What should be included in a non-profit annual report?

What is included in a non-profit annual report?

Compelling annual reports from non-profits can highlight the journey, mission, impact, and goals achieved during the year. It is usually sent to the donor base as well as stakeholders. Annual reports give stakeholders and donors information on what the non-profit has been doing in the last year. This increases the non-profit’s levels of accountability, transparency, and trustworthiness. Georgen Scarborough, experts in tax and financial consulting services, can tell you here what should be included in a non-profit’s annual report.

More and more non-profit organizations are going paperless with digital annual reports while some older, more traditional ones still prefer hard copies that can be felt and held by their donors. However, the two main questions to ask yourself before embarking upon the development of an annual report are:

  1.     Who is the audience you are targeting?
  2.     What information do you want to convey?

Georgen Scarborough recommends including the following to build a comprehensive, well-round annual report:

Mission and vision

Begin your annual report by structuring the values and purpose of your non-profit into a concise and clear statement. This is the non-profit’s mission statement. The missions statement provides supporters, donors and stakeholders with firsthand information on your objectives before delving into more comprehensive data.

Achievements

The main focus of the annual report should be on the accomplishments of the last 12 months. This includes the events, the number of volunteers engaged, breakdown of projects, and the like. Using statistics and visual representation of these figures can be a powerful way to showcase your achievements.

Financial statement

It is important to tell your donors and supporters how their money is being used for a good cause. Be transparent and honest about your organization’s finances, which can enhance trustworthiness too. A comprehensive representation of the organization’s expenses can encourage supporters to donate more, especially if they feel you have handled the donations responsibly and effectively.

Contributions

It is necessary to show your gratitude by highlighting the major contributors, supporters, board members, and hardworking staff members. These are who have helped accomplish all you have done in the last 12 months. You can also end the annual report with a list of donors, irrespective of how much they have contributed in cash or in-kind, to thank them.

For more information on how to create an effective and donor-centric annual report for your non-profit, contact Georgen Scarborough today.

3 Key Skills to Look for in an Accountant

1-3 Key Skills to Look for in an Accountant

Your accountant is going to know every little detail about your finances – a topic that is considered taboo in polite society! How on earth do you choose someone who you need to trust with your short and long-term goals, your legacy, your compliance with tax legislation, your business’s financial performance, and more?

Being in this business has taught us that there are three major skills a great accountant has:

1. CPAs Know the Accounting Basics

This seems too obvious to state, but the accountant must know the basic principles of the profession. A great example is the matching principle. This principle states that the related revenues and expenses must be matched in the same period to link the costs of an asset or revenue to its benefits.

Another is the convention of conservatism, or doctrine of prudence. This is a policy of anticipating possible future losses but not future gains. It states that when choosing between two solutions, the accountant should select the one that will be least likely to overstate assets and income.

2. CPAs Know Tax Regulations Backwards and Forwards

There’s no quicker way for a business to fall on hard times than to run afoul of tax regulations. Tax laws differ from state to state and so it is critical that your accountant is entirely familiar with the tax legislation that is in effect where your business is registered and derives most of its income.

Not only will this keep you out of trouble, but it could also be to your company’s benefit as there may be credits and other advantages of which you are unaware. A good accountant will have a thorough knowledge of the best business practices for your field to ensure tax optimization.

Certified public accountants are as well-versed in tax regulations and loopholes for individuals’ needs.

3. CPAs Provide Customer Service

The old stereotype of an accountant has long ceased to exist in real life. Gone are the days of colorless old men entering numbers into huge books with their sharp pencils. The world of accounting has become exciting and has attracted bright and interesting professionals.

Your accountant needs to interface with the Board of your business and understand the work that you do as well as the people that you are. They also need to understand your goals and the legacy you would like to leave. The financial side of your life should be a joy and not a grudge.

Certified Public Accountants

Discover what superior accounting professionals can do for your business. Contact Georgen Scarborough Associates, PC to help you navigate your personal and business finances.

The financial intelligence gained with management accounting

1-The Financial Intelligence Gained with Management Accounting

Any business, big or small, benefits from management accounting. The largest benefit is the resultant financial intelligence that comes with it. Management accounting is not just about day-to-day reporting and tallying of numbers, but financial intelligence. The financial intelligence gained with management accounting allows businesses to forecast and make long-term business decisions for the maximization of profits.

Thus, as a business owner, management accounting offers data-driven reports that offer an insight into your strengths, weaknesses, and trends. Therefore, this can help make better decisions for the next fiscal year. Georgen Scarborough explains the benefits of management accounting and financial intelligence.

The financial intelligence gained with management accounting

With management accounting techniques, business owners and CEOs can analyze relevant costs. After which, sound financial decisions can be taken that are beneficial to the business. Financial intelligence offers the bigger picture. This discerns areas that are profitable and those that are weak. With this financial intelligence, business owners can make improvements and changes, accordingly.

How does management accounting help

Through weekly or daily management accounting, business owners can analyze their cash flow forecast. You can even predict problems before they take place. This kind of financial intelligence allows business owners to stay on top of their financial operations at all times.

