New Tools for Non-Profits

Charitable giving increased by five percent to an all time high of $248 billion last year. E-charities did even better, growing by 63 percent, driven by Howard Dean’s presidential campaign and tsunami relief efforts. With success, however, comes increased attention and scrutiny. Recently, new tools have been announced helping non-profit organizations achieve accounting and auditing excellence.

On Monday, June 13, Sage Software announced the general availability of Peachtree Premium Accounting for Nonprofits 2006. Part of the industry-specific Peachtree Accounting 2006 line, Premium Accounting for Nonprofits is designed to offer easy start-up and better meet the need of small nonprofit organizations.

“Small nonprofit organizations have long preferred Peachtree through the years because of solid accounting, strong reporting features and cost effectiveness,” said Jim Portner, Sage Software’s vice president of product management. “Now we can offer these organizations an accounting program more appropriately focused to the way they work, because we’ve added specific features to assist in their daily tasks.”

In addition to full accounting functionality such as in-depth reporting, security and ease of use, Peachtree Premium Accounting for Nonprofits 2006 includes:

  • Unified Chart of Accounts allowing quick and reliable translation of financial statements into categories required by IRS Form 990.
  • United Way-based chart of accounts complying with the accepted range of account numbers for required reports.
  • Industry Specific Financial Statements like Statement of Revenues & Expenditures, Budgeted Statement of Revenues & Expenditures, and Statement of Financial Position making it easy for nonprofits to demonstrate sound financial management even when multiple funds and encumbrances are involved.

Accounting is only part of the challenge, however. Increased attention also increases the need for financial transparency and top-quality auditing. Fortunately, the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA) on Thursday, June 16, released “The Audit Committee Toolkit for Not-for-Profit Organizations”.

The Toolkit, which is available for free download from the AICPA Audit Committee Effectiveness Center provides not-for-profit audit committees with a comprehensive set of best practices covering a wealth of governance topics, ranging from developing an audit committee charter and hiring a chief audit executive to conducting an executive session and evaluating independent auditors.

“We believe this will be of invaluable assistance to the not-for-profit community as it works toward improved corporate governance,” said Paul Sullivan, Chair of the AICPA volunteer task force that created the Toolkit and Chief Financial Officer (CFO) of the YMCA of San Diego County.

“Nonprofits are realizing the importance of increased accountability to build consumer and regulatory trust, but fear the associated financial and time costs,” Dr. Harry E. Gruber, cofounder and CEO of Kintera told Church Executive.

Thanks to these and other similar tools, nonprofits, 51 percent of whom responded they were unprepared to comply with Sarbanes-Oxley-like regulations being proposed according to an informal web survey conducted by Kintera, Inc. and reported by Church Executive, will be better prepared for the challenges facing them.

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