Dates Apply to QuickBooks Payroll Users Only
Our friends at QuickBooks just sent us this list of important deadlines to remember for QuickBooks payroll service users. You're welcome! And as always give our team a call if you need assistance preparing for any financial-related deadline! Bonus: If you're not yet a QuickBooks user, feel free to take advantage of the discounted rate available to our clients and friends. 50% off is not to shabby, right?! We're a proud QuickBooks Ambassadors!
January 10, 2020:
W-2 forms become available in your product and will be mailed to your employees by January 31, 2020.
January 28, 2020, by 5 PM PT:
If using the Intuit 1099 E-file service, this is the last day to submit for timely mailing of contractor 1099s.
January 31, 2020:
Last day to provide 1099-MISC forms to contractors.
Last day to e-file 1099 forms for timely processing with the IRS.
DID YOU KNOW:
The IRS has released a new W-4 form? Learn more about what's changing, who it affects, and when the new form will be available in your account.
For the complete year-end payroll checklist, visit the Year-End Center.
Sheehan will speak on how to have meaningful financial conversations with a nonprofit board of directors.
Melbourne, FL (December 19, 2019) – Chantal Sheehan, Founder and CEO of Blue Fox was recently named a speaker for NTEN’s 2020 Nonprofit Technology Conference (20NTC). The conference will take place March 24-26 at the Baltimore Convention Center in Maryland.
Dubbed by her clients as a nonprofit numbers guru, Sheehan will speak on how to have meaningful financial conversations with a nonprofit board of directors using the latest and greatest financial technology. Her presentation, 4 Strategies for Meaningful Money Conversations with Your Board, will introduce actionable strategies for nonprofit executives to use in the board room: financial dashboards, reporting tools and visual conversation starters.
[Related: How to Wow at Your Next Board Meeting: 4 Tips for Meaningful Money Conversations]
She explains, “Discussing financials with your board can be stressful. You’re often met with blank stares, irrelevant questions or surprise concerns. There has to be a better way. A better way to guide financial conversations. A better way to present the data. A better way to tap into the knowledge, experience and leadership that sits around your board room table. And, a better way to show your board that you are responsibly steering the ship.”
With over 2,000 attendees, NTEN’s Nonprofit Technology Conference gives nonprofit leaders the opportunity to learn how technology can help them more efficiently serve their communities and create change. Organizers explain, “20NTC is designed to help you reinvigorate your work and bring that renewed passion back home.”
Sheehan is a nonprofit organizational leadership expert and financial management coach with over 15 years executive-level experience across the private and public sectors. She guarantees 20NTC attendees a fast-paced session loaded with takeaways.
As an avid blogger she spices up the topic of financial management in publications for Bill.com, Bloomerang, and Hive. Her company blog at www.yourbluefox.com features content aimed to educate and empower nonprofit and social enterprise professionals. From QuickBooks hacks to advice on how to talk finance with a board of directors, the Blue Fox blog has it all.
A recovering nonprofit executive director herself, Sheehan started Blue Fox in 2015, and the company has doubled or tripled in size each year in response to high demand. For more information about Blue Fox call (321) 233-3311, email email@example.com, and visit www.yourbluefox.com.
ABOUT BLUE FOX: Blue Fox provides customized financial and back office services for social impact organizations (nonprofits and social enterprises). Services range from standard bookkeeping and payroll services, to coaching and consulting, to full-blown virtual CFO services. The Blue Fox mission is to disrupt the traditional accounting model through technology, innovation, and a radically client-focused approach that truly empowers nonprofits and social enterprises. For more information call (321) 233-3311, email firstname.lastname@example.org, and visit www.yourbluefox.com.
A Story About How We Serve Clients…
When Bill.com calls to interview your CEO, you jump at the opportunity! Especially when they mention that your CEO is viewed as an industry-leading financial services provider and they want to share her expertise. And, now we’re blushing!
READ THE FULL INTERVIEW HERE:
Blue Fox, AI, and Maximizing Value for Accounting Clients
Our CEO, Chantal Sheehan has first-hand experience with the challenges that nonprofit face and has structured Blue Fox services to support those unique challenges. In this interview, she explains how Blue Fox takes advantage of Bill.com’s AI-powered Intelligent Virtual Assistant to most efficiently serve clients.
One of our favorite quotes from the interview is when our CEO, Chantal Sheehan said, “We focus on leveraging technology like AI so that we can apply human time where it counts for clients.” This is part of the Blue Fox philosophy and why we work so hard to provide the latest and greatest technology solutions for our clients.
If your nonprofit or social enterprise is looking to professionalize your back office operations, give us a shout any time at (321) 233-3311 or email@example.com.
Why one of 2020’s hottest nonprofit trends will continue to be the rise of the virtual CFO.
CFO. Chief Financial Officer. Head Honcho of All the Numbers.
