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Helping nonprofits become stronger financial managers

February 25, 2016

Bridge Services: An Interim Accounting Solution for Nonprofits
 

Did you know that NFP Partners offers an interim solution for nonprofit organizations experiencing transition in their accounting staff? We can help whether you’ve just learned that your CFO has found another job, you have a staff member taking a leave of absence, or you need a little extra help to get through a busy season. We call this arrangement “bridge services,” since we help bridge the span of time, however long it may take, between periods of change in your organization’s accounting department. 

Over the past few years, we have assisted many nonprofits with this type of arrangement with very positive results, and have occasionally gone on to assist these clients on a permanent basis. In a bridge services arrangement, we provide a short-term solution that allows you to focus on finding the best candidate for an open accounting position, or to maintain the workload of an absentee staff member. This gives you the peace of mind that your financial records are being properly maintained and deadlines are being met. We have experience in several different accounting software packages, including QuickBooks, Abila MIP, and Blackbaud Financial Edge, and can provide remote hosting of your accounting software during our engagement as necessary.

Our fees for bridge services are no higher than the fees charged to our ongoing accounting services clients. The fee, which is determined after an initial discovery consultation, covers our recurring professional services and software hosting, if necessary. NFP Partners can accommodate service agreements for as short as one month on bridge services, providing your organization the flexibility to make the hiring decisions that fit your needs best during a transition.

If your nonprofit is currently experiencing a transition, or if you’d just like to feel prepared for future transitions in your organization by learning more about bridge services, the first step is to schedule a discovery consultation with our staff.  From there, we can help you design a transition plan that is both within your organization’s budget, and that provides you the peace of mind that your nonprofit’s accounting won’t skip a beat during transition!  

Please contact Jessica Taylor at 303-570-7158 or jessica@nfppartners.com for additional information.

Jessica Taylor
NFP Partners

Avoiding Audit Nightmares

Earlier this month, we ran an Abila-crafted email marketing campaign, “Five Audit Nightmare You Want to Avoid” that got some attention. Many nonprofits are now in the middle of year-end audits, or will be scheduling audits later in the year. Although intended to stimulate thinking about accounting software, the bulk of the campaign’s information is right on target. I recommend it to BOD members, executive directors and financial managers.

First, let me make an observation and relate an antidote. Too many nonprofit organizations misunderstand the purpose of an audit. It is an independent review of the financial statements prepared by management to provide an opinion of their fairness. The audit is not a substitute for sloppy accounting and lack of internal controls. What we hear too often from nonprofit managers when asked about internal controls, such the need for a review of internal financial statements by a qualified person other than the one preparing them, is that we get that from our auditor. Some of you may have heard this one: When asked by the auditor about his organization’s internal controls the Executive Director replied “You’re it!” I admit this is at the extreme-end of the spectrum, but there are truly a lot of misunderstanding and poor practices in the middle. Preparation for the audit should not be an extraordinary project that consumes many extra hours of the accounting staff’s time. Organizations that get their act together as discussed in the material and from our direct experience put these problems in their rear-view-mirror.

Click here to read more.

Lee Bengston, CPA
Founder
NFP Partners

Reserves: A Non-Profit Myth or Must?
 

We are almost through the first quarter of 2016. Since the start of the year, we have been working diligently to reach the goals that we made at the start of the year. I recently had a discussion with a nonprofit regarding which goals were realistic to set for a "reserve" for their organization, should it be three months, six months or even a year?  That question to me is very dependent on each organization and can't be a blanket best practice.  Each organization needs to ask, "Why do I need the reserve fund?"  Many times the answer given is pretty vague, "In case something happens," or "To give me some elbow room." These vague answers can be an obstacle to starting the reserve.  A recent post from the Nonprofit Assistance Fund noted that there are three primary purposes for a reserve fund for nonprofits.  

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Laura Jorstad
Managing Principal
NFP Partners
NFP Partners
3570 E. 12th Ave.
Denver, CO 80206


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Contact us for a financial management assessment and to find out more about how NFP Partners can help you.

 

March Monthly MIP Virtual Forum - Data Entry Tips and Tricks

The MIP Virtual Forum is an informal group of Abila MIP Fund Accounting software users who meet via a web conference every month on the third Wednesday of each month at 10:00 am mountain time. Its purpose is to share information about the use of the software among nonprofit accounting peers to improve effectiveness and efficiency.

NFP Partners, the Rocky Mountain area Abila Business Partner, provides training content at no cost to the participants. The Forum is open to all MIP users regardless of staff position and whether or not a client of NFP Partners. The only requisites are having a serious interest in improving use of the software and a willingness to share.

In February, we discussed ways to improve user's skills in advanced financial reporting. We talked about various aspects of financial statement formats, custom column creation and segment substitution. 

Look forward to getting an announcement in early March for the next virtual forum webinar on March 16th. Coming in March, an update on AUDC (Abila Users and Developers Conference) and Data Entry Tips and Tricks: Ways to Make Data Entry Efficient. 

If you have suggested items or report formats, please send them in advance to Laura at laura@nfppartners.com.

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Articles of Interest

We have discovered some different and new sources of useful information for nonprofit executives and managers which will hopefully make this section of the newsletter more interesting and better read.




 
 
     
 


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