Friday, May 08, 2009

New Skills The Focus at Not-for-Profit Conference

An upcoming conference for accountants and financial officers working in California’s huge not-for-profit world will focus on skills for helping their organizations through the recession. Among the latest developments, accountants are playing a larger role in fund raising to bridge new budget shortfalls stemming from the downturn, say the conference co-chairs, Nancy Chandler, a partner at Sherman Oaks, Calif.-based Kellogg & Andelson, and Margaret Karren of Los Angeles-based Green Hasson & Janks. Karren says that some accountants are participating more in discussions about how to shape these initiatives, which have included taxable, for-profit ventures. She says if handled improperly, these enterprises could compromise an organization’s not-for-profit status. “We get asked a lot about this,” Karren says. In addition, in some circumstances, auditing and related responsibilities are becoming more complex. This stems largely from a lengthening of 990 forms. Not-for-profits now face such questions as whether they have whistle-blower or conflict-of-interest policies. “The form is quite cumbersome,” Karren says. “Accountants will have to do training on it.”

The Not-for-Profit Organizations Conference is one of the signature events held annually by the CalCPA Education Foundation, the continuing education arm for the state’s main trade group for accountants. As is general procedure for its major conferences, the Foundation will hold separate but equal events on May 20 in Los Angeles and the following day in San Francisco – the sessions are the same at each. CalCPA members pay $349. Non-members $469. Last year’s Los Angeles event drew more than 300 people from a range of not-for-profit organizations, including religious and community groups, and accounting firms with vigorous not-for-profit practices. But the economic climate was still emerging. “People need help more but people aren’t giving as much,” says Chandler. 

No comments: