540: BFD: Board Financials Dilemma – Tony Martignetti Nonprofit Radio


This Week: 

BFD: Board Financials Dilemma
What do you do for board members who can’t read your balance sheet? The authors of “The Board Member’s Easier Than You Think Guide To Nonprofit Finances” can answer that. Andy Robinson and Nancy Wasserman explain why understanding finances is critical so board members preserve your good work and protect themselves. Do their eyes glaze over when the numbers come out? We’ll help your board achieve financial literacy.

This originally aired on March 2, 2012 as show #81. This is show #540. Take a trip back in time with me. Of course, in 2021, your board members still need to understand your financials.

There’s more at tonymartignetti.com 

081: BFD: Board Financials Dilemma – Tony Martignetti Nonprofit Radio

Tony’s guests this week:

Andy Robinson & Nancy Wasserman, co-authors of “The Board Member’s Easier Than You Think Guide to Nonprofit Finances”

Read and watch more on Tony’s blog: http://mpgadv.com

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Dahna hello and welcome to tony martignetti non-profit radio big non-profit ideas for the other ninety five percent, i’m your aptly named host and its march second, two thousand twelve well, i hope you were with me last week because there were some excellent interviews last week like this one take on teens aria finger she was that she is the ceo of do something dot or ge, and she had ideas for motivating teens and getting their passion points, finding their passion points to get them engaged in your work. Also pursue your hero’s journey. His journey took him across the u s in a vw microbus, inviting two hundred of the country’s most famous and powerful to coffee. Eric sapper stine is chief creative officer at living wonder, and he shared some of his amazing lessons. Both of those were pre recorded at last year’s next-gen charity conference, then last week also had going greater into google search. Maria simple, the prospect finder and our regular prospect research contributor, dug deeper into google search how do you search results different when you’re logged in or not logged in? Plus advanced search tips? It was a short course on search to help your prospect research this week b f d board financials dilemma of course that’s what b f d means what do you do for board members who can’t read your balance sheet? The authors of board members easier than you think god to non-profit finances, i can answer that. Andy robinson and nancy wasserman explain why understanding finances is critical to board members so that they preserve your good work and protect themselves to their eyes glaze over when the numbers come out, we’ll help your board achieve financial literacy also, roughly thirty two minutes into the hour on tony’s take to my block this week is our irs is helping you. They’ve got some helpful web content on a new site for non-profits i’ll talk a little about that we’re live tweeting the show this week as we do every week. Join the conversation, use hashtag non-profit radio if you have questions for our guests, send them bye twitter using that hashtag this show is supported by g grace corporate real estate services and i’m very grateful for their support even though i just flubbed that sentence, i really am grateful for their support now we take a break. And when we return, b f d board. Financials dilemma. Stay with me. Yeah, you’re listening to the talking alternative network. Durney are you suffering from aches and pains? Has traditional medicine let you down? Are you tired of taking toxic medications, then come to the double diamond wellness center and learn how our natural methods can help you, too? He’ll call us now at to one to seven to one eight, one eight, three that’s two one two, seven to one eight, one eight, three or find us on the web at www dot double diamond wellness dot com. We look forward to serving you. Is your marriage in trouble? Are you considering divorce? Hello, i’m lawrence bloom, a family law attorney in new york and new jersey. No one is happier than the day their divorce is final. My firm can help bilich we take the nasty out of the divorce process and make people happy. Police call a set to one, two, nine six four three five zero two for a free consultation. That’s lawrence h bloom two, one two, nine, six, four, three five zero two. We make people happy. Hyre oppcoll. Hey, all you crazy listeners looking to boost your business? Why not advertise on talking alternative with very reasonable rates? Interested simply email at info at talking alternative dot com. Metoo welcome back, it’s, b, f d board, financials dilemma andy robinson provides training and consulting for non-profits in fund-raising board development, marketing and earned income. He specializes in the needs of groups working for human rights, social justice, environmental conservation, historic preservation and community development. Nancy wasserman has over twenty five years of experience in community finance and social enterprise development her particular skill is working with clients on projects that must satisfy both financial and social or community goals. They worked together to co author of the book the board members, easier than you think i’d to fund to non-profit finances published by emerson and church, and i’m very glad that their collaboration brings them both to the show. Andy nancy, welcome. Thank you. Thankyou. Tony. Pleasure to have you about both. Andy. Pleasure to have you back. Good talk with you again. Thank you, nancy. Why is this important for board members to care about the financial condition of a charity? Because that’s, really? What? Your charges as a boardmember. You have the responsibility to make sure the organization is achieving its mission. And the way the best way to do that is to make sure it. Has the resource is it needs to do it, and the financial statements and the finance non-profit finances how, you know, pretty quickly, what’s going on, especially if you’ve you’ve got that information. You also have some responsibilities to the community to deliver non-profit and that does achieve its mission and does it in a responsible and raducioiu fiduciary appropriate way so boardmember czar have a fiduciary duty to the charity, right? Absolutely. To the charity and to the public at large. Okay, s so why do you say the public at large? What? Because the in the u s the internal revenue service typically gives charity’s a ah non-profit designation, which allows them to receive contributions and issue tax deductible receipts and because they us is forgoing that tax, um, on knows on those dollars and giving the public a public benefit, the irs exercises oversight of non-profit charities and make sure that they really are delivering on their charitable purpose. So there is some public money in here it’s foregone before gone tax revenue at at a bare minimum, often there’s also direct public money from government grants or government contracts. And how about financial problems that can occur within the within the within the charity, like you bring out an example in your book of people not getting their salaries paid things like that, you know you there. Is that that oversight potential here you you are running a small business on dh. You want to make sure that your employees they’re well cared for, that you’re achieving your mission in the world at large sometimes in charities will see folks, you know, giving up salary on dh or deferring payment out of the goal of achieving the mission of the organization in the long term that seriously hurts the organization because people are really watching what’s happening with the money. Where is it coming in? Where is it going? Out? And andy isn’t their potential personal liability for board members when when their problems like this. Like nancy’s describing? Well, let me first cubine disclaimer here, which is that neither nancy nor i or attorneys then we can’t give people legal advice. Okay, well, there’s, no way haven’t nobody’s given you. The listeners have not given you a retainer fee, so you know, okay, i won’t play this. Um, if there is nonpayment of payroll taxes for example, of accusation goes into debt, doesn’t pay the irs or state taxing agencies boardmember czar individually liable for that? Um, most expenses boardmember czar protected from being personally liable on, but there are some exceptions, so i don’t know that that’s what drives this conversation? I mean, four members are simply looking at the balance sheet as a way of making sure that they’re not personally liable. That’s one level on this conversation, but there’s a whole lot more levels having to do with stuff that nancy was talking about. You are we being efficient? We meeting our mission? Are we tracking our work so that we know we’re being effective and that’s really what financial management is about? Indeed, okay, there’s certainly a whole spectrum of reasons why boardmember should care. I just wanted to bring out the last one, which is there is the potential of personal liability. Um, let’s see, wei have just about a minute before a break, and i’m hoping, nancy, why don’t you introduce the idea of the the financial dashboard? And then we’ll talk a lot more about it right after this break? Sure, the financial dashboard is something we introduced. That really gives you a one page sense of how’s, the organization doing what what i’ve found happens with a lot of non-profits is that they, um, they give their boards just reams of paper. And all of a sudden you get the budget and the the performance in the balance sheet and there’s, fifteen pages of financial statements and most boardmember zeev unwanted, who do know how to read. Financials don’t plow their way through it. And so the dashboard is is essentially a one page opportunity to get a sense of how are you operating financially? Are you being efficient, and are you having an impact and let you do it in a fairly simple way? And we’ll talk a lot about that one pager right after this break, i hope you stay with us. E-giving ending duitz e-giving ding, ding, ding, ding. You’re listening to the talking alternate network e-giving. E-giving good. Are you stuck in your business or career, trying to take your business to the next level, and it keeps hitting a wall? This is sam liebowitz, the conscious consultant. I will help you get to the root cause of your abundance issues and help move you forward in your life. Call me now and let’s. Create the future you dream of. Two, one, two, seven, two, one, eight, one, eight, three, that’s to one, two, seven, two, one, eight one eight three. The conscious consultant helping conscious people be better business people. Hi, this is psychic medium. Betsy cohen, host of the show. The power of intuition. Join me at talking alternative dot com mondays at eleven a. M call in for a free psychic reading learned how to tune into your intuition to feel better and to create your optimum life. I’m here to guide you and to assist you in creating life that you deserve. Listen. Every monday at eleven a, m on talking alternative dot com. Are you feeling overwhelmed in the current chaos of our changing times? A deeper understanding of authentic astrology can uncover solutions in every area of life. After all, metaphysics is just quantum physics, politically expressed, i and montgomery taylor and i offer lectures, seminars and private consultations. For more information, contact me at monte m o nt y at r l j media. Dot com talking alternative radio twenty four hours a day. Welcome back for b f d board, financials dilemma my guests or andy robinson and nancy wasserman, co authors of the board members easier than you think guide to non-profit finances and well, we’re live tweeting the show and we have a guest live tweeted this week. She is mazarene treyz is from austin, texas. Mazarene hello, thank you for doing the live tweeting today you can follow mazarene her ideas at wild woman fund on twitter and you conjoined, of course, the conversation right now using the hashtag non-profit radio and andy, i want to throw a question to you quickly. We got a question on twitter from mazarene what if an executive director was found stealing one of the things nancy and i were talking about that kind of fraud issues earlier? Would you give them a second chance? Oh boy, well, i’d be curious to hear nancy’s answer to this. My initial response no, followed by it depends and, um actually was on the board of an