provide you with the facts you need to keep up on financial dealings and not allow fraud to creep into areas that are not being monitored but should be. Learn more about our auditing services here.

Facts about Fraud that Your Nonprofit Organization Needs to Keep in Mind:

Let’s take a closer look at some important facts about fraud that you need to know.

  1. It likely already exists. Like it or not, there is a very high probability that fraud or financial abuse already exists somewhere within your organization. Accepting this but being active in not letting it spread farther is essential.
  2. The cost of fraud goes far beyond dollars lost. The true and real cost of reported instances of organizational fraud or abuse cannot be measured in terms of just dollars lost. They must also be measured in terms of lost public and internal trust in the organization.
  3. Changes to personnel and circumstances increase fraud risk. No organization is completely stagnant. As situations change and staff turnover or expansion takes place, new people and systems are involved all the time. These changes can increase the risk of internal fraud and abuse.
  4. Internal controls alone are not enough to prevent fraud. Certainly internal controls play a key role in deterring fraud and abuse, but they only represent one facet of the many, including effective financial reporting and financial transparency, that are needed for fraud prevention and detection.
  5. Everyone involved in the nonprofit must also be involved in fraud prevention. All constituents, staff, and board members have a role to play in preventing and detecting fraud and abuse. Everyone within an organization has a responsibility and duty to be active in noticing, reporting, and responding to fraud. No one should think they are exempt from this role.
  6. Fraud’s intensity increases with the level of the organization. Typically, fraud from the top of the organization is much more major and far more costly. Even still, minor fraud can still occur and impact an organization at the lower levels of an organization even if they are less severe.

Keep these facts about fraud in mind, and share them with those in your organization. Use them as a starting point through which you create your action steps in preventing fraud. Beck and Company CPAs are here to help you by carrying out nonprofit financial audits and taking other steps needed to help your nonprofit increase financial transparency and decrease fraud. Please contact us for assistance.