The core of Blue Fox’s philosophy is the synergy between technology and humanity – that’s why our tagline is Agile Accounting for Impact. We serve our clients with the best solutions and virtual tools to run their nonprofit organization’s back office with efficiency and excellence.
We listen to the nonprofit buzz every day and understand that tax compliance is a major pain point for many organizations. Queue a new #foxtastic partnership with Avalara.
The team at Avalara lives and breathes tax compliance so your nonprofit can sit back and relax without having to be a tax expert in every state [especially with donors living all over]. Even better, their platform automates the major steps of tax compliance — all in the cloud.
There are so many misconceptions about tax compliance in the nonprofit space. Here are three major areas of confusion:
So, why did our team at Blue Fox partner with Avalara? That’s simple: their services take care of nonprofits by limiting tax risk and building efficiency through automation and integration with Quickbooks.
If you’re interested in learning more, let us introduce you to the tax experts at Avalara. Send us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org email.
Want to learn more about who benefits from sales tax automation and how it can save time and money? Check out the free guide below with answers to your most important sales tax automation questions.
We are partnering up with our friend Cathy Allen, The Board Doctor, to share a free Wellness Test for nonprofit board members.
Have you ever been at a flea market or street fair and come across the booth run by the local health department? They are offering free tests: blood pressure, blood sugar and cholesterol, BMI calculation, etc. This kind of screening does not catch every malady, but it can detect some of the most common health-related issues. It also comes with a brochure or two about the signs and symptoms of trouble ahead and how to know when to consult a doctor.
That is the thinking behind The Board Doctor's Wellness Test with 10 questions designed to provide a snapshot of how well a nonprofit board of directors is functioning in its governance role. It is offered free through The Board Doctor's website and comes with an optional complimentary debrief phone call or video chat to review results and plan potential next steps the board can take as it seeks to get better.
The Wellness Test includes two questions on legal compliance, three questions on the board's role and responsibilities, three questions on board structure, and two questions on fiduciary responsibility. The responses are then automatically scored and emailed to the test taker, along with some explanatory information. Test takers are also able to schedule their optional free debrief meeting. (Note: participants are NOT put into a sales funnel. We figure you'll find us when and if you need us, so we have no need to spam people.)
Take Me There! [Click here]
Another reason to take The Board Doctor's Wellness Test: you can help advance knowledge of the nonprofit sector. Throughout 2021 we are gathering data (anonymously and confidentially) for use as part of a research study comparing the governance practices of some kinds of nonprofits with other kinds of nonprofits.
At the end of the ten Wellness Test questions are three optional questions that will help us categorize different types of nonprofit organizations. Results will be available next year, along with benchmarking for future takers of the Wellness Test.
Those ready to undertake a more thorough exam are encouraged to explore The Board Doctor's Annual Checkup: A Board Governance Self-Assessment, a paid service that can involve the entire board, comes with or without a boardroom presentation of results, and includes exclusive access to The Board Doctor's Patient Portal, with curated resources and information about each of the Checkup's 100 items. Want to just talk it through? Set up a free initial consultation.
So, when it is time to find out for sure whether your board is on the right track or needs to make some adjustments, The Board Doctor is here for you!
To learn more, visit The Board Doctor’s website or email Cathy at Cathy@TheBoardDoctor.org.
At Blue Fox, we are committed to sharing valuable resources to our friends and clients in the nonprofit, social impact and small business sector. As an Intuit QuickBooks affiliate, we wanted to share some insightful, on-demand educational videos from the 7th annual QuickBooks Connect Conference. Thousands of small business owners and accountants from around the world tuned in to connect, learn more and hear the latest insights from industry experts to help propel their organization.
We wanted to highlight some of our favorite breakout sessions in case you have some free time to check them out.
1. When competition becomes collaboration: How to build your community | QuickBooks Connect 2020
In this 40 minute recorded video, Misty Megia shares three strategies she uses to help companies build communities and turn “competitors” into collaborators.
2. QuickBooks Money: Control your cash flow | QuickBooks Connect 2020
Rania Succar, Senior VP for Quickbooks Money Platform, Intuit, shares a high-level overview in this 6 minute video.
[Also, our brilliant CEO Chantal Sheehan at Blue Fox shared an awesome overview about cash flow and 12 ways to steward your organization with revenue and expenses - it’s a must read!.]
3. How to RISE and thrive in times of change
Change is challenging which we all learned first-hand in 2020. Joyel Crawford explains an action planning tool that can help organizations increase productivity amidst any changing circumstances.
4. Helping clients weather the storm
In a 50 minute recorded session, Geni Whitehouse, CPA.CITP, CSPM talks tools and processes to help accountants standardize their advisory services and client support .