organisation where we found the opposite problem, which was the board of executive director was pouring money into the organization. He emptied out his retirement account, but it wasn’t telling. Anybody? He did this because thie grants weren’t coming through, and he was too embarrassed. So that’s a that’s, a that’s, a problem of being over generous, though it is paying for it himself. Yeah, we ended up filing the guy. Yeah, and the reason was he wasn’t disclosing to the board with the board needed do its job, right? Right. And i would say the issue in that case isn’t so much as, uh, misdirection lying. So i am. I am, you know, obviously kept is a bad thing, but the board needs full disclosure from the executive director to be able to do their job. Well. And i know that’s really where i would go on that. How about you, nancy? Andi was curious to hear your answer. I know. I would say again, like andy, it depends probably depending on the amount of severity and this situation. You know, if if the executive director was borrowing twenty dollars, from the petty cash when they forgot to bring their wallet toe work one day um, clearly that’s not not egregious enoughto fire somebody. But if they’re helping themselves to the to the checking account and redirecting grants into their own bank account? Yeah. Probably caused tio tio fire them even if they pay it back, right? That really? Because they pay back with interest, that really doesn’t matter, does it? I mean, the thing about non-profits is, you know, they’re not your own private fiefdom or your own private business there. Is there a community engagement where the reason you know you have? Ah, board of directors that are the final legal responsibility for the organization. So you really shouldn’t be operating it like your own private business. Let’s, talk a little about the dashboard now, nancy, the financial dashboard we introduced earlier it’s a one pager which i think will be a relief to people that they’re not getting a sheath of financial forms and balance sheets. But what? What do you think? What key parts that should be in this financial dashboard that sort of streamline the overview for board members. I would say that that there’s really three parts to it there’s a financial part where you’re looking at, you know, sort of what’s our total budget. Um, you know, every board member of every organisation should be able to very quickly say whether the organization is a three hundred thousand dollars a year organization or five million dollars a year. Organization. That’s sort of a basic sense of scale. Um, are we making money or not? Do we have net income? Hyre, uh, do we have cash on hand? Those kinds of questions do we, uh, do we have network? So we you know, if everything had to be liquidated today, um, would there be any, any money leftover or any value left? Geever um, that that was tangible value? Not just, uh, goodwill? Um, we also want to be looking at at how efficient the organization is and efficiency changes, depending on what the organization does it it’s really sense of being able to measure you you against yourself or against industry standards and it’s, you know, the level of what it costs to deliver services, for example, to severely challenged populations versus what it takes to deliver services toe highly educated people in an urban area where they’re all easily able to get to something. The costs levels are going to be different, and and we’re not saying that they should be the same, but to know what it costs for you. To serve your clients, what it costs to have volunteers and then the impact and i don’t know, andy, if you want to talk a little bit about that impact, how you measure whether you’re meeting your mission or not, and they’re often knew miracle measures that you can think about, you know, if you’re a land trust, how many acres air you preserving? If you do mentoring with children, how many adult children matches do you have? I sometimes this is long term tracking, which is hard for a grassroots organizations to do, but in most field there are ways of measuring your impact in terms of the number of clients you’re serving, or the number of audience members who are involved and hopefully there’s some measures that you can come up with that act, the quality of your work as well. Okay, so people here is we could get this all on one page. He would have data from two years ago. You’d have data from last year. You’d have data from the current year. He could lay them out and see what the trends are. All right, that’s, the financial dashboard i love how you guys have this little dance worked out where nancy talks about the financial and efficiency parts, but then she throws it over to her co author, andy for impact, and you have it all worked out, sort of sort of taking the show over, but okay, it’s, in a good way, which which leads me to a question i said, i have to ask when two of when you co author a book, how do you decide whose name comes first? Did you just do alphabetical order? Did you flip a coin or i see i’m too narcissistic to co author with anybody but but how did you guys work that out? How did you decide that? Andy andy’s alphabetically? First on first names on last names on the honest truth is he did a lot of the writing work where as i did helped him with content, so it was very easy for andy to go. All right, so if i had come in, you wouldn’t have looked only at martignetti you would have lost her, looked at toni, and then i’d have fallen maybe to the bottom, which is probably what i would have had much to contribute to this. So you’re wise not to take you anywhere, even though i pitched you. Otherwise, you name is well known in a certain community. We might have put you first on the your publisher would never have approved that one of the questions that we ask before the show that relates to what we’re talking about now is, do you believe all your board members have at least a general understanding of your financial position? And seventy percent said yes, thirty percent said no, so that’s, pretty good, seventy percent, but the thirty percent. They’re not really very confident, right genera, and that was just a for general understanding. Okay, so the, uh, that’s the dashboard. Andy, should these