Americans gave unprecedented sums to charity in response to the devastating hurricanes last year. Large organizations, such as the American Red Cross, were equipped to handle the huge influxes of donations. However, some smaller charities were overwhelmed. Although it may seem like an unlikely problem, your not-for-profit needs a plan to handle a potential outpouring of support. Know what’s normal Perhaps the biggest lesson to learn from recent disasters is to always have an expansion plan in place. When the influx of online giving reached critical mass, many organizations found that their websites overloaded and went offline. Their sites had to be moved to more powerful servers to handle the increased traffic. Keep track of “normal” website hits, as well as the numbers of calls and email inquiries received, so you won’t be caught off guard when you start to surpass that amount. Also, know your systems’ ultimate capacity so you can enact a contingency plan should you approach critical mass. Mobilize your troops Having an “early warning system” is only one part of being prepared. You also need to be able to mobilize your troops in a hurry. Do you know how to reach all of your board members […] Read More
Complex accounting estimates — such as allowances for doubtful accounts, impairments of long-lived assets, and valuations of financial and nonfinancial assets — have been blamed for many high-profile accounting scams and financial restatements. Estimates generally involve some level of measurement uncertainty, and some may even require the use of outside specialists, such as appraisers or engineers. As a result, examining estimates is a critical part of an audit. Companies that understand the audit process are better equipped to facilitate audit fieldwork and can communicate more effectively with their auditors. Here’s what you need to know about auditing the use of estimates as we head into next audit season. Audit techniques Some estimates may be easily determinable, but many are inherently complex. Auditing standards generally provide the following three approaches for substantively testing accounting estimates and fair value measurements: 1. Testing management’s process. Auditors evaluate the reasonableness and consistency of management’s assumptions, as well as test whether the underlying data is complete, accurate and relevant. 2. Developing an independent estimate. Using management’s assumptions (or alternate assumptions), auditors come up with an estimate to compare to what’s reported on the internally prepared financial statements. 3. Reviewing subsequent events or transactions. The reasonableness […] Read More
Are you comfortable communicating electronically with your auditors? If so, a logical next step might be to transition from on-site audit procedures to a more “remote” approach. Remote audits can help reduce the time and cost of preparing audited financial statements. 21st century audits Traditionally, audit fieldwork has involved a team of auditors camping out for weeks (or even months) in one of the conference rooms at the headquarters of the company being audited. Now, thanks to technological advances — including cloud storage, smart devices and secure data-sharing platforms — many audit firms are testing the feasibility of remote auditing as a replacement for sending auditors on-site. In addition to saving time and audit fees, allowing auditors to work remotely improves the work-life balance for auditors and in-house accounting personnel. Your employees won’t need to stay glued to their desks for the duration of the audit, because they can respond to the auditor’s inquiries and document requests remotely. Best practices Changing the format of an audit requires flexibility, including a willingness to embrace the technology needed to facilitate the exchange, review and analysis of relevant documents. You can facilitate the transition process by: Being responsive to electronic requests. Auditors who […] Read More
Most charitable not-for-profits have a never-ending need for volunteers. But finding new ones can be time-consuming — and volunteer searches aren’t always successful. Here are three recruitment ideas that can help. 1. Look nearby Is your nonprofit familiar to businesses, residents and schools in the surrounding community? People often are drawn to volunteer because they learn of a worthwhile organization that’s located close to where they live or work. Start to get to know your neighbors by performing an inventory of the surrounding area. Perhaps there’s a large apartment building you’ve never paid much attention to. Consider the people who live there to be potential volunteers. Likewise, if there’s an office building nearby, learn about the businesses that occupy it. Their employees might have skills, such as website design or bookkeeping experience, that perfectly match your volunteer opportunities. Once you’ve identified some good outreach targets, mail or hand-deliver literature introducing your nonprofit as a neighbor and describing your needs. Consider inviting your neighbors to a celebration or informational open house at your offices. 2. Fine-tune your pitch By making your pitches as informative and compelling as possible, you’re more likely to inspire potential volunteers to action. Specifically, explain the: […] Read More
Tyler, Simms & St. Sauveur, CPAs, P.C.
Phone: +1 (603) 653-0044