Up for air - finally

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The publisher of this fine publication recently reminded me I had fallen back into my lack-of-posting habit. A recent email simply said: “It’s been a long time.”  Seven weeks is a while, but I had a legitimate excuse: I have been working! And ... I am getting paid for it!

Here is a summary:

The audit
·         Planning started on the consolidated audit in earnest in late August. I made my visit to the predecessor auditor and moved forward. My efficiency in the field was utilized to the fullest thanks to two decisions:
1.    Purchasing a portable scanner
2.    Testing controls
·         Once the latter was complete, wrap up was quick. My report went to a technical reviewer, revisions were made and I was ready to present with days to spare. The presentation went smoothly and the report was approved. The hardest part of the process was getting back up to game speed. I started to feel comfortable again about halfway through the process.
 
Tax compliance
·         The agreed-upon-procedure has had its share of twists and turns. Responses to requests for information from organizational chapters arrived slowly, and allowed me to focus on the audit while I waited. The project picked up speed as soon as the audit was drafted. My first pass on the 990s was finished in about a week, totaling more than 200 returns. The second pass verified the first and included more returns, bringing the total to nearly 300. This figure will be exceeded when I move to GuideStar to fill in the gaps. My report should be ready by month-end. After the report is released, there is a chance I will be conducting work for the organization on a regular basis.
 
990-N
I assisted about 25 groups in filing the e-postcard. Once the process was explained, the majority of them found it to take less time than they expected.  A small number of organizations were walked through the process and were very appreciative that I took the time to do it, while not charging them for my time.
 
Penalties
One of my first jobs was to file or amend an organization’s 990s for a three-year period. Prior to starting the job, I told the organization it would likely incur penalties. A notice arrived about a month after filing. The organization said it would rather pay the penalty, and do it as soon as possible. But a call to the IRS told me otherwise. A call to the organization was needed to explain the due date on the notice was when payment had to be received, not postmarked.  My plea apparently had an impact. I received an email saying payment was sent via overnight delivery. I just hope the organization asked for a receipt.
 
Networking
During this period, my time to get out of my office and meet people was limited to one meeting per week and a rare event. But that one event was more than I could ask. At the event, I spoke to a few organizations, and one of them asked whether I could prepare a 990 with a due date of less than three weeks. I said we could talk about it. Days later, I met with an organization representative at a coffee shop. After a few questions and review of documents, I offered to help. The representative, the development director, was relieved. The organization is now a client.
 
Shortly after his departure, another person approached my table. She introduced herself, and said she had asked the person who just left the table whether he was there for an interview. He explained that I was his accountant. I am now her accountant as well.
 

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