Postcard from the 2014 PICPA Not-for-Profit Conference


By Jenna Zelenski

I had the opportunity to attend the 2014 PICPA Not-for-Profit Conference June 2-3, 2014 in Harrisburg, PA.  A mix of certified public accountants and finance staff from various types and sizes of not-for-profit organizations were present.

The conference was kicked off by Peggy Morrison Outon, Executive Director of the Bayer Center for Nonprofit Management at Robert Morris University, who gave an update on the state of the not-for-profit sector in Pennsylvania.  The remaining sessions on day one covered a wide range of topics, from a technical Financial Accounting Standards Board update, to a discussion regarding fraud risks within the not-for-profit sector, to a discussion on fundraising in the digital age.  Day two’s offerings included discussions on fiscal sustainability and governance best practices, to a presentation on common financial statement mistakes, and closing with the Pennsylvania Attorney General’s outlook on not-for-profits.

Overall, I thought that the conference provided a good assortment of topics for the combination of professionals in attendance.  I learned that there is not much of a change since last year from a financial reporting standpoint, yet there has been a lot of discussion on the significant changes that will be coming in a few short years that will impact all not-for-profit organizations.  Also, the guidance within the new OMB Circular, or “Super Circular” will be implemented on December 26, 2014, and any federal awards received by organizations on or after that date will need to follow the new guidance.  Furthermore, there are many strategies that not-for-profit organizations may utilize pertaining to fiscal sustainability.  Of the 2.3M not-for-profit organizations in the United States, more than 63,000 are in Pennsylvania.  Therefore, I hope that everyone left the conference with additional insight as we all continue to serve the Pennsylvania not-for-profit community.

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