Many non-profit organizations are not in a position to hire a full-time financial officer to handle tax preparation, traditional accounting, and management services. If these organizations have audited financial statements, they are not able to rely on their CPA firm for assistance in these areas, because it would impair the independence of the external auditor. We enjoy a close working relationship with several non-profits that is not limited by independence guidelines auditors must follow.
Jim* was on the Board of Trustees for his organization that had a mission he was personally committed to support. He was proud of his success at receiving a government grant and for stabilizing the staff, the money, and the public relations for the organization. In July, his CPA/auditor told him he would not be able to audit the firm until he had an accountant on board that could prepare financial statements and understood accounting. This placed a hardship on the organization because, they could not afford a staff accountant but had to have an audit if they were to keep their government funding and their positive reputation in the community.
We stepped in and fulfilled this role as a consultant for the organization for less than half the cost of a full-time accountant. The added benefit is that Jim now has a close professional confidante on a day-to-day basis, a role that is enjoyable to us.
Richard*, a local pastor, called us and asked us to review the accounting system in his church to help him feel confident in the integrity of the system. We analyzed the safety of the assets in the church and explained the rules of payroll taxes, security of money, and recordkeeping requirements for contributions. We also discovered that the pastor was not taking advantage of the tax-free benefit of his housing allowance and helped him get that set up as well.
(* name changed)