There’s a wealth of valuable content on-demand through QuickBooks Connect and we hope you find some great takeaways to help your organization. Fun fact: We are a proud Intuit Quickbooks affiliate and ProAdvisor.
As always, our team is happy to answer questions and help your organization navigate current financial challenges. Give us a call at (321) 233-3311 or email email@example.com.
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:
(Online Class) Be an Effective Board Member (Required to Create Free Account)
(eBook) 10 Ways to Diversify Your Nonprofit’s Fundraising Efforts and Raise More
(Article) Trends in 2021 Corporate Partnerships and CSR
(Webinars) Bloomerang’s Upcoming Webinar Series
(Article) 32 Nonprofit Leaders Who Will Impact the World in 2021
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!
About Blue Fox: Our team provides customized, boutique financial and back office services for social impact organizations. Services range from standard bookkeeping and payroll services, to coaching and consulting, to comprehensive virtual CFO services. Our 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.
Love is in the air!
Here is our favorite love story ... about two of our best friends in the nonprofit world. Their names are Fundraising and Finance.
Our friend Finance is not so sexy :) But he is intelligent, organized and precise.
Fundraising is way hotter than Finance. She’s exciting, inspiring, and passion-driven. And everyone loves to focus their attention on her.
When you invite Fundraising to dinner, Finance has to come along. (The good news is, Finance always picks up the tab. Ha!) Fundraising will make your heart melt with the stories she tells and her big energy and hope. But at dinner Finance will talk about cash flow, budgeting, operating reserves, and payroll expenses. You know, all the pesky little details that actually matter. Who invited that person? Sheesh! We know. Finance isn’t sexy, but Fundraising without Finance is just short-sighted.
At first, they seem like an unlikely couple but Fundraising and Finance are intimates. Their nonprofit home is a happy, efficient, sustainable, and well-funded place to be.
Like all couples, they can struggle. But when they work together with open continuous communication and feedback, they are an unstoppable team.
That, our friends, is a nonprofit love story.
Q: So, what’s the moral of the story?
A: To build nonprofit sustainability, your finance and fundraising teams must collaborate closely and communicate on a continuous basis.
[Read: What Fuels Nonprofit Sustainability]
Financial stewardship builds sustainable organizations. But many nonprofit leaders are more versed in fundraising, marketing and events. That’s why Blue Fox exists – to organize, empower and educate nonprofit leaders on all thing’s financial management. We’ve got your back!
Tax-Free Is the Way to Be! The Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2021 Extends Employment Tuition Repayment Assistance Through 2025
Here’s a tax legislation win-win!
If you have student loans, your employer now has the opportunity to provide repayment assistance through 2025 tax-free. Let’s say that again: tax-free!
An article published by SHRM explains: “The Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2021 (CAA), signed into law by President Donald Trump on Dec. 27 extends for five years COVID-19 relief that allows employer-provided student loan repayment as a tax-free benefit to employees under Section 127 of the Internal Revenue Code. Through 2025, employers can continue to make contributions of up to $5,250 per employee annually toward eligible education expenses, like tuition or student loan assistance, without raising the employee's gross taxable income.”
SHRM calculates that only 8% of employers provide loan assistance. This legislation aims to improve that number to make a dent in our nation’s student loan debt crisis.
Chatrane Birbal, vice president for public policy at SHRM said, "This benefit will provide some relief to employees who are currently repaying student loan debt and also gives employers more flexibility in the design of benefit offerings for recruitment and retention purposes."
Let’s spread the word and keep our fingers crossed that more employers recognize the win-win benefits of offering tuition repayment assistance now, through 2025 and beyond.
Your tax refund may come later this year.
#whatthefox is right!
If you frequent the IRS.gov virtual newsroom (like we do), you’ll discover these facts:
“The Internal Revenue Service announced that the nation's tax season will start on Friday, February 12, 2021, when the tax agency will begin accepting and processing 2020 tax year returns. The February 12 start date for individual tax return filers allows the IRS time to do additional programming and testing of IRS systems following the December 27 tax law changes that provided a second round of Economic Impact Payments and other benefits.”
Although shocking and unprecedented, the IRS has reason (outlined in this full article): to make sure people eligible for stimulus money, receive those funds before filing their taxes. That’s nice - we’ll let them slide this year.
We encourage you to read the IRS’s latest news release for simple steps to speed your refund and a full list of key filing season dates.
As we’ve said before, our team at Blue Fox is up to speed on the latest tax law changes, and there are a lot. As you can imagine, tax preparation has never been more complex or intricate as it will be in 2021.
If you could use tax support, let’s chat! We serve individuals, self-employed folks, nonprofit organizations, and small businesses.
