The Characteristics of Top-Notch Virginia Certified Nonprofit Accountants

Among Virginia certified nonprofit accountants, there’s a shared set of characteristics that sets the top accountants apart from their peers. Like leaders in any field of endeavor, the best Virginia certified nonprofit accountants are well-educated, hard working, and caring professionals.

But there’s more to it than that. Top nonprofit accounts are:

  • Accurate: They pay attention to their work down to the last penny. It bothers them when they are off by a few cents because they pride themselves on the accuracy of their work. Details matter in most professional fields but matter quite a bit in the field of accounting. Good Virginia certified nonprofit accountants check and double check their work to ensure accuracy.
  • Punctual: They never miss a deadline. If they promise you that work will be completed by 6 p.m. on Friday, it’s delivered on or before 6 p.m. on Friday. They do not excuse tardiness and complete all required paperwork and IRS submissions on or before the deadline. In their line of work, accountants cannot afford to be absent-minded or careless about deadlines.
  • Communicators: It’s not all about the numbers for the best accountants. Great accountants are also strong communicators. They can explain things in layman’s terms to their clients, helping their clients understand their balance sheets and how to manage their finances for maximum impact. They also know how to communicate with peers and managers, sharing information and keeping coworkers informed.
  • Tech-Savvy: While accounting may be considered an old-fashioned profession, accountants today are anything but wedded to quill pens and ruled notebooks. Instead, they are comfortable with technology. You can just as easily find them on their smartphones as on their accounting software programs. They understand and use technology judiciously to enhance their professional abilities as nonprofit consultants. In addition to technology, they must also become software prodigies, understanding, and using software that their clients use to manage their finances.
  • People of integrity: Virginia certified nonprofit accountants bear a lot on their shoulders. They must display strong professional ethics and a high degree of personal integrity. Not only are they guiding nonprofit clients through their financial needs, they are also responsible for audits and other processes that require diligence, accuracy, and honesty.
  • Always seeking to be the best: Not content to rest on their laurels, the best Virginia certified nonprofit accountants are those always seeking to improve their knowledge and skills so that they can better help their clients. It’s not enough to have advanced degrees in accounting and a CPA designation to these accountants. They also seek professional development activities to improve accounting skills, understand new software and technologies, and learn about new tax and finance laws that can impact their clients. They’re always seeking to improve and become their personal best so that they can give the best back to their clients.

Does this seem like a tall order or a list of qualities more descriptive of Superman than your friendly nonprofit accountant? They support, guide, and advise their clients to help them be successful. When their clients are successful, they feel successful. Accountants are truly the unsung heroes of the nonprofit world!

Beck & Company

Beck & Company are Washington DC nonprofit advisors. We also are Virginia certified nonprofit accountants. We work with nonprofits of all sizes serving many different constituents nationwide, providing a variety of consulting, auditing, and accounting services. For more information, please contact us at 703-834-0776 x8001.

The Truth About Payroll Taxes and Accounting for Nonprofits

There are many myths swirling about the nonprofit world when it comes to payroll taxes and accounting for nonprofits. Taxes are a hot topic for nonprofits because many nonprofit organizations think that ‘tax exempt’ means they pay no taxes on anything. Unfortunately, this myth can get you into some hot water with the IRS if you’re not careful. Even though nonprofits can be tax-exempt, not every item in your budget is exempt. Salaries and wages are one such item.

Accounting for Nonprofits: The Myth of “Tax Exempt Everything”

One of the benefits that nonprofits receive is the designation of being ‘tax exempt.’ This designation is received from the IRS for nonprofits who comply with IRS regulations regarding nonprofit status. The idea behind this rule is that nonprofits, by their very nature, funnel excess margin back into their good works to help their constituents.

However, tax-exempt does NOT mean tax-exempt everything. Certain items are still subject to taxation. One such item is payroll.

Nonprofit Payroll: Employee Taxes

Nonprofits are made up of volunteers, part-time employees, and full-time employees. Compensation paid to each type of worker may be subject to taxes.

  • Volunteers who are paid in gift cards and gifts may or may not have their compensation taxed It depends on the type, nature, and value of the gifts. Small, low-value gifts may be tax fee; gift cards may be taxed. Speak with a nonprofit accounting expert or CPA to determine whether or not such gifts are subject to taxes.
  • Part-time and full-time employees must pay social security and Medicare taxes. They must also pay personal federal and state income taxes even if the nonprofit they are working for is a tax-exempt entity.

Who’s on the hook if you forget to pay these taxes? Your Board of Directors is responsible for ensuring tax compliance on all taxable matters. If you are part of a nonprofit Board, be sure to look into taxation issues with the help of a good nonprofit CPA or tax accountant to ensure you are correctly following the laws and complying with all applicable state and federal laws.

What About Religious Nonprofits?

There are some exemptions that may apply to nonprofits. These include churches and certain church-controlled organizations. They can take an elective exemption from FICA taxes (social security and Medicare). Certain services performed by ministers or members of religious orders may also be exempt from FICA. And compensation paid to students by a nonprofit organization may also be exempt from FICA.

FUTA Taxes

In regard to FUTA taxes, the IRS states that “Religious, educational, scientific, charitable and other organizations described in section 501(c)(3) are exempt from tax under section 501(a) are not subject to FUTA tax and do not have to file form 940.” In order to qualify for this exemption, such organizations must receive a favorable determination letter from the IRS to qualify for this exemption. It’s not automatic; you must apply for and receive a favorable determination letter from the IRS.

Confused About Accounting for Nonprofits? Contact the Experts

All of these exemptions and rules apply on the federal level; states may have another set of rules that guides tax exemption items for nonprofit organizations. That’s why it’s important for you to have a local nonprofit accounting firm to work with who understands both federal and state tax rules and how to correctly apply them to your organization. Accounting for nonprofits can be complex. It is helpful to have experts by your side to navigate the financial waters safely.

Beck & Company

Beck & Company are Washington DC nonprofit advisors. We also are Virginia certified nonprofit accountants. We work with nonprofits of all sizes serving many different constituents nationwide, providing a variety of consulting, auditing, and accounting services. For more information, please contact us at 703-834-0776 x8001.