Management accounting follows a scientific system to compare and evaluate business performance. Therefore, it can be utilized to control cash flow and to keep a check on the misuse of money.

Other benefits of management accounting include:

  • Conflict resolution between employees and the business
  • Improved project delivery, and
  • Effective decision-making.

Are you a business based in Virginia, Maryland, or the District of Columbia that is looking to increase its revenue? Then, try using management accounting. Contact Georgen Scarborough, experts in management and financial reporting, for more information on financial intelligence through management accounting today!

5 tips for a successful bookkeeping experience with your accountant

1-5 Tips For A Successful Bookkeeping Experience With Your Accountant

As a business owner, outsourcing your bookkeeping and accounting can be a stressful experience. But most times, it helps to know that those working at an outsourced accounting service are highly qualified. Their skills in business finance can make the process a little less daunting. More often than not, business owners benefit from seeking a successful bookkeeping experience with their accountant. However, it is not enough to hand over your books and expect priority service and enhanced collaboration. It is imperative that you work towards building a positive relationship with your outsourced bookkeeper for the most out of this association. Georgen Scarborough provides the following five tips for a successful bookkeeping experience with your accountant. Use them to maintain and enhance your outsourced bookkeeping relationship.

Define your needs for a successful bookkeeping experience

Before delving into an outsourced accounting service, it is essential to clearly define your business needs and expectations. Share your company goals, aspirations, and processes. This ensures you and your outsourced bookkeeper are in clear alignment to make the best possible business decisions.

It is also important to be truthful and transparent with the state of your overall finances and accounting. As keeping your outsourced bookkeeper in the dark can lead to losses and disastrous consequences in the long run. It may also be beneficial to hire or appoint an employee at your business to liaise with the outsourced bookkeeper. Then, you can know who would be the one to provide timely information when required.

Smoothing out processes with your accountant

Establish how the financial operations of your business are conducted. This depends greatly on the available resources and the expertise of the in-house team. Therefore, the duties and obligations of the outsourced accounting team must be clearly put down on paper and their performance must be reviewed every two years.

Other non-technical aspects that must be defined are communication and responsiveness of the virtual bookkeeping team. Establish a preferred mode of communication for quicker reaction times. This can be Skype, email, or other channels.

Finally, as a business owner, you must develop key performance indicators to measure the effectiveness and accuracy of the outsourced accounting team.

Seamless transfer of information

Transferring financial data through email can compromise security in a business environment. That is why Georgen Scarborough recommends using secure channels for quick and efficient transmission of sensitive documents. For an easy and effective paperless transfer of financial information, use QuickBooks.

Keep an eye on your financials

After handing over the financial operations of your business to an outsourced bookkeeping service, you, as a business owner or manager, cannot stand back and leave the responsibility to them. Review the financial and management reports at regular intervals to gain an insight into your financial and business performance. This can be an excellent method to avoid cash flow problems by ensuring all recorded numbers in the reports add up and there are no discrepancies.

Strategic decisions

Find an outsourced bookkeeping service using powerful accounting software. This helps you make data-driven business decisions. The idea of management accounting is being led by outsourced accounting services across the globe. Management accounting allows for financial intelligence. This intelligence gives you insights into how to improve cash flow and recognize weaknesses in your financial operations. This intelligent data allows you to maximize profits in the next fiscal year and identify financial issues.

In conclusion, sound financial management comes by collaborating with outsourced bookkeeping and accounting firms. For more information on outsourced bookkeeping and accounting, contact Georgen Scarborough, providers of quality Financial and Accounting Goverment Contractors assistance in Virginia, Maryland, and District of Columbia.

How financial statements can be helpful in decision making

2-financial statements make future decisions on the basis of accurate data

Financial accounting and financial statements are a vital part of a company’s operations. Financial statements can be helpful in decision-making on the basis of making good decisions on accurate data. Properly kept and presented financial records allow companies and outside parties to get a complete picture of the organization’s financial health. Financial statements inform decision-making in the following ways. 

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Choose the right QuickBooks version for your business

2-QUICKBOOKS which version is right for you_

The QuickBooks accounting software package helps small and medium businesses run their affairs smoothly. It does this with easy transacting, reporting, tracking, and invoicing. Learn about how to choose the right QuickBooks version for your business. Georgen Scarborough, the leading certified public accountants in Virginia, Maryland, and District of Columbia, outline the various packages suitable for your business needs.

QuickBooks Online or Pro?

Choosing the right QuickBooks software version can help you run your business more efficiently. QuickBooks Online is less expensive than the desktop version as the subscription package. Plus, the Online version includes the updates that run automatically. Another advantage of the online version is that it is easily accessible as it works on other devices. This includes mobile phones. However, Georgen Scarborough recommends buying a low-tier version of QuickBooks Online initially and then upgrading it according to business needs.

The QuickBooks Pro (desktop) version includes additional costs without the added functionalities. This version is recommended for businesses that have strict compliance requirements and do not allow employees to use online software.

