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 […] Details
In the face of a tight job market and a widening skills gap, employers in many industries are catching on to the benefits of “upskilling.” More than just your typical employee training, upskilling takes a broad approach to development. It can involve teaching workers additional skills in areas related to but outside their current positions to help fulfill the employer’s existing or anticipated needs. Or it can simply give employees access to learning that will help them progress in their careers, either with their current employer or elsewhere. Real-world examples Take, for example, Starbucks’ College Achievement Plan. It offers workers tuition reimbursements to earn an online bachelor’s degree from Arizona State University. The coffee company doesn’t stop at tuition — it also provides coaches, advisors and 24/7 tutoring. Another example is Boeing’s recent launch of a program that will give employees access to online lessons, certification courses and degree programs, as well as several programs to help enhance technical skills, starting with digital literacy. Potential perks The potential perks for employers are many, including: • Improved employee retention, • Reduced recruiting costs, • Higher productivity, • Better engagement, and • Stronger branding. Companies also are finding that many customers increasingly […] Details
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 […] Details
There are few more self-destructive acts for an employer than to waste its employees’ time. You not only squander productivity but also hurt morale. Among the most common culprits of wasted time are bad meetings. A sloppily managed one can leave employees grumbling and frustrated for hours, even days, afterward. Here are six ways to run a better meeting: 1. Start on time. Beginning promptly shows you respect people’s time and encourages punctuality as an aspect of your organizational culture. Train and encourage meeting leaders to adhere to firm start times. Managers should address chronic latecomers verbally first (but after the meeting), and in writing later if necessary. 2. Lead with something positive. Poorly run meetings can quickly devolve into unproductive gripe sessions. Set the tone for a more constructive discussion of your agenda items by leading off with some good news highlighting an organizational or individual accomplishment. 3. Clear the air. After a positive start, if there’s an “elephant in the room,” confront it. Examples include a sudden staff change, bad sales report or unflattering story in the media. Say whatever needs to be said to acknowledge it and, if appropriate, discuss it. Then move on to a more […] Details
Financial statements help investors and lenders monitor a company’s performance. However, financial statements may not provide a full picture of financial health. What’s undisclosed could be just as significant as the disclosures. Here’s how a CPA can help stakeholders identify unrecorded items either through external auditing procedures or by conducting agreed upon procedures (AUPs) that target specific accounts. Start with assets Revealing undisclosed liabilities and risks begins with assets. For each asset, it’s important to evaluate what could cause the account to diminish. For example, accounts receivable may include bad debts, or inventory may include damaged goods. In addition, some fixed assets may be broken or in desperate need of repairs and maintenance. These items may signal financial distress and affect financial ratios just as much as unreported liabilities do. Some of these problems may be uncovered by touring the company’s facilities or reviewing asset schedules for slow-moving items. Benchmarking can also help. For example, if receivables are growing much faster than sales, it could be a sign of aging, uncollectible accounts. Evaluate liabilities Next, external accountants can assess liabilities to determine whether the amount reported for each item seems accurate and complete. For example, a company may forget to […] Details
Tyler, Simms & St. Sauveur, CPAs, P.C.
Phone: +1 (603) 653-0044