OUR THOUGHTS ON:

Postcard from the 2017 AICPA Not-For-Profit Conference

Higher Education|Not-for-Profit

By Lauren Weddell

Approximately 1,200 accounting professionals converged on National Harbor in Washington, D.C. for the 2017 annual AICPA Not-for-Profit Conference for three days of continuing education on hot topics in the industry.   Unsurprisingly, there was a significant focus on the not-for-profit reporting model and other recent accounting pronouncements, feedback from year one of Uniform Guidance and various tax matters. 

The conference kicked off with a fascinating and entertaining presentation on millennials in the workplace and how to interact with them.   Jason Dorsey, cofounder of the Center for Generational Kinetics, noted that, based on the Center’s research, millennials on average are five years older than prior generations when they are first entering the workforce, and despite common misconceptions that most millennials are unemployed, they are the number-one employed generation in today’s workforce.  As a result, millennials have money and are willing to spend it; however, they also have the least-established loyalty to not-for-profits.   This means that they won’t donate just because of a name, because their parents donated to a specific charity or even because they previously donated.   Millennials give differently, and much of that is based on supporting a cause and based upon social media.  

There was also significant interest in the new liquidity and availability of resources disclosures that will be required in the not-for-profit reporting model.  A trio of speakers representing the AICPA, a CPA firm and a larger nonprofit described the requirements and starting points for implementation.   Throughout the presentation, they highlighted the flexibility that the new standards provide, explained that there can be two or three different starting points to many of the disclosures, and stressed that organizations need to be discussing implementation now.   There were three key takeaways that they provided: (1) this is serious and it’s the first big change in 25 years; (2) use this opportunity to tell your organization’s story; and (3) avoid jumping down rabbit holes and making the disclosures more difficult than they need to be.   The not-for-profit reporting model is effective for fiscal years ended December 31, 2018 and June 30, 2019, so it will be here before we know it.

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