Here’s Why Cash is King for Your Nonprofit During the 2020/2021 Economic Crisis
In our latest blog post, [Chills, Thrills, and Dollar Bill, Part 1] we talked about what a cash flow is, and why it's important for your nonprofit. Now let's dive deeper into 12 ways to steward your organization’s position during tough times.
Automate earned revenue whenever possible. If you’re collecting fees from individuals for a service, you should be automating that process! Why? It’s key to keeping your cash flow level.
Don’t expect pre-2020 levels of institutional funding to return for a while. Word on the street is not to expect grant funding to return to normal in 2021. Understand that your development team’s attention might be better spent on cultivating other sources of revenue besides grants.
Now is the time to try new things. Innovate, test, adapt, test and repeat! Most organizations have some room to deliver an earned revenue model to their constituents. You can no longer afford to wait to diversify your funding streams.
Analyze expenses but don’t analyze to death. What matters is how you deliver on mission. Don’t get analysis paralysis. Know your major buckets of expenses and be prepared to make strategic spending decisions.
Know the difference between ROI (return on investment) and ROS (return on scarcity). ROS is a really interesting way to say opportunity cost. Scarcity is a lack of something; nonprofits often suffer from a “scarcity mindset.” So as you look at your spending, consider: if you choose not to fund certain activities due to concerns around scarcity, what opportunities are being lost as a result? Are you eliminating something from your budget that results in a negative impact to your mission?
Protect Your Cash on Hand. The following tips might seem a little obvious or like a “Risk Management 101” but they are great reminders.
Pay down credit card debt. Organizational credit card debt can really hamstring your ability to save for the future. Wherever possible, if cash allows, pay down your credit cards to avoid paying overly high interest rates.
Obtain line of credit. If you already have a line of credit, KUDOS! But use cautiously. Remember it's a loan you have to pay it back. Right now we're seeing some lending happening at the community bank and credit unions level, but the larger banks are not being so generous. If you can obtain a line of credit, even if it’s small, that could help you get by.
Determine when to use EIDL funds. If you took an Economic Injury Disaster Loan in 2020, proceed with caution. Think of your EIDL money as an internal line of credit. Sit on the money as long as you can and see if you need it. If you’re going to draw on it, have a plan for how you will repay the funds. EIDL funds are still loans. So you and your board should tap into those funds carefully.
Understand FDIC insurance limits on bank accounts. The Federal Government ensures up to $250,000 in bank accounts, so if your organization has more than that in any single bank account, the balance is unprotected. If you want to mitigate that risk, talk to your bank about where you can move your funds to be protected.
Manage risk to investments; focus on capital preservation. You might have already done this in 2020 but talk to your investment advisors and find out more about your asset allocation and the risk exposure for your organization’s investments.
Pro tip: Keep your board in the loop-they have ultimate fiduciary responsibility for your nonprofit. They are on the hook financially and legally, so make sure your board is on board at all times.
To quote Yogi Berra, “if you don’t know where you are going, you might wind up someplace else.”
A keen eye on cash will help you manage your organization more effectively and it will also help your board, leadership and constituents know that you are prepared to move your organization forward regardless of the crazy times we’re living in now.
If you’re looking to dive deeper into planning your 2021 budget and cash flow, our friendly team at Blue Fox is here to help! Give us a call at (321) 233-3311 or email us at email@example.com. We’ll get you sorted! Then you can focus on what really matters: your mission and serving your community.
You can also schedule a free budget consultation: https://calendly.com/chat-with-chantal
Here’s Why Cash is King for Your Nonprofit During the 2020/2021 Economic Crisis
The Benjamins. That bankroll. Can you tell we’re talking about CASH? Keeping a keen eye on cash flow goes hand-in-hand with creating a meaningful budget for your organization. [Shameless plug, check out our blog post on How to Create a Fairly Meaningful Budget for 2021]
Our CEO, Chantal Sheehan, at Blue Fox recently spoke on the topic of how cash is king at Nonprofit Hub’s Cause Camp conference in October. Her urgent advice to nonprofits is to pay special attention to cash flow specifically during this economic downturn in order to survive. Why?
A cash flow forecast is a projection that shows the strength of your cash position over time. Because a projection like this shows you where you’re going to be in 6, 9, 12, or 24 months from a pure cash standpoint, we feel it’s a nonnegotiable tool.
So what does a cash flow forecast look like? The good news is that they aren’t that hard to build most of the time!
We typically build our forecasts out in a spreadsheet. Rows detail cash inflows and outflows, and columns list out each month in the period you’re forecasting.
So imagine: your current cash position (i.e. balances of all your cash/bank accounts) is at the very top. Then cash inflows (revenue, receipts from invoices, investment income, etc) follow. Finally, your outflows (i.e. expenses, debt payments, capital purchases) are listed at the bottom.