things be devoted only to you the authority of the finance committee? No. I mean, i think a really good use of the finance committee is, well, stuff down. Rest of the board can understand. It provides thing and support to the rest of the board. Serve as mentors and back-up for the people on staff. We’re doing this. This book is not about house staff. Members need to do financial management mohr effectively. But the reality is a lot of people who are executive directors or even finance directors need help. And one of the goals of finance committee is to give them that help when they need it. So away to think about this is excuse me. If the board is operating at a high altitude and the staff is down on the ground slashing through the week, the finance committee is sort of in the middle there, providing a bridge between those two groups of people. And so that means that financial dashboard is for the whole board to review, right? Yes, absolutely. Was that a heck? Yes. Was that you could say? Hell, yes. Okay. Okay. Wei have another question on from twitter. Reminding listeners you can join the conversation on twitter using hashtag non-profit. Radio board members need to look at the impact of the organization. Andy, i guess this is for you since you talked about impact, how do you measure if you’re meeting your mission or not? I guess she’s looking for a little more detail. Okay, well, obviously depends what your mission is. There are some standard benchmarks for how you’re doing. Uh, if you work with substance abuse, there are networks that do that that can talk about ways of tracking your impact. For example, how many people come through a program, get clean and stay ugly if you are a food bank and you’re delivering food to the community? There’s a number of metrics there that come out of arika america’s harvest, i forget the name of the national network, but they’ll tell you how much money you should be spending more or less based on the population that you’re serving and how much when he pounds of food you can put out into the community pretty much every non-profit, um, subset has symmetric that irrelevant, and the trick is to learn the ones that are relevant. Your type of organization and then trying to adapt them to your particular need. And that would be important for the executive director toby recognizing certainly, and then right. And then conveying that too. Lord. Yes. And in some cases, depending on the size of the organization, there is some board work to help find those numbers. I mean, i work a lot with really small organizations who has a staffer overwhelmed and it be great to say to a finance committee on a volunteer basis, i’m trying to figure out what the relevant metrics are for i type art type of organization who would be willing to do some research and bring that back to us. Doesn’t aboard metoo. But, you know, in the larger organization, yeah, that’s gonna fall staff one of the other questions we asked pre show was, does your board have a committee devoted to financial issues? About eighty percent said yes and the remainder roughly twenty percent said no, nancy does there? Does there have to be a finance committee? There does not have to be a finance committee. I think it really depends on the size of the organization. The level of support. That the director might need you know, how complex the organization is and a zoo also how savvy the board is. If most of the board understands financials and feels quite comfortable with it in a small organization, you could get away without a finance committee. I’d say you want one in any organization that’s about to undertake any kind of major financial growth or change or, uh, new initiative in a larger organization. It just is a great way to assist either the finance manager or the executive director and developing budgets and exercising oversight, because things don’t happen exactly as people planned them with me today. Or andy robinson and nancy wasserman, co authors of the board members easier than you think guide to non-profit finances, let’s, let’s talk some about diversifying income sources. Nancy, you make a point of of having that in a couple of chapters of the book, why is that important? First, you never want to be totally reliant on just one thunder. You don’t want to be in a situation where if that one funders suddenly says, we don’t like what you’re doing, um, that you’re suddenly scrambling in having to find other. Ways to support your activities and your programs on what you do for this, folks. I think we’ve seen a lot of that in our recession. Agencies that rely exclusively or too heavily on, say, government fees for services or maybe even government agency grants, oer and oer foundation grants those of all sources that have been cut back. Indeed, that’s, true and that’s, part of what it’s both diversifying types of financial support but also the number of supporters within each types. So you’re not totally reliant on just one foundation or won a charitable donor-centric donors on dh foundations and government and your own revenues. If there’s a way for you to do that, we have a comment again from twitter. I’m just going to point out tio, the person who wrote that, john, that we did talk earlier about individual personal liability for non-profits. You may have missed that part of the show, but you can always catch it on the archive on itunes on our itunes pages non-profit radio dot net. Then what are andy some of the sources of income that non-profit might look to that that they’re not currently exploiting. So there’s three big buckets here, tony, the first buck, it is private e-giving private giving is foundations, corporations, individuals and, of course, lets people leave behind when they pass away the big category there’s individuals within private e-giving about eighty percent of the money year after year comes from people, and most of the groups that i work with don’t invest enough time and energy using money from individual donors. So that’s the first category second category is public funding that goverment funding from the state local, regional, municipal, all the government levels. And as you already indicated, this is a shrinking resource right now and the groups that i think you’re getting hammered