September 29, 2020

How Not-for-Profits Can Manage Cash Flow in a Crisis

Not-for-profits have to walk a delicate line even in the best financial situation. Now with more financial strain on organizations as a result of COVID-19, executive directors, boards and leadership teams need to not only focus on income streams and reducing costs, but they need to concentrate on the balance sheet to optimize cash and maintain liquidity. It’s imperative to keep an eye on your cash flow, regularly monitor your cash position and develop some survival strategies to get you through the crisis.

Developing a Cash Flow Management Strategy

Instituting an effective cash flow management strategy may be the most important action you can take to navigate through these challenging times. Below are some useful tips to control cash:

Actively Manage Receivables

The typical 30 or 45-day account review probably won’t cut it anymore. Now is the time to shorten collection times and improve your collection process. You may also want to closely review your grantors/donors, identifying those that absorb cash from the organization.

Review Accounts Payable More Closely

While you don’t want to hurt your credit or supplier relationships, speak to your suppliers about ways to assist in managing your payments and shipments.

Thank Your Donors

Saying thank you is one of the most important ways to make sure your organization survives. A simple thank you card, maybe handwritten from an employee or someone helped by their donation, can mean the world to a donor. That thank you card might just result in another donation.

Adjust Staffing Levels

Look at needs and utilize resources to right-size your staff. There are currently opportunities for loans and additional monies for unemployment that could help and still provide for your staff.

Review All Costs

Determine which costs might be eliminated, reduced or renegotiated.

Review All Agreements

Look at current and upcoming commitments, and determine if some could be restructured, delayed or cancelled.

Review Plans for Capital Investments

Determine which capital projects can be delayed, eliminated or modified.

Establish a Deeper Relationship with Your Banker

Make sure to discuss your cash flow and liquidity positions with your banker. Pay attention to any debt covenants.

Prepare a Cash Flow Forecast

If don’t already have a cash flow forecast, now is the time to start. Begin with a simple 13-week projection containing your major cash inflows and outflows each week. This will allow you to understand periods of cash difficulty and provide you with time to maneuver. But after you have prepared the 13-week forecast, make sure you forecast out the next 12 months. For not-for-profits, many funding streams only happen once a year. You need to be able to determine if you can make until the next large influx of cash.

The tips outlined above are very important in the current environment. Liquidity and cash flow are always critical to an organization’s continuity. While it is an old cliché, cash is king today.  Every organization should evaluate short-term cash flow and financing needs. This will provide you with the information needed to make the difficult decisions ahead with greater confidence. Cash flow planning done today will allow not-for profits to see the bigger picture of the COVID-19 impact on the organization and the length of time it will take to recover.

The Anders Not-for-Profit Group can help your organization identify opportunities to increase cash flow or handle the financials for you with outsourced accounting. Contact an Anders advisor below to learn more or visit our COVID-19 Resource Center for more insights.

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September 29, 2020

What Not-for-Profits Need to Know About Sales and Use Tax

When it comes to not-for-profit organizations, each state may treat them differently from a tax perspective. Some not-for-profit organizations may be nontaxable on their purchases and taxable for their sales, or vice versa. Some states will tax both sales and purchases or treat both as nontaxable. It’s important to know that being exempt from federal income tax does not always translate to being exempt from sales tax. There are many factors that come into play when a not-for-profit organization is paying or collecting sales tax.

WHAT IS SALES TAX AND WHAT DETERMINES IF I OWE?

Sales tax is a tax on the retail sale of tangible personable property and enumerated taxable services. For not-for-profit entities, where they are located, their main activities or functions, and type of entity can determine whether they pay or collect sales tax.