QuickBooks Online plans

As mentioned earlier, the QuickBooks Online version is more popular than the desktop version as it is less expensive. Nor does it tie the user down to a contract. For freelancers and independent contractors, QuickBooks also offers several flexible QuickBooks Self-Employed plans.

QuickBooks Self-Employed

The first-tier plan in this version, QuickBooks Self-Employed gives you the ability to track expenses and mileage, estimate your taxes (quarterly) and send invoices from anywhere.

QuickBooks Self-Employed Tax Bundle

With this plan, you enjoy all the benefits of the Self-Employed package. It also includes an additional account that allows you to transfer your tax information to TurboTax. This, in turn, includes the fees for a federal and state return.

QuickBooks Self-Employed Live Tax Bundle

The highest tier of this plan, the QuickBooks Self-Employed Live Tax Bundle includes all the features of the previous packages. It also offers unlimited advice from a qualified CPA who can also conduct a final review of your tax returns.

QuickBooks Online Tiers

QuickBooks Simple Start

This version is recommended for a single user and thus, cannot be used if you have employees. With this package, you can track income, expenses, sales, sales tax, and maximize tax deductions.

QuickBooks Essentials

This version includes additional functionalities. Functionalities include tracking payment statuses and simultaneous payment of multiple vendors. It is suitable for three users.

QuickBooks Plus

The most popular version, QuickBooks Plus includes all the benefits of Simple Start and Essential. Additionally, it allows you to track inventory and project profitability. It is suitable for five users.

QuickBooks Advanced

Lastly, QuickBooks Advanced includes a dedicated account manager and the ability to send and import multiple batch invoices. This enterprise-level version is suitable for 25 users.

We hope this blog will help you choose the right QuickBooks version for your business. Contact Georgen Scarborough, providers of quality financial and accounting assistance, for more information on how QuickBooks can help your business flourish.

Reasons you need a CPA to do your taxes

1-Why You Need a CPA To Do Your Taxes

Filing your taxes can be stressful, especially if your tax return is any more complex than a standard individual W-2. Getting a CPA to do your taxes, rather than doing it yourself, can save you a lot of hassle and possibly some money. Here are five reasons why you may want to hire a certified public account to take your tax filing burden off your shoulders.

1. You have a small business or additional income streams

If you run a small business, you may not be aware of the numerous tax write-offs you can claim to save you money. If you have a side hustle or are working in the gig economy with several income streams, your return becomes a lot more complicated, but a professional can help you complete it without too much fuss.

2. The IRS asks for specific information

Many people find it very stressful if the IRS reaches out to them to ask for substantiation of income or expenses or other documentation. If you get a professional tax practitioner on your side, you can eliminate this stress. They will know how to deal with the IRS and help you comply.

3. You’re self-directing your retirement

If you have other investments to fund your retirement, aside from your 401k, that’s called self-directing. Filing for personal investments such as cryptocurrency or real estate can get a little tricky for the layperson. That’s why you may need a CPA to do the filing for you.

4. You have a rental property

If you are earning income by charging rent on one or more of your properties, you should seek the advice of a tax practitioner to see where you can make deductions.

5. You want to send your children to college

If you are planning on filling out a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA), you would do well to seek out the help of a CPA. Unwanted assets or income in your child’s name could adversely affect the application, even if it works from a tax planning perspective. Let a professional help to make the right adjustments in this regard.

Georgen Scarborough CPAs is based in Vienna, Virginia. Contact us to find out how we can make your tax filing much easier.

How Financial Statements help you plan for 2021

financial statements

Creating financial statements can seem tedious and complicated, but preparing these documents is a vital part of planning for the year ahead. Financial statements make up a large part of the projections and planning for your business’s future and can give you strategic guidance on crucial changes to make to ensure sustained success. 

How financial statements can help you plan for the year ahead 

While you are preparing your financial statements, you will become more aware of the status of your business’ finances, the progress you are making towards your goals, and will give you a clear view of any issues you might face down the road. 

Financial status overview 

Keeping close tabs on the financial status of your business is a must. The financial statements offer a summary of your business’s financial position. They can provide you with the information you need to help you set goals and understand where you might need to change your budget. If you regularly work through your financial statements, you will pick up any issues at an early stage, and you can make small changes before the finances go off the rails. 

Relating business goals into specific business targets 

The financial status overview is a powerful tool to help you create specific targets that will drive your business strategy towards achieving the goals you have set out for any given year. The adage goes that failing to plan means planning to fail, and it holds true in a business context. 

Measured targets will help to keep your business on track and will provide employees with structured outcomes to work towards. By creating specific targets, you can practically set out a roadmap that will lead your business to its goals, instead of making decisions on the fly without proper planning to back up actions. Through specific targets, you will be able to create a sustainable pace for the business while leaving room for direction changes necessitated by external factors that influence the business strategy. 

Measuring progress

Your financial statements contribute to most planning and strategic decisions and can help you measure the progress within your set of goