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Equine Nonprofits: Outsource for Timeliness
Equine Accounting
Wednesday 27th of October 2010 11:30 AM

Most nonprofit leaders and managers have at least a general understanding of financial management. However, without a trained accountant on staff, the crucial function of handling the books goes to whoever volunteers or has the willingness to do it. Although the person who volunteers may have the best intentions of keeping up with the finances, their availability and skill set may be limited. 

Outsourcing your accounting to a professional who is experienced and dedicated to managing your account will yield much more timely results. An equine nonprofit leader shared with me how frustrating it was to try to get the financial reports produced for the board meetings in his organization. He had delegated the accounting task to the treasurer, who was already over their head with work and family life. The treasurer was always a bit behind on accounting tasks, which made producing the financial reports a major undertaking at the last minute. It didn’t help that the treasurer wasn’t very familiar with all the accounting that needed to take place for a nonprofit. It ended up being a major headache for the leader as he scrambled to help the treasurer before each board meeting. 

Eliminate all the stress and worry of not having financials produced timely and efficiently by hiring an outside firm to handle them. A professional accountant will have your accounting up-to-date and the systems in place to run reports as needed. Also, being able to take a look at the financial snapshot at any given time is extremely beneficial to managing the organization and keeping its head above water.

Equine Nonprofits: Outsource for Accuracy
Equine Accounting
Wednesday 20th of October 2010 10:30 AM

The number one reason nonprofits fail, equine included, is poor financial management. Not only do nonprofits have to administer their resources carefully, but they need to do it accurately. Expecting others in the organization to manage finances is asking for trouble. Lack of accounting training or background is not only frustrating for the individual(s) responsible, but also potentially risky for your equine nonprofit. You are under extra scrutiny from the IRS to ensure you are obeying all the laws.

Handing over the responsibility for accounting to an expert third party will afford your organization more peace of mind that the finances are being well looked after and the ability to spend more time on the charitable activities. The likelihood of errors is greatly decreased when outsourcing to an external professional as they are removed from the internal processes and can take an objective outside look at the numbers. The tax laws under which nonprofits must operate are complicated and it would be easy to make mistakes on tax returns without a complete understanding of the changing rules and regulations. Having a fully qualified accountant who is up-to-date with all the current industry standards for nonprofits, training, and a special interest in equine means you will always have a high level of expertise at your disposal. 

Nonprofits must continually demonstrate where the money comes from, where it goes and what percentage goes directly to charitable work. Most organizations require annual audits in their bylaws to verify that the funds are being used properly and maintain the integrity of the organization. Again, an expert nonprofit accountant can ensure that the financials adhere to the audit guidelines of your organization and is invaluable in helping you maintain your tax-exempt status while you can focus on charitable works.

Equine Nonprofits: Outsource for Savings
Equine Accounting
Wednesday 13th of October 2010 09:30 AM

If you are running an equine nonprofit organization such as a therapy service or horse rescue, you know all too well that every dollar must be spent in the most effective and economical way. The quality of financial management will ultimately determine the success or failure of your organization.  Hiring additional staff to handle the accounting inside the business can be very costly and often the funds simply aren’t sufficient to cover these employees. 

A cost effective solution for nonprofits is to outsource their accounting activities. Eliminating the need to pay a consistent salary and benefits to an in-house accountant will improve the bottom line immediately. When organizations hire an outside firm to handle the accounting functions, they only pay when the services are used. Independent accounting firms often have a greater knowledge base and can handle the books more efficiently and accurately. An equine nonprofit client of ours recently told us that we saved them 50-60% over having an in-house employee! Now that is a significant savings that donors would like to know about.

The annual audit is an essential component for nonprofits closing the fiscal year and showing that they spent the donated money according to the mission of the organization. The audit is also fairly expensive since an auditor must pore over the financial documents to make sure everything is in line. If an organization has its books in good order and has readily available accurate statements, then the time it takes an auditor will be reduced. Our same nonprofit client told us we saved them 10-30% on their audit by having all their financials accurate and transparent to see.

An outside accounting firm that regularly works with nonprofits will be able to provide other valuable cost savings ideas that the organization may not have been aware of as well. Choosing to outsource will be a win-win situation for both the organization and its donors.

Keys to Successful Cash Flow - Surviving Shortfalls
Equine Accounting
Wednesday 6th of October 2010 11:35 AM

At one point or another, your company is bound to be caught in an economic downturn. The impact this will have may depend on how much you have planned ahead. Management should regularly assess the company’s ability to stay solvent during tough times.

 Plan, Plan, Plan

Have a plan in place ahead of time in the event it becomes difficult to pay your bills.  No one can predict the future perfectly, so creating a plan to combat shortfalls is essential to keeping your business afloat. Creating a plan while you are in the midst of turmoil will be more challenging and often unsuccessful as it’s usually too late at that point.

 Manage results to your budget so you can see shortfalls coming

Become aware of the problem as early and as accurately as possible. Keep a close watch on expenses and receivables to catch any cost increases or customer payment delays that could be potentially disastrous. If the company is significantly missing its budget goals, management needs to focus quickly on the reasons for revenue shortfalls and figure out how to address the problems.


Use credit to get through shortfalls

There's an old saying that the time to arrange bank financing is when you don't really need it. If you assume from the beginning that you will someday be short on cash, you can arrange for a line of credit at your bank. This allows you to borrow money up to a preset limit any time you need it. Do not make the mistake of using credit as a regular means of doing business or you could quickly cause your own shortfall. Have a credit line established early on and revisit it periodically to make sure the size is appropriate.

 Don’t be afraid to ask for help!

Ask your accountant or bookkeeper to help you set up an accurate cash flow tracking and projection system, so you can closely monitor the financial health of your business. Work with bankers for loan solutions and even your suppliers can be of help. They may be especially interested in helping keep your business going and offer extended terms which would amount to a hefty, low-cost loan if you just ask.

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