the worst during the recession or they were relying on government. The third bucket is earned income, which is non-profits arching for the services they provide or in some cases selling goods, unity, and of the three that’s the biggest of all this is sort of the surprise for people is that earned income is about the same amount as private and public funding. Put together when you look at all the non-profit across the country that’s. Interesting. Yeah, you don’t generally see that in in fund-raising reports like e-giving yusa, because earned income is not part of their there. Sorry about private philanthropy there now very clear, the numbers a little skewed, because if you’re a private college and you’re charging tuition, that shows up has earned income. If you’re a private hospital and you’re charging non-profit hospital in, you’re charging for medical services that shows up as earned income, so those numbers really sort of skew the data. But i’ll i worked with a number of organizations where i’m always pushing him to say, is there something you do that you could package up cell? Do you have some skill that people would buy from way have to take a break? We’re going to talk more about earned income right after this break, stay with us. Dafs you’re listening to the talking alternative network. Are you feeling overwhelmed in the current chaos of our changing times? A deeper understanding of authentic astrology can uncover solutions in every area of life. After all, metaphysics is just quantum physics, politically expressed hi and montgomery taylor and i offer lectures, seminars and private consultations. For more information, contact me at monte m o nt y at r l j media. Dot com are you stuck in your business or career trying to take your business to the next level, and it keeps hitting a wall? This is sam liebowitz, the conscious consultant. I will help you get to the root cause of your abundance issues and help move you forward in your life. Call me now and let’s. Create the future you dream of. Two, one, two, seven, two, one, eight, one, eight, three, that’s to one to seven to one, eight one eight three. The conscious consultant helping conscious people. Be better business people. Hey, all you crazy listeners looking to boost your business? Why not advertise on talking alternative with very reasonable rates? Interested simply email at info at talking alternative dot com i said we’d come back immediately and talk about earned income, but even though i am narcissistic, i forgot it’s it’s, my this is my turn now so it’s time for tony’s take two for a moment or two. My block this week is our irs is helping you. They’re new site is called i r s stay exempt and of course there’s a link to it on this week’s block post, and that site has courses and webinars and other resource is that the irs has produced for new organizations and for existing organizations, and then they have a section called also in depth topics, and i have links not only to that site but to a few of the topics that i know that charity struggle with and that i’ve had guests on to talk about applying for tax exemption, unrelated business income and four o three b retirement plans and the unrelated business income actually is sort of a spin off topic from what we’re about to i’m about to talk about with my guests earning income so the content from the irs it’s all plain language, it’s really very easy language. Teo to grasp it’s a little hokey in some places. There’s, an instructor named coach in a bunch of the bunch of the content you’ll learn from from that guy coach. But, you know it’s, an enormous bureaucracy trying to be accessible and helpful. And i admire that so on my block this week, our irs is helping you, my blog’s that tony martignetti dot com and that’s the new girl from what it used to be. Tony martignetti dot com that is tony’s take two for friday, march second, two thousand twelve it’s march already. And this is the ninth show of two thousand twelve. Andy robinson and nancy washington. And with me, we’re talking about b f d board. Financials dilemma. Andy earned income. What? What kind of charity possibly do? What’s a should be looking at tio. Try to make some money off their activities. Their work? Well, the question i always have groups that air wondering about this is what you have. What, you two or what do you know somebody else onto have or do or no most non-profits during the service business way deliver services. Sometimes we have expertise in that area and, you know i mean there’s a structure brainstorm that people could do around this. A lot of what we do in the nonprofit world is give it away, and the really entrepreneurial organizations look at what they’re giving away and they say, it’s paying market for this and, you know, we can we can spend the rest of the show talking about this. I don’t know if you want to, but, um, there’s a lot of opportunities there, and i see many, many organizations could be more self sufficient financially if they got at figuring out what they know and how to package it up. Okay, is there an example you can share with us? Ah, charity that didn’t realize what they had and and then ended up being able to exploit it and make some money from it. Well, i’m the author of a book on the subject about selling social change, and but my favorite ample of this, um, you know, for a group for years in tucson, arizona, caldnear search their seed bank on made of american crops and you know, what they do is protect eats from going extinct by planting them and growing them and distributing them and probably thirty percent. Of their of their income, its seed sales. I mean, there’s the bank and they receive selling what they recently started doing, which was fascinating as they opened something they called state school. And these are people who want to learn about how to protect seeds, grow them as amount of the next generations, really about sort of biological and genetic buddy, okay, money, and they come to arizona for a week and they get trained and everything you need to know to run your own. C back and it’s, an organization that was sitting on this for probably thirty years, only recently realized that people would pay for that knowledge in a classroom setting. Oh, they have been doing that all for free while they hadn’t been training other people. They’ve been taking care of this, but they hadn’t been teaching on. I said, okay, and they realised there are there, you know, the whole renaissance of local agriculture in our country right now. And they thought we could tap into this there’s a market here for people who want to learn how to do this. And so they started doing this, and they’re doing this four or five. Times a year and it sells out, and they’re starting to move it around to other parts of the country. So i mean that’s one example that’s an example of knowledge, they had a knowledge and a skill that was very marketable that’s, right? And until you have you know what, you need a finalist for better words, does he need someone in the organization who had an entrepreneurial gene who can look around and say, you know what, somebody’s going to want to buy this and not every non-profit is blessed with people who think that way, and i think part of what nancy and i are trying to do in our professional lives is to get more of that thinking out into the non-profit community. Andy related. Teo diversifying income. I had a comment from linkedin this woman had just had a board meeting this earlier this week regarding the need for transparency and distribution of responsibility when it comes to finances, bookkeeping and reporting function of their historic non-profit theater, they’ve been doing their thing, they’ve been doing things their way a long time on dh one big problem is that they have a banker on the board and he doesn’t see the problems s so it sounds like and and then she says i was able to get the check writing privileges moved to another person. This is sort of segway ing into ah, conflict of interest conversation. But it sounds like maybe he was the only one writing checks. Um, i secured a nice grant from a foundation and they want a financial audit. I’m moving for a review. However fear we won’t get any more money once it’s known how ignorant the board is about accountability. Nancy drew and he’s laughing. Nancy let’s, bring you back. What would you what would you say there? Well, you know, how are we defining accountability here? Is there a lack love? But what a financial audit might uncover is in propriety. But it sounds like that’s, not the case. More likely, it’s going to it’s, not the financial audit per se, but the form nine. Ninety that you filed with the irs. Which asks you now to tell us who does the board looking financials. Um, how does is the board of informed? Has the board seen an audit? Uh, did they review it and approve it? It’s really? You know, there there’s sort of two sets of questions, the very pragmatic did did you get an audit? Did you review? What did you look at it? And then the the more important question in my mind, which i think is the question we’re trying to answer with the whole book, which is, does the board really understand what all these numbers are telling them? And ideally with with a financial audit and accountant has come in and spoken directly with the board of directors and walked through each and every page of it and talk about why the financials are the way they are and what they mean? Um, and i think both andy and i have seen, you know, numbers of organizations where there’s a lot of people sitting around the table on dh, they leave it to the banker or the investment professionals, too. You know, they well, they know about numbers, and they handle it and it’s really something that everybody needs to know how to do if only to make sure that the mission of the organization is fully addressed by by the board and the organization. This also relates, teo, the conversation about diversifying income and hear this woman, i believe she’s a fundraiser there, a volunteer fundraiser on dh trying to diversify income source, getting a grant but fearful that the grantmaker not be renewed because there isn’t the transparency and accountability that thie the the grant source will probably be. Yeah, and this is another point that was raised. He sort of came out sideways is this question about separation of duties, which is, you know, in a healthy organization, people break up that work, one person opens the envelope, somebody else writes the checks, and somebody else approves them and somebody else, uh, get the, uh, bank statement and balances the checkbook, and the idea here is that you’re trying to avoid mischief, yeah, and fraud. And if somebody says, oh, i’ll take care of all of these things, you know, maybe they have good intentions and they’re going to be perfectly honest about it, but you really need to break that into separate pieces so people can have oversight over each other, let’s, segway into conflict of interest, andy define for us what conflict of interest is we hear it so often. Yeah, well, my sense of it, at least in terms of the context we’re having here, is that if you serve on a non-profit board, your job is to put the needs of the organization above your own personal needs. And where this plays out sometimes is people who try and receive a benefit from serving on the board at the personal benefit it has nothing to do with advancing the mission of the organization where they get tricky is that in a lot of voluntary organisations, there are inherent conflicts of interest. If you goes to a private school and you’re on the board, your job is to advocate for policies that are going to benefit the children in the school, and in some case, that means they’re going to benefit your kid individually and sort of sorting those things out can be challenging, but the bottom line is the decisions you make have to put the needs of the organization in front of your own personal needs. Nancy, how can we try to avoid conflicts of interest? One of the best ways is tohave ah, a written conflict of interest policy, where you’ve already addressed some of the situations that are likely to happen before they happened, where you sit there and say, you know, no defined what it is that is seen as either a riel conflict of interests or a perceived conflict of interest. Um, which might be a case where somebody was, for example, um, can somebody bid someone who serves on the board of directors bid on a project while they’re still on the board of directors or not? Or do they have toe resigned before they even submit a bid? Or do they only resign if they’re awarded the bid? Or do they have to resign? Or can they simply step out of the room for the discussion? Those are the kinds of questions that got kind of can get kind of challenging um, particularly when any member of the board stands to benefit financially from any decision of the board that’s an outright in my mind it outright conflict of interest and, uh, in most boards, you want to make sure that person doesn’t participate. And it’s it’s always easier to have that discussion when there isn’t ah, hot potato sitting in the room, that’s somebody’s thinking that they have every right to be part of the discussion on do you have to therefore bring up both the fact that somebody in the room is feeling uncomfortable that this person is present and it gets a little bit more tense in those sorts of situations prevention, having a written policy that folks have already talked through and everybody feels responsible for making sure it’s so prevention ahead of time, much better than dealing with it when it’s a crisis or potential crisis and, you know, it also is the transparency issue. You want to make sure that your presentation to the community at large is bonem it is as unaccountable organizations that that gives everybody equal opportunity to benefit from three organizations purchases. Is this the kind of policy a boardmember should sign and review every year or something like that? It’s not a bad idea, you know, it depends on the nature of the organization. I you know, i worked with a community loan fund and that’s absolutely required that you disclose your conflicts of interest each and every year and that you review the conflict of interest policy every year bonem the other thing that you know, incredibly important, disclosed, disclosed disclosed way have just a minute before a break, andy, anything you want to add to conflict of interest discussion. I think the main thing is that if you see it, you have to name it after. If you’re boardmember and you smell something like this, you have to have the courage to bring it up and nancy said, it’s much easier to do this if there’s an existing policy in place first, if somebody sees something like this andy again just a few seconds before break, who should they bring it up to your i’ma boardmember who do i talk to? Well, i would probably go to the chair first and say, i think there’s something fishy here, let’s, talk about it and i would start there, and then presumably, the board, the chair will bring it to the full board. Andy robinson and nancy washington are my guests. We’re going to take a break. When we return, we’ll dive into some financial statements to wrap up, stay with us, talking alternative radio twenty four hours a day. Hi, i’m carol ward from the body mind wellness program. Listen to my show for ideas and information to help you live a healthier life in body, mind and spirit. You hear from terrific guests who are experts in the areas of health, wellness and creativity. So join me every thursday at eleven a, m eastern standard time on talking alternative dot com professionals serving community. This is tony martignetti aptly named host of tony martignetti non-profit radio. Big non-profit ideas for the other ninety five percent technology fund-raising compliance, social media, small and medium non-profits have needs in all these areas. My guests are expert in all these areas and mohr. Tony martignetti non-profit radio friday’s one to two eastern on talking alternative broadcast are you concerned about the future of your business for career? Would you like it all to just be better? Well, the way to do that is to better communication, and the best way to do that is training from the team at improving communications. This is larry sharp, host of the ivory tower radio program and director at improving communications. Does your office needs better leadership? Customer service sales or maybe better writing are speaking skills. Could they be better at dealing with confrontation conflicts, touchy subjects all are covered here at improving communications. If you’re in the new york city area, stop by one of our public classes or get your human resource is in touch with us. The website is improving communications, dot com that’s improving communications, dot com improve your professional environment. Be more effective, be happier. And make more money. Improving communications. That’s. The answer. Talking. Welcome back to big non-profit ideas for the other ninety five percent on tony martignetti non-profit radio. Nancy let’s. Talk a little about financial statements. What? What? Uh, what are the basics? First what’s the overview. There’s. Really? Two major statements that everybody has to deliver once the balance sheet, which is a snapshot on any given day, typically the end of the month or the end of the quarter. The end of the year. Um, which outlines what the organization owns and what they owe and what they’re worth, which is the difference between everything they own. Less everything they owe as faras it’s paper value is what they would be worth on that day. Uh, the other major statement is the statement of activities also called the profit loss or a p n l which is? Where do you get all your money? Your income your revenues from and then what does it goto pay for all your expenses and the bottom line? There is your net income at the end of end of a certain time period. The statement of activities is more like a movie. It covers a period of time. Uh, typically, uh, the beginning. Of the year to the end of the most previous sorry, the most recent months. So if we were on a board today, we probably wouldn’t see the thie statement of activities through the end of february because somebody would have had to have it all cleaned up as of yesterday. But we could expect to see something through the end of january and depending on what your fiscal year, wass would determine the begin of the beginning period. We talked earlier about full disclosure, so i’m going to make a disclosure the on ly accounting course that i’ve ever taken i dropped out of because i was i was i was going to fail, so so i’m like perfect for this book, this it’s very informative, and it is an easy read, and it is helpful guide um, nancy helped me understand i this was always seem like magic to me on a balance sheet. How is it that the assets equal the liabilities? How does that always come out so equal? I mean, its intended that way. Obviously. How does that possible? Seems like magic. Now you’re asking somebody who was not trained as a classically trained accountant. You can’t pull back now. Your name is on the book, you’re name is there. I’m looking right at it, says nancy wasserman’s. But it’s, um, it’s based on double entry bookkeeping, which was developed by the chinese and it’s follows up from the abacus. And i was sort of, uh, uh, amplified by the italians in the renaissance. Essentially, when you put an entry and double entry bookkeeping, everything that goes up, something has to go down and it all balances out in the end, in the cash comes out. And if your balance sheet that’s like number one is the balance sheet, if the total assets does not equal the total liabilities and equity, it is an incorrectly prepared balance sheet. There’s a reason they call it a balance right about yes, exactly. I love that my italian forebears had something to do with confusing me. Now in the current day. Um okay. What? How can we help? Boardmember is nancy who whose eyes kind of glaze over when they get to the balance sheet. Aside from looking to see whether the two the assets and liabilities equal which they always do right step number one is a balance number to do your total current assets. In other words, what? What? Khun b cash within a year’s time exceed your current liabilities. The things you have to pay off with cash in a year’s time. And so are you liquid or not? Do you have? Do you have cash available to do things? This’s? The place where you’re looking for those payroll liabilities or payroll tax liabilities? If there’s a number there that’s frighteningly large, you’ve got a big problem. And if its payroll tax liabilities, he was a boardmember maybe personally liable. Um, what are your long term liabilities look like? Is that that’s your debt? Basically. And, you know, does it make tense to you? Is that number reflects the debt? You know, the organization has your net net assets now, you know, the language of accounting is kind of like greek. And i sometimes think they made up all these names to make it even more confusing. It would be so much easier if it was it was italian. It could be it would be. And where there’s a lot of cognitive is and it’s a romance language. I think it would be oh, i’m sorry, no problem, but that total net assets number, which simply means, you know what? What’s this organization more if it if it had two legged liquidate today and if that’s a negative number, you should be concerned. And certainly many of organizations where that is the case. So those are the big things on the balance sheet, you know, does it? Does it short of make sense to you to the fixed assets and their value? Um, feel like what you have if he suddenly see something that shows that you have a fixed asset of, you know, equipment worth one hundred thousand dollars, you’re scratching your head because you have no idea what you have for equipment something’s wrong with and you should and should ask that question. Absolutely. You mentioned earlier frighteningly large numbers mean is part of what we should be doing is looking for anomalies. That’s really what you’re looking, you’re looking for things that you know that don’t make sense or don’t feel right or that you can’t if you can’t, if it doesn’t feel right and you can’t really explain it, you want to ask questions from and the numbers you know, the thing about numbers, they’re pretty, they’re very ghetto. They’re either on or off and, um it’s harder to lie with numbers. So you’re going to know right away that you could have frighteningly large numbers with the complex organization, and that would be fine from if if they’re bad hosed out. If there’s cash in the bank, if it feels like there’s equity, this is ah critical subject. Another question that i asked on the on the pre show survey is for those charities that do have a board committee devoted to financial issues. Are you confident that each committee member is fluent in your numbers and understand your financial position? Only twenty five percent said yes, the remaining seventy five percent were either no or not sure on dno was pretty large about sixty percent way have to stop there. Andy robinson and nancy wasserman are co authors of the board members easier than you think. Guide to non-profit finances published by emerson and church andy. Nancy, thank you very much for being guests. Thank you. It’s. Been a real pleasure. And also thanks to your publisher, kathleen brennan at emerson and church for her promotion assistance for the show next week you know his company and you may be wearing his name on your hoody market go ceo of the very consistent brand echo enterprises has ideas on branding and other business lessons applicable to charities, and craig newmark, the founder of craigslist and craigconnects, shares his thoughts on simple communications. Thes were both pre recorded at last year’s nextgencharity conference keep up with what’s coming up! Sign up for our insider email lorts on the facebook page like that page the pages, the timeline check it out! We got a new banner banner photograph, which will be rotating on dh the whole new timeline format like like it look at it and like it khun, listen, live our archive if you haven’t didn’t catch us live archives from itunes, you’ll find our itunes paige at non-profit radio dot net subscribe listen, any time on the device of your choice on twitter, you can follow me or you can follow the show’s hashtag non-profit radio my thanks again to mazarene treyz for for live tweeting today’s show the show is sponsored by g grace and company if you’re worried about the rising cost of rent for your organization. Or, if you need a plan for real estate that you’re non-profit owns, grayson company will give you a thorough and complete board analysis so that your real estate decisions are made transparently and thoroughly. 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