The New England Not-For-Profit Accounting Advisor

Five Ways to Improve Governance and Risk Management Practices

Posted by Mike Burns on Tue, Aug 25, 2015 @ 10:40 AM

Over the last few years, we have seen some clear trends and evolving practices on governance and risk management. This summary will allow you to assess some best practices we have observed so you can evaluate ideas and opportunities for possible improvement or evolution within your own not-for-profit organization.

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Tags: Non-profits, NFP, Mike Burns, risk management, Governance

UFR Reporting Updates: Six Items to Note for FY 2015 Reporting

Posted by Janet O'Neill on Wed, Aug 19, 2015 @ 09:03 AM

Human and social service organizations that contract with Massachusetts take note: new guidance is available for their 2015 fiscal year reporting. The Massachusetts Operational Services Division recently published the 2015 version of the Uniform Financial Statements and Independent Auditor’s Report (UFR) Audit and Preparation Manual, Compliance Supplement and 2015 Excel UFR Template.

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Tags: Janet O’Neill, FY2015

IRS Plans to Release Digitally Readable Form 990s in 2016

Posted by Betty Isler on Tue, Aug 18, 2015 @ 09:15 AM

The IRS is developing a technology solution that would streamline its ability to release digital copies of the Form 990 tax information filings. An announcement about the option comes on the heels of a U.S. district court ruling that ordered the IRS to produce digitally readable Forms 990 of nine organizations. Currently, the IRS releases digital copies of Forms 990 as image files. The new software would produce versions of the Forms 990 in the Metadata Exchange Format, also known as a machine-readable format and remove any personally identifiable information from the Form 990. It is slated for release in early 2016.
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Tags: Form 990, Betty Isler

Toughen Up on Title IX: How to Comply with Your Requirements

Posted by John Mulvaney on Fri, Aug 14, 2015 @ 09:15 AM

Catastrophe happens when an already devastating event—sexual assault in an academic setting—gets mishandled. Failing to comply with Title IX requirements can signal disastrous consequences for the alleged victim, the community, the university’s reputation and its financial backing.
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Tags: Title IX, John Mulvaney

Advisory Committee Recommends Changes to the Form 990

Posted by Brenda Booth on Wed, Jul 22, 2015 @ 02:01 PM

The IRS Advisory Committee on Tax Exempt and Governmental Agencies (ACT) recently made recommendations for how the IRS can modify the Form 990 to improve its utility. In its 2015 Report of Recommendations to the IRS, the ACT asked for mandatory electronic filing of the Form 990 series and that the IRS collect additional information from entities filing the Form 990-N, among other updates to the annual informational filing series for not-for-profit organizations.
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Tags: Brenda Booth, Form 990

Scrutinize This: Top Audit Risk Points for Not-for-Profits

Posted by Amanda Jenks on Tue, Jul 21, 2015 @ 02:11 PM

Users of not-for-profit financial statements want transparency, and emerging reporting requirements aim to provide it. Recent updates from the federal government and from Financial Accounting Standards Board (FASB) require more visibility into how not-for-profit organizations manage their resources. Not-for-profits need to monitor these updates and what they mean not only for their current year-ends, but for future reporting practices. Several requirements effective now and with impending effective dates will likely be key points for the auditor of your financial statements.
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Tags: audit, Not-for-Profits, audit risk

How to Triage a Website Breach

Posted by John Robichaud on Thu, Jul 9, 2015 @ 09:16 AM

Your organization’s website can be a dangerous tool if it falls into the wrong hands. Unauthorized users may use the reputation of your not-for-profit organization to promote their spam websites, or they may distribute malware through your website to access sensitive information about your organization, its shareholders and its website users.

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Tags: John Robichaud, cybersecurity, triage a website breach

Specialization Matters: Small Employee Benefit Plan Audit Practices More Likely to Produce Deficient Audits

Posted by Kevin Petrosino on Mon, Jun 22, 2015 @ 06:00 PM

Findings from a recent Department of Labor Report, Assessing the Quality of Employee Benefit Plan Audits: 2014 Audit Report suggest a strong correlation between the number of employee benefit plan audits a firm performs and audit quality. At 76%, audit deficiency rates among firms that performed one or two audits per year were almost twice as high as the deficiency rate of the report’s population as a whole, which registered at 39%. Deficient audits affected $653 billion in plan assets and 22.5 million participants.

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Tags: employee benefit plan, Kevin Petrosino

Tight State and Local Budgets May Signal Bad News for Not-for-Profits

Posted by Carole A. Budyak on Fri, Jun 19, 2015 @ 09:03 AM

Not-for-profit organizations may be called upon for additional payments and taxes as state and local governments weigh solutions for their budgets. These organizations are often exempt from paying property tax and may become targets for proposed budget solutions in part because of their collective size. In many metropolitan areas, not-for-profit organizations own a significant portion of the city’s property. Boston has roughly 50% of its property in tax-exempt hands. Estimates for New Orleans are even higher, with 67% of the city’s property exempt from taxation.

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Tags: state and local tax issues, Carole Budyak

Safe Harbor Expanded for 501(c)(3) Bond-Financed Buildings

Posted by Craig Klein on Thu, May 28, 2015 @ 02:14 PM

The IRS recently updated its guidance for not-for-profit organizations benefiting from tax-exempt bonds. IRS Notice 2014-67 loosens up requirements related to private business use of 501(c)(3) bond financed facilities. The changes are somewhat directed to address healthcare Accountable Care Organizations (ACOs) participating in the Medicare Shared Savings Program. However the expanded safe harbor has broader applicability within the not-for-profit sector.

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Tags: Craig Klein, 501(c)(3)