If you’ve ever met one, your mental picture of a traditional CFO is likely one of a middle-aged white guy wearing glasses, khakis, and a button down shirt hunched over a computer with paperwork all over his desk. Let’s call him Bob.
We’re happy to report that, while Bob lives on in many businesses, a growing trend in finance is about to disrupt the C-suite for good. Enter the outsourced, virtual CFO, or vCFO.
If you’re unfamiliar with the concept, vCFOs may be called outsourced, part-time, or fractional CFOs. Google those terms and be amazed at the number of results. We think that 2020 will be another banner year for outsourced CFOs everywhere, so we thought it might be time to break it down for you.
Here’s what you need to know:
vCFOs may either be a firm or an individual. Usually they are CPAs, senior accountants or bookkeepers, or other experienced and educated individuals who’ve held CFO or senior finance or accounting roles in the past. Likely female (more than half of all accountants in the US are women), these folks are highly skilled numbers nerds who can fill the CFO role just as well as (better than?) Bob.
What does an outsourced CFO do? She may be charged with a variety of tasks including bookkeeping, accounting, month-end closes, payroll, and financial reporting. But the real leverage in a vCFO is the strategic guidance and financial planning she provides. Interpreting financial data in a way that makes sense to other members of the C-suite is job #1. The rest of the job is to take a proactive approach to finance with sustainability in mind. A vCFO helps organizations streamline its financial systems and processes, develop strategic budgets, manage financial risk, raise capital, and figure out exactly what is needed to get from where your business or nonprofit is today to where you would like it to go.
A growing number of nonprofits and social enterprises turn to vCFOs for these reasons:
When to hire a vCFO is something we’ll cover in a future blog, but a different type of when question we get about Blue Fox is: when can we call you? The answer is: anytime. One big bonus of a vCFO is that, in most cases, they are available to support you, ask questions, present at meetings, and generally do whatever you need them to do anytime. 100% uptime, to poach a tech industry phrase. That’s because vCFO firms like ours pair a bookkeeper and a senior accountant on each client’s work. You can always reach someone on your virtual finance team and you’re never left in the lurch. Again, our singular agenda is: support you and your organization to the best of our ability at all times.
(5) WHERE & HOW
This is an easy one – outsourced CFOs can be remote and tend to deliver their services through cloud-based technology. It’s actually the recent evolutions in cloud-based accounting tech that make what we do possible – 10 years ago, the tech just wasn’t there. But now we can work with any client anywhere at any time. As a vCFO client, that also means you can pick from the nation’s top service providers, rather than just your local market. You can source vCFOs who specialize in your industry, and they can work for you from anywhere. Video and conference calls bridge the communications gaps, and our cloud-based tools allow us to securely exchange data and provide live, real-time accounting information all day long.
Hopefully, now you can see why one of 2020’s hottest business trends will continue to be the rise of the virtual CFO. Your nonprofit or social enterprise can be an early adopter. Start the new year off with fresh and clean books, and the leverage a vCFO can provide to ensure you lead with 20/20 vision for this year and beyond!
Author: Blue Fox Founder & CEO, Chantal Sheehan
OUR TOP PICKS: News & Resources for Nonprofits
If you’re like us, your daily inbox is jam-packed with newsletters and educational opportunities from like-minded social impact leaders. These spectacular humans work around the clock to foster positive change in their communities. Then, somehow, find time to share their story with fellow nonprofit enthusiasts. We tip our hat to them!
Here are just a handful of our favorite nonprofit resources this month:
Thanks for stopping by to read our picks for top nonprofit news this month! If you’re interested in hearing more from us, subscribe to our newsletter today!
Why You Need It. How to Start It. Best Practices to Leverage It.
WHY YOU NEED OPERATING RESERVES
The news is full of warnings about the next economic downturn and possibly even a recession. Is your nonprofit ready? Is your financial house in order? Is your capital position and structure strong enough to withstand the ebbs and flows of our economic system?
Recession aside, does your organization have enough moolah in reserves in case your air conditioner goes out (a catastrophic event in our sunny state of Florida)? And if your funds are used for an unexpected occurrence, will you still have the ability to deliver services in your community? This article is all about shoring up your ability to sustain operations when the unexpected happens (like when your office temp is 88 degrees) internally or externally.
First off: do you have an operating reserves policy? If so, when is the last time your leadership team reviewed the policy? If it’s been a while read on as we guide you through the process of building an operating reserves policy, and the implementation and ongoing oversight of that policy.
[ALSO READ: 5 Key Elements You Need in Your Operating Reserves Policy]
According to Propel Nonprofits, “An operating reserve is an unrestricted fund balance set aside to stabilize a nonprofit’s finances by providing a cushion against unexpected events, losses of income, and large unbudgeted expenses.” Likewise, an operating reserve policy is meant to, “define and set goals for reserve funds, clearly describe authorization for use of reserves, and outline requirements for reporting and monitoring.”
Our team at Blue Fox hears comments like this all the time, “Yes, we have a policy. I think my operations coordinator found a sample on some website. We presented it to our board a couple years ago and they approved it right away.”
Oh boy do comments like that scare us!
Look, it’s helpful that your nonprofit found a sample policy on the interwebs for free. But that’s all it is – a sample. A starting point. The very first step in the process. Your organization is not like others. Your cash flow is different. The diversity of your income varies. And your liquid assets are unlike that of the organization that wrote the sample. Your operating reserve policy should be as unique as your organization, plain and simple.
So, let’s talk about the best practices for starting an operating reserves policy. And don’t hesitate to call on the Blue Fox team for advice and support along the way. We want all the organizations in our den to achieve fiscal sustainability and security. We can help assess your financial position today and provide some benchmarks to help you make decisions as you set up your operating reserves for tomorrow.
HOW TO START AN OPERATING RESERVE
As with most strategic decisions, the first step is to broach the conversation with your board and/or finance committee. Your treasurer, in particular, is a good first call. If you already have a policy in place, request a call to discuss revising/refinement of the policy. Most boards are eager to have this discussion because they understand the importance of a rainy-day fund.
Once you have board buy-in the next step is to get your collective arms around how much you want to allocate to reserves. When times are good and the bank account is flush it can be tempting to allocate TOO much. (Especially if your organization suffered during the Great Recession.) On the flip side, some leaders skew to saving too little. We want to Goldilocks this thing and get it juuuust right. How?
In order to determine the target reserve amount, you’ll want to take a look at your organization’s historic “burn rate” – i.e. how much you spend each month to keep the lights on, pay your staff, and, critically, deliver on your mission. How far back you should go to determine your burn rate can vary, but a good rule of thumb is to look at your average monthly spending for the last 12-24 months. Most accounting software should be able to produce a profit and loss report broken down by month for any given period. That’s the report you want to start with.
As you review the data, you’ll next want to back out/offset your expenses by any unusual expenditures that occurred within your report time period. For example: if your organization went through a website redesign over a 6-month period in the last year and it cost $60k, you’re going to want to subtract $60k from the total expenses during that period. The idea here is to back out expenses that won’t be normal and recurring.
The next step is to settle on how many months of expenses you want to (or are able to) set aside. Smaller organizations may be comfortable with 1-3 months, or even just enough to cover 1 pay period. Large organizations may take a more aggressive approach to saving and shoot for 12+ months of reserves. No more than 2 years of operating expenses should be held in reserve.
We find the sweet spot for most nonprofits is 6-9 months of expenses.
Once you have an amount in mind and the data to back it up, propose it to your board/treasurer/finance committee and discuss. With their blessing you can move forward with developing a policy.
TIP: Don’t move any money or add “operating reserves” to your books as a line item until you have an operating reserve policy approved by the board!
BEST PRACTICES TO LEVERAGE YOUR RESERVES: THE POLICY ITSELF IS THE KEY
The first step in deriving leverage from your operating reserves is to structure a board approved operating reserve policy for its use. If you have a sample, great. If not, you can easily find one online through a search. We recommend the staff/leadership develop a policy draft and then pass it to the board/finance committee for review, feedback, and approval.
We recommend that your policy should have these 5 key elements in order to be fully and appropriately leveraged!
Once your policy is drafted with solid answers to these questions, you’ll want to put it back in front of your finance committee/board for review and discussion. Policy approval should be unanimous. All board members should be on the same page with this strategic use of capital! If consensus is hard to find, keep working until you get there. What you don’t want is a dramatic, painful moment when you eventually have to use the funds. So bring everyone together on this from the get-go.
When you get approval, go ahead and move that money (if you have it) or formalize your procedures for building the fund. Be sure to add the operating reserves to your accounting general ledger, too, so it’s clearly there for all to see.
Operational touchstones like operating reserves aren’t sexy, we know. But there is no doubt that, as with our own individual savings accounts, we feel better when we know that emergency fund is there. We feel empowered to move ahead with our lives and financial decisions. We feel confident in our ability to deliver the critical services and support that we do to all our stakeholders and clients.
If you need assistance starting or updating your operating reserves policy, Blue Fox is happy to consult with your leadership and we will even take those pesky tasks like bookkeeping, payroll and tax prep off your hands. We do that too! Give our friendly team a call any time at (321) 233-3311 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Authors: Blue Fox CEO, Chantal Sheehan and Blue Fox Director of Marketing, Chelsea Clementi
Welcome to the Blue Fox Blog! A fairly entertaining source of info and news related to our company, nonprofits, social sector trends, and, of course, accounting. Enjoy!
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