For example, say you start with $100,000 in the bank, then you make $50,000 in Month 1, while you spend $25,000 in the same t month. Your cash position at the end of Month 1 would = $125,000. ($100,000 + $50,000 - $25,000)
So your cash flow forecast shows you where you started, what money you took in and what went out. This type of projection is extremely useful when built out for 12 months or longer.
Pro tip: The most financially stable and sustainable organizations pay attention to cash flow because they know it affects everything from their events to payroll..
Now that we’ve covered the importance of cash flow, we're going to dive deeper in our part 2 of this series and cover 12 ways to steward your organization’s position during tough times.
In the mean time, if you’re looking to dive deeper into planning your 2021 budget and cash flow, our friendly team at Blue Fox is here to help! Give us a call at (321) 233-3311 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org. We’ll get you sorted! Then you can focus on what really matters: your mission and serving your community.
You can also schedule a free budget consultation: https://calendly.com/chat-with-chantal
As you read, remember that our team at Blue Fox is happy to answer questions, provide assistance with PPP applications and forgiveness, and help your organization navigate the pandemic’s financial challenges.
On December 21st, the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives passed the $900 billion COVID-19 relief bill: Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2021. [Warning: it’s 5,593 pages… speed readers only!]
So, what does it mean for you?
Here is a brief recap of the key takeaways, as summarized by the Journal of Accountancy. (Yes, we summarized a summary, just for you.)
Key takeaways for individuals and self-employed:
Key takeaways for small business, nonprofits, not-for-profits:
The new COVID-19 relief bill also:
For more details read: COVID-19 relief bill addresses key PPP issues by Journal of Accountancy or visit U.S. Small Business Association PPP Resource Page.
Or, Just Ask Blue Fox For Help!
Our team is happy to answer questions, provide assistance with PPP applications and forgiveness, and help your organization navigate the pandemic’s financial challenges. Give us a call at (321) 233-3311, schedule a phone call, or email email@example.com.
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!
Why Outsource Your Nonprofit Accounting to Blue Fox? Ask One of Our Newest Client
Client CASE STUDY: One of The Most Financially Sustainable Nonprofit Orgs We Know
Blue Fox + Bill.com = Clean Audits & Happy Clients
What Fuels Financial Sustainability?
The Magical Nonprofit Financial Ratio Matrix
Dear COVID-19, I'm Breaking Up With You
The Latest COVID-19 Resources for Nonprofits
10 Reasons to Outsource Your Nonprofit Accounting
6 Step Guide To Build Donor Trust
Our Favorite Resources for Nonprofit Fundraisers
3 Vital Resources for Nonprofit Start-ups
2020 Nonprofit Trend: The Virtual CFO
How to Make Your Nonprofit Recession-Proof
What Nonprofits Need to Know About the New Overtime Ruling
Double-entry Accounting Made Easy - Essential Desktop Guide, Free Download
Blue Fox CEO Named
As Keynote Speaker for Nonprofit Hub's Cause Camp 2020
5 Steps to Solving Complex Workflow Problems
The Hidden Cost of Wearing Too Many Hats
The Key to Workplace Success - Investments in Professional Development
Accounts Payable Made Easy - The Marriage of Bill.com and QuickBooks Online
Nonprofits - It's Time to Automate Your Back Office
How to Engage Your Board of Directors in Financial Conversations
How to Join the Social Enterprise Movement
Kindness Leads to More Profit & Productivity
Don’t Ignore This Nonprofit Management Advice
Building Blocks for A More Just, Equitable, and Inclusive Work Environment
QB Tip of the Month: How to Use Classes for Painless Grant Writing
Nonprofit Leaders - Talk Finance and Empower Your Staff
When to Hire An Accountant for Your Social Impact Org
Why Outsource Your Accounting?
That Time I Went to Cause Camp
Impact Investments in Yourself
Are You Paying Too Much for Payroll?
Financial Dashboards - Capture Attention, Create Conversations, Drive Results!
Don't Let FinTech Scare You - Our Top 4 Back Office Tech
The Wonderful World of Micro-Donating!
The Case for Kindness in Business
How Nonprofits Build Donor Trust: Be Transparent
5 New Year’s Resolutions for Sustainable Nonprofits
Why We’re on a Mission to Help Conservation Organizations
Money Matters - So Why Aren’t More Nonprofits Talking About It?
Tips to Get You A Clean Audit Every Year
Blue Fox Teams Up With Bloomerang to Develop Nonprofit Resources
Blue Fox Earns Better Business Bureau Accreditation
Blue Fox Launches Protected By Logo
Blue Fox - The Origin Story