Gardner & Associates recommends that you not wait for an audit to report a deficiency; rather, begin today to work with your accountant and auditor to ensure that you have appropriate internal controls and separation of function in place to ensure that your NPO meets and surpasses the SAS 115 standards. Your worst news would be to receive a surprise “deficiency report”. That means that you will have to take time away from your mission to determine the cause of the deficiency and to correct it.
Be proactive! The new audit rules are in effect as of the end of 2009 (www.aicpa.org for a summary of the internal control basics and appendix of internal control deficiencies). These standards put pressure on NPO leaders to improve your NPO’s financial control processes. The objective of this change is to protect your NPO’s resources.
See that your NPO leadership is aware of and in compliance with these new rules. SAS 115 or Statement on Auditing Standards #115 outlines new expectations for internal financial controls. They require auditors to evaluate the level of your NPOs internal controls. The standards require that the auditor report a material weakness if there is a possibility that there is a misstatement in your records.
Consider taking four steps to get ready for these standards:
1. Ask for professional direction. Ask your accountant, banker or auditor to help you and your board members increase familiarity with the new standards. Take nothing for granted. Work with a professional to review your fundraising, accounting and financial systems.
2. Recognize the required controls for fundraising, spending, cash processing and asset protection.
• Begin by establishing a formal policy to receive and disburse funds.
• Have your Treasurer or Finance Committee make regular bank statement reconciliations.
• Secure your inventory - office supplies, equipment, tools, food or program supplies.
• Make sure that the NPO leadership supports appropriate ethical standards (e.g., AFP Code of Ethics or the Donor’s Bill of Rights).
3. Separate financial functions.
• Involve more than one person in any handling the money.
• Separate ordering/purchasing, authorizing and paying functions.
• Conduct quarterly management reviews.
4. Engage your board in management reviews. Increase the profile of your Treasurer and Finance Committee as independent parties to review your bank statements, check registers and financial reports.
G&A WELCOMES TWO NEW CLIENTS
Paul and Walt are pleased that two NPOs have joined our client base.
Partners for Better Housing is a new Fayetteville NPO working to design, fund and build 56 attainable housing duplexes and 16 single family houses in South Fayetteville. G&A is helping PFBH in its strategic planning and in fundraising for capital construction priorities.
Food Bank of North Central Arkansas in Norfork is a thirty-year veteran leader in the fight to bring food security to residents in a nine county area. G&A is assisting FBNCA in an assessment and strategic planning process.
ARE YOU TRACKING RETURN ON INVESTMENT (ROI) OF YOUR SOCIAL MEDIA?
Is your NPO one of the 81% of NPOs that are not tracking social media behavior?
At a time when each of our operating budgets is strained by the challenging economic conditions, it is critical that our NPO gets the most out of its technological investment in websites and social media links.
Consider six action steps to ensure that your website is serving your mission:
1. Measure and study the traffic to your website. Measure your unique visitors by day, week and month; determine what parts of your website they visit and how long they stay. Make changes to attract and keep your visitors.
2. Test your links and static FBML. Are you linked to and linking from appropriate websites? Do you have the right accounts to assure that your releases and blogs are getting maximum distribution? Are there other partners with whom you should link?
3. Monitor traffic from Facebook, My Space, Twitter or LinkedIn. Are you overconfident in your social media skills? Do you continue to reach out for good social media consulting and training?
4. Does your NPO have a mobile website? Smart phones have driven social media mobile. Is your website set up to send updates of events, programs or fundraisers via mobile websites?
5. Poll your donors and visitors. Test their preference to make sure that your communications tools are relevant and attractive to your friends, donors and visitors. Ask you visitors to respond to an online poll. Use your findings!
6. Invite your visitors and members to go “green.” Encourage your supporters to convert from paper communications to enewsletters or mobile list sign up boxes to reduce the cost of communications and to reduce your NPOs carbon footprint.