JEOPARDIZING YOUR EXEMPTION

Pursuant to federal law, there are certain activities that can cause an organization to lose its tax exemption. For example, the following activities can endanger exempt status of an organization:

  1. Activity that results in private benefit or inurement to a private shareholder or individual
  2. Lobbying activity, if it constitutes a substantial part of the organization’s overall activities or if it exceeds a predetermined dollar amount
  3. Activities that are illegal or violate fundamental public policy
  4. Failure to comply with annual filing requirements
  5. Any political campaign activity
  6. Unrelated business activity that is substantial when compared to the organization’s exempt function activities

SALES AND USE TAX FOR ILLINOIS NOT-FOR-PROFITS

Purchasing

Under Illinois law, purchases by not-for-profit organizations are generally exempt from sales and use tax in Illinois, but the organization must have and provide their active state exemption certificate. Nevertheless, there are factors that can cause organizations to pay sales and use tax. If the organization is not operating “exclusively for charitable, religious or educational purposes,” it may not be exempt from paying sales tax on purchases.

Pursuant to Ill. Admin. Code 130.2005(n), “exclusively” has not been given its literal interpretation by the Supreme Court regarding not-for-profit organizations. It means that an organization’s primary activity or function must be charitable, religious or educational. Purchases made by the organization must relate to the primary activity or function of the not-for-profit organization to be exempt. If a substantial activity or function of an organization is not operating exclusively, it will not be considered exempt.

Selling

Sales by exclusively charitable, religious and educational organizations are taxable, unless specifically exempt. Tax exempt sales in Illinois for not-for-profits are:

  • Sales to members, students in the case of schools, or patients in the case of qualifying hospitals, of tangible personal property to be used primarily for the purposes of the selling organization
  • Sales that are noncompetitive with businesses; or occasional dinners, socials and similar activities, whether they are open to the public or not.

For a sale to be considered noncompetitive all proceeds must go to the organization, transactions must be handled through the organization’s members, sales cannot be continuous and the main purpose is to make a charitable donation. Only two “occasional” dinners or similar activities may be exempt per calendar year.

SALES AND USE TAX FOR MISSOURI NOT-FOR-PROFITS

Purchasing

Under Missouri law, sales and use taxes are not applicable to sales made to any religious and charitable organizations and institutions provided they are acting within their religious, charitable or educational functions and activities. For not-for-profit civic, social, service or fraternal organizations to be exempt from tax, the net proceeds must be designated for civic or charitable functions or activities. All purchases must be solely in their civic or charitable functions or activities. Not-for-profit organizations must have and provide their active state exemption certificate. Out of state not-for-profit organizations may purchase or sell exempt, as stated above, if their home state exempts such transaction in that state.

Selling

For the most part, the same guidelines for purchasing apply to sales by the not-for-profit organization.

If you have any questions, our State and Local Tax team is here to help. Contact your Anders advisor below to learn more about how any taxes apply to your not-for-profit organization.

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September 29, 2020

How Associations Can Build an Online Community to Retain Members

Now more than ever associations need to find a way to connect with their members. Peer support is an exclusive need that only your association can deliver for your professional or industry-based community. As we continue to wade through the effects of COVID-19, online community is one of the best ways to engage your membership.

3 Ways to Stay Connected

In today’s content-saturated environment, associations need to offer members online resources and designated spaces for dialogue. Some leverage tools such as LinkedIn or Facebook, and others host their own platform to bring members together. How can your association build the community it needs to retain members? Below are three easy ways to create a space for real relationships.

1) Host Online Events

Many large associations are having luck hosting online events in place of their in-person member events. These events can be topic-focused on issues that affect membership, or on tools that can move the association forward. Even small online events are beneficial so that participants can share and collaborate. Small groups can be organized by size, location or specialty. Instead of participants only listening to the host, they can engage with the each other to discuss their current situation and ideas.

Looking for guidance on which platform is best for you? Anders Technology can analyze your current technology setup to make sure you’re prepared to host seamless online events.

2) Ask for Testimonials

Take advantage of this time to ask your membership to submit testimonials. The best way to attract new members is by word-of-mouth, and they want to hear the experience of current members and the benefits of being part of your association. Make it easy for your members by creating a simple survey that asks about their involvement and understanding of why they are part of your association. This survey not only provides a testimonial but can double as valuable feedback to further improve your association.

3) Build an Online Resource Center

What are you offering members to draw them to your website or social media page? Do you have resources that can be easily accessed? While simply having a safe space for members to communicate is ideal, it’s not enough, they need to find valuable assets there as well. Make your online space a go-to destination for those seeking support and have designated ambassadors there to provide expertise and best practices. Create a consistent blog or reach out to industry thought leaders for targeted content.

In order for your online presence to grow, you must stay on brand and let your purpose drive your actions. Members want to be a part of an association that understands who they are and the industry represented.

Our Not-For-Profit advisors are ready to help your association make strategic decisions to move your organization forward. Contact an Anders advisor below to discuss financial and operational strategies for your association.

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September 29, 2020

Internal Controls for Not-for-Profits in the New Normal

As stay-at-home orders and social distancing have shifted the workforce in many ways, not-for-profits are left with many changes to their accounting and financial reporting environments. Many of these changes were expected, but some changes may have unintended consequences. Pre-pandemic policies were designed to set up effective and efficient controls. However, the controls that were designed may not be effective, or even applicable in the current environment. These changes present the perfect opportunity for management to reevaluate their control environment, begin assessing and updating the risks that lie within that environment, and redesign their policies and procedures.

How to Assess Your Internal Controls

The first and most important step in the process will be assessing where risk lies within the accounting and financial reporting systems. Management should consider where and how fraud or misstatements could occur. Once management knows where the potential risks are, management can insert the needed controls to deter and reduce those risks.

Segregation of Duties

One of the strongest ways to reduce risk is to achieve segregation of duties. This separates the physical custody of assets, record-keeping of the transactions, and authorization of transactions. Under the new normal, segregation of duties may have some barriers that need to be overcome. There are many resources that are available to help achieve better segregation of duties. One example would be using a lock-box to accept deposits. Once the receipt is entered into the lock-box, the accounting department can record the deposit, without having physical custody of any cash or checks. On the cash disbursement side, there are tools such as Bill.com or positive pay to ensure the vendors you want to pay are actually paid.

Strengthen Review Process

Another key control in the internal control environment is review. This can range from the review of KPIs, review of check support, review of bank reconciliations, or financial statement review. However, the review process is only as good as the reviewer. Too often, someone is going through the motions of the review, mainly as they are not exactly sure what they should be looking for. It is key that the reviewer has proper expertise or training. For example, while reviewing the bank reconciliation, they should review the list of payments, outstanding checks and other reconciling items and any other transactions that hit the cash account and reconciliation. The person tasked with the review should be familiar with the organization’s vendors so they would recognize any irregular payments.

As not-for-profits typically have a robust board and other oversight committees, such as a finance committee, the reviewer should have a great deal of organizational knowledge and some accounting knowledge. Typically, the chair of the finance committee, or treasurer of the board would handle the review process. It’s also key to get that person involved in developing the processes so they are aware of the level of detail and review required.

Electronic Approval

For many organizations, some degree of remote work may be permanent. The amount of physical paperwork that circulates through the office may be significantly reduced, thus the approval process will look differently. Where old procedures would require formal written sign offs, such as initials on the bank reconciliation or signature on the support for cash disbursements, there may not be hard copies of these items to sign with a formal sign off. This is where electronic approval may replace old, hard copy approvals. It is important to note in the electronic approval what was reviewed and what is approved. This can take the form of an email approval to the appropriate personnel, or utilization within various software, such as DocuSign.

The workforce will continue to evolve over the next year, and each evolution should bring new considerations to the control environment. As mentioned above, the first important step is to assess the risk environment. This will be a continual process that management can implement into their daily processes. As each day brings about new changes, it is important to document and apply changes to the environment as they occur.

The Anders Not-for-Profit Group can help you implement stronger internal controls in your organization. Contact an Anders advisor below to learn more or visit our COVID-19 Resource Center for more insights.

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September 28, 2020

Keep Cash Flowing by Increasing Membership in Associations

The middle of a pandemic might seem like an unlikely time to embrace the recruitment and retention of association members. However, this should be one of your highest priorities and a way to manage your budget and keep your association financially sound in 2020.

COVID-19 has had adverse impacts on almost every association, so now is the time to re-visit your strategic plan. To advance your organization in a virtual environment, you will need to make appropriate changes and then analyze and align your budget with those changes.  At the very top of your list should be membership. 

6 Ways to Boost Recruitment and Retention of Members

Associations certainly are not a one size fits all, but when it comes to members, there are ideas that can work across most industry and trade platforms. Here are a few ways to re-think your recruitment and retention strategy:

1) Launch an Association Stimulus Program

A stimulus program should extend renewals for existing members. Some of your members may have been hit hard financially, so giving them some extra time to renew their membership could be advantageous for both parties.

2) Offer Trial Memberships for New Members

If your association has embraced virtual learning and has a valuable resource center or library of information on your website, consider offering a three-to six-month trial. Education is a good way to entice new members.  Then work hard to convert these trial memberships into long-term ones.  And if you are not an association that has adopted online learning, now is definitely the time to start.  

3) Offer Reduced Fee Memberships to Past Members

Now is a great time to showcase what past members are missing. With so many people at home, they are looking for ways to engage with others, so take advantage of that opportunity to appeal to them and their areas of interest. 

4) Provide Student and Young Associate Memberships

If you are looking for retention and succession planning opportunities in your association, look to students in colleges, universities and trade schools or recent graduates of those programs. They are looking to get ahead and may not be aware of the advantages of belonging to an association in their particular field. It is a great opportunity for them to connect and build relationships. You may want to reach out to educational programs that align with your association and offer programming for them. Or perhaps reach out to a high school or middle school where educators are looking for new ideas and ways to engage students and offer programming.

5) Start a Scholarship or Sponsorship Program

Although some industries are reeling, others are still on pace or exceeding their financial goals. If you have members in the latter two categories, talk to them about sponsoring a new member by picking up all or part of the membership fees in order to keep your association on sound financial ground.

6) Increase Sponsorship Opportunities and Charge to Attend Your Online Offerings

In the spring as both for-profit and not-for-profit organizations alike clamored to go virtual through one of the many online platforms, meetings and even some conference sessions were primarily free. Now, savvy organizations are charging a fee and not-for-profits are looking to regain lost sponsorship dollars by charging third parties or member companies to host or sponsor an online event. The dollar amount of these sponsorships is increasing as virtual programming has become a must. Survey other associations and not-for-profits to compare what they are charging for sponsorships and attendance in your market. Events are a major source of revenue for associations so if you haven’t already, now is the time to take your conferences and programming online, and charge for them. You can use the guidelines in the first five points to offer a sliding scale for attendance costs.

Associations have been around for years in some form. They have survived during other pandemics, the Great Depression and many financial crises, and have always served a pivotal role in keeping their organizations and members moving forward. As association leaders today, now is your time to keep cash flowing, budgets sound and embrace new strategies. The key is in your members and adopting innovative ways to engage them.

Our Not-For-Profit advisors are ready to help your association make strategic decisions to move your organization forward. Contact an Anders advisor below to discuss financial and operational strategies for your association.

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September 19, 2020

Uniform Guidance Updates for Organizations with Federal Grants

Organizations that receive greater than $750,000 of federal grants are usually subject to additional audit requirements, commonly referred to as a single audit, or Uniform Guidance audit. The federal government’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic has created some new programs and relief packages for non-governmental agencies, and some may now be subject to the single audit requirement. Here are some guidelines and updates for Organizations that receive federal grants:

  • Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) Forgivable Loans administered by the US Small Business Administration do NOT count toward the $750,000 threshold and are NOT subject to the single audit rules.
  • Provider Relief Funds (CFDA 93.498) administered by the US Department of Health and Senior Services are subject to the single audit rules.
  • Economic Injury Disaster Loans (EIDL) administered by the US Small Business Administration are subject to the single audit rules.

The US Office of Management and Budget (“OMB”) which oversees these audits, released the 2020 Compliance Supplement on August 18, 2020. When organizations prepare the schedule of expenditures of federal awards (SEFA), they should separately present “COVID-19 Emergency Act funding”.  The OMB has indicated there will be no new clusters of programs added for Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act programs, however, the final guidance (to be issued in an Addendum) specifically addressing all federal program under the CARES Act is expected to be issued soon.

Finally, the OMB has issued two formal memos addressing single audit due dates and other administrative matters:

The first memo M-20-11, “Administrative Relief for Recipients and Applicants of Federal Financial Assistance Directly impacted by the Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19),” provided extensions specifically to  organizations who are receiving funds under H.R. 6074 for coronavirus preparation and response.

On March 19, 2020, the OMB issued memorandum M-20-17. This memo provides extensions more broadly , and applies to organizations with year-ends through June 30, 2020 that have experienced a loss of operational capacity due to the COVID-19 crisis, and have not yet filed Single Audit reports with the Federal Audit Clearinghouse (“FAC”) as of March 19, 2020. The extension allows for delayed submission of the Single Audit reporting package up to six months beyond the original due date (normally the earlier of thirty days after receipt of the auditor’s report, or nine months after the end of the fiscal year).

The Anders Not-for-Profit Group can help you navigate the evolving regulations so you can always stay in compliance. Contact an Anders advisor below to learn more.

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September 17, 2020

How the New Revenue Recognition Treatment Will Affect Not-for-Profits

The way most organizations recognize revenue under U.S. Generally Accepted Accounting Principles (GAAP) was set to change this year due to a Financial Accounting Standards Board (FASB) Accounting Standards Update (ASU) 2014-09. Below we dive into what this means for not-for-profits going forward.

What does this mean for my organization?

For traditional, charitable type not-for-profits, the good news is that pure donations and contributions are considered voluntary and nonreciprocal, or “non-exchange”, and these types of revenues do not fall under the new standard. The standard also provides for some exemptions beyond typical donations. For example, lease and insurance contracts as well as investment income are excluded from the scope of the standard.

What is subject to the new standard?

In contract to the “non-exchange” revenues described above, An exchange transaction occurs when there is a reciprocal transfer between two entities; one of the entities acquires assets or satisfies liabilities by surrendering other assets or services or incurring other obligations. These types of revenues must be evaluated to determine if they are considered “contracts with customers” and are subject to the new standard. Some examples may include, but are not limited to:

  • Memberships
  • Subscriptions
  • Sales of Products and Services
  • Royalties
  • Conferences and Seminars
  • Tuition
  • Advertising
  • Licensing

How should these revenues be recognized?

Once an exchange transaction has been identified to be a contract with a customer, the Organization should follow a 5-step model set forth in the standard for recognizing these revenues:

Step 1 – Identify the contract with the following criteria:

  1. approval and commitment of the parties
  2. identification of the rights of parties
  3. identification of payment terms
  4. contact has commercial substance, and
  5. it is probable the entity will collect consideration to which it will be entitled in exchange for goods/services

Step 2Identify the performance obligation and determine if there are multiple performance obligations. Performance obligations are distinct if it is capable of being distinct, customer can benefit from the good or service on its own or together with other resources, and it is distinct within the context of the contract, or the promise is separately stated.

Step 3 – Determine the transaction price

Step 4 – Allocate the transaction price to the performance obligation in the contract

Step 5 – Recognize revenue when (or as) the entity satisfies a performance obligation

What about grants?

We love grants, but truth be told, the accounting for grants often presents a challenge. For years there has been a large divergence in practice among organizations and their accountants on the treatment of grants. In 2018, FASB issued ASU No. 2018-08 to help organizations determine the proper treatment of grants. This standard provides clarifying guidance to evaluate whether a resource provider receives value in return for the resources transferred. Organizations should understand the impact of this ASU when evaluating its grants for applicability of ASC 606.

The world of revenue recognition is complicated. The Anders Not-for-Profit Group can help you navigate the evolving regulations so you can always stay in compliance. Contact an Anders advisor below to learn more.

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September 8, 2020

GAAP Financial Reporting Considerations Related to COVID-19

There’s no doubt that not-for-profits have been thrown into a “new normal”. For the past few months, board members and executive directors have worked to understand the aspects of the CARES Act and PPP loan forgiveness while trying to rework budgets, cash flow projections and other important forecasts to help weather this crisis. In conjunction with the financial work being done, there are several important accounting and reporting rules under Generally Accepted Accounting Principles (GAAP) that should be considered.

Subsequent Events

GAAP often requires disclosure of events or circumstances occurring after the balance sheet date, but before the financial statements are issued. Events that provide evidence about conditions that did not exist at the balance sheet date but arose subsequent to that date are called “Type 2” events. For many organizations in the US with a December 31 year end, the COVID-19 crisis was considered a Type 2 event. Generally, Type 2 events are not recognized in the financial statements but are disclosed in the footnotes to keep the financial statements from being misleading.

On the other hand, subsequent events caused by conditions that existed prior to year-end are considered “Type 1” events, and the impact of the subsequent event is recognized in the fiscal year. For example, a not-for-profit association has an April 30, 2020 year end. The annual trade show is scheduled for November 2020. In May 2020, the Association is forced to cancel due to travel and attendance restrictions caused by COVID-19. Even though the cancellation did not take place until after year end, it was caused by conditions that existed at April 30, and therefore this is a Type 1 event, recognized in the April 30 financial statements.

Risks and Uncertainties

GAAP financial statements normally include disclosures related to the nature of an entity’s operations or activities, significant estimates, and current vulnerability due to certain concentrations to provide users with information on risks and uncertainties impacting financial performance. The COVID-19 crisis has created new risks and uncertainties for many organizations. Those experiencing operational shutdowns, work stoppages, supply chain constraints, etc. should considered the relevant disclosures required under GAAP.

Decline in Market Values of Investments

The COVID-19 crisis has had a tremendous impact on the capital markets, and entities holding investment assets, including businesses, not-for-profits and employee benefit plans, should consider disclosure in the financial statements regarding declines in fair values of these assets.

Going Concern

GAAP requires that management evaluate whether conditions and events, in the aggregate, exist that raise substantial doubt about an entity’s ability to continue as a going concern for a period of one year from the date the financial statements are available to be issued. Existing literature cites external factors, such as catastrophic events, as issues that may raise substantial doubt. For some not-for-profits, the COVID-19 crisis may have raised new threats and doubts that severely impact operations. Going concern evaluations must consider both quantitative and qualitative factors, and the analysis can be very complicated. Nevertheless, if substantial doubt is raised, the entity must consider the need for additional disclosures in the financial statements.

There are many other areas of financial reporting that could be impacted by the COVID-19 crisis. Management should consider the effect, if any, on the collectability of receivables, inventory valuation, and when deferred revenue may be earned – just to name a few. Each situation is different, and significant judgment will be needed in determining the appropriateness of the above considerations on specific organizations.

The Anders Not-for-Profit Group is here to help you navigate GAAP considerations. Contact an Anders advisor below to discuss your specific situation.

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September 6, 2020

In-Kind Donations: How Not-for-Profits Should Treat Non-Cash Contributions

Not-for-profit organizations love cash contributions, but donors may also want to contribute a variety of non-cash items including food, clothing, supplies, long-lived assets and items used for fund-raising purposes, services, utilities or the use facilities and much more. How does a not-for-profit handle all of these items?

Implementing a Gift Acceptance Policy

Organizations should consider implementing or updating their gift acceptance policy. The National Council on Nonprofits has wonderful resources and sample policies to help you get started. This will prevent you from being stuck with a well-intentioned, but costly-to-maintain and hard-to-sell gift, such as a track of land in another state.

Once the organization has set the tone for what it will and will not accept, the next step is to understand the accounting and recordkeeping rules for recording and managing in-kind donations. These rules vary depending on the type of donation.

In-kind gifts of inventory and general supplies/materials should be recorded at fair market value. The good news is that the accounting rules understand that it’s often difficult to determine fair value, so they allow organizations to use estimates, averages, or computational approximations, such as average value per pound, provided they are reasonable and applied consistently. Gifts that cannot be used internally or sold have no value and should not be recognized as contributions.

Long-lived or Capital Assets

For gifts of long-lived or capital assets such as property and equipment, organizations must consider if there are any donor-imposed restrictions. This can get a little complicated, but generally the rules for depreciation & amortization are applied the same for these items as for purchased assets.

Fundraising Donations

For fund-raising items, such as auction items for an annual gala, the organization should recognize the donated item as a contribution and measure it at fair value. Donors should provide this for items like gift baskets. Any difference between the item’s fair value and the ultimate amount received for the item should be recognized as an adjustment to the original contribution amount.

Contributed Services

There are very unique rules for contributed services. Services contributed by non-affiliates of the organization must meet ALL of the following criteria to be recognized in the accounting records:

  • The service requires specialized skills. This includes those services provided by accountants, lawyers, architects, doctors, nurses, teachers, carpenters, electricians, plumbers or other professionals and craftsmen.
  • The service is provided by individuals who possess those skills
  • The service would need to be purchased if not contributed. An organization should only consider whether it would otherwise need to purchase the service, not whether it could afford to purchase the service.

Services that do not meet the preceding criteria should not be recognized.

Utilities or Building Use

An organization may also receive a contribution of utilities or the use of a building. The contribution should be recognized as revenue in the period it is received and the corresponding expense should be recognized in the period the utilities or assets are used.

There are many other, less common types of non-cash donations, such as beneficial interest in trusts, debt and equity securities and split-interest agreements. If your organization is looking for help understanding these rules, contact an Anders advisor below. Learn more about how Anders works with not-for-profits.

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September 4, 2020

4 Ways Not-for-Profits Can Be Flexible and Cost-Effective Using Technology

If your not-for-profit is looking for ways to empower staff and continue with your mission during this time, but are concerned about spending, you’re not alone. New technology can and should be accessible, flexible and cost-effective to implement and managing going forward. With these goals in mind, below are five ways not-for-profit organizations can implement new technology to help move their mission forward while staying on budget.

1. Stay Productive in the Cloud

By moving to the cloud, not-for-profit organizations can stay on top of the latest tools, applications, and innovations. In the past, expensive server hardware was required to be purchased every 3-5 years, or longer depending on budgets. Organizations can now move to the cloud with little to no licensing costs. Companies such as Microsoft offer free or heavily discounted licenses for not-for-profits to move to the cloud. Microsoft ® Azure and Office 365 allow employees to work from anywhere in a secure network.

2. Collaborate and Connect in One Place

If your organization rolled out Microsoft ® Teams during the switch to a remote work environment, you may already be familiar with the chat, teams, channels and apps features across your organization. Maybe you’ve deployed meetings and conferencing. Now you’re ready to add calling workloads to Teams to eliminate your old or outdated phone system. By adding in Teams Calling, you can now better collaborate with one place for all of your meetings, files, chats and calls.

3. Stay Protected with Top Notch Security Included

Staying collaborative is important but staying secure while doing so is vital. Cloud technology such as Microsoft ® 365 has built in security measures to protect your users’ accounts, files and email from spam and phishing. As of September 2020, not-for-profits have access to 250 seats of E1 license, 10 seats of Microsoft 365 Business Premium, and $3,500 in credits for Azure services to be used at your discretion over a 12-month period.

4. Move at Your Own Pace

Upgrading technology and moving your environment to the cloud doesn’t need to happen all at once. Leadership and employees are often overwhelmed by changes to technology. We recommend developing a roadmap for your approach to change. By utilizing migration paths to the cloud, changes can happen slower to accommodate training and budgeting. 

To access and utilize Microsoft’s not-for-profit benefits, your organization must first sign up with TechSoup. TechSoup seeks to create an infrastructure for nonprofits to stay informed on how to use technology to increase their social impact. As a “connector across sectors,” TechSoup is backed by more than 90 leading tech companies – including Microsoft, Adobe, Cisco, and Intuit– and they network with other social enterprises, companies, foundations, and technological activists.

As a Microsoft Gold Partner, Anders Technology can help your not-for-profit use technology to enhance flexibility and collaboration across your organization and board. Contact an Anders advisor below to learn more.

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