Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Taxes & Another Financial Treats for Non-Profits

The Tuesday, February 21, 2012, Nonprofit Roundtable enjoyed the edifying presentations of Iryna Oreshkova, a specialist in nonprofit accounting, and Dale Marie Golden, Vice President of Torrey Pines Bank. Both speakers emphasized the importance of financial management to participants.
Oreshkova (http://irynacpa.com/company.php) applauded community benefits organizations for being mission driven, but noted that this can be both a strength and weakness, espeically for those that look at accounting as a necessary evil. This belief can be problematic, particularly with the great number of state and federal tax laws and requirements of such organizations. Several attendees gasped when she noted that recently the IRS revoked nonprofit status for all organizations that had not filed federal form 990 in three years. Her recommendations are to: 1) always make sure you have a great account who keeps you up to speed on deadlines and rules; 2) have your Board (the organization’s financial agent) review financial statements and the 990; 3) follow all federal, state and local policies and procedures; 4) adopt transparency protocols; 5) have written policies and procedures; 6) conduct the proper legally required audit (there’s there than one kind), using the services of a properly approved auditor; and 7) always read the foodnotes of agreements and contracts, especially grant award contracts.

As part of her presentation, Golden shared the mission of her bank – Torrey Pines Bank (www.torreypinesbank.com) – as being focused on small business and nonprofits. She noted that to be appealing to their communities and prospective funders and investors, all organizations must be fiscally sound. Her tidbits of advice included: 1) always note that policies and procedures at banks change regularly, particularly fees and charges, so review them regularly; 2) establish a relationship with a personal banker; 3) separate the roles of Board treasurer, company accountant and auditor and devise a system of checks and balances for accountability; 4) make sure your California Statement of Information is up-to-date; and 5) always have a business plan.

Following the presentations and Q&A, attendees reviewed and discussed the recently published article, “Nonprofits, 2012 Political Game Changers?” by Robert Egger of DC Central Kitchen: http://tinyurl.com/nonprofitstrength. Different pieces of information intrigued different members, including how negative branding is hurting organizations; the nonprofit sector is third largest private employer in the country, while the economy has been hurting overall, nonprofit employment has continued to grow; and none of the Republican candidates for president include nonprofits/community benefits organizations in their economic plans.

The conversation was lively, and full of ideas and support. Next month’s meeting, held on March 20, will feature a conversation on how the relationship between Oakland’s major sports teams and community benefits organizations can be mutually beneficial.

"It's more important to be of service than successful."
– Robert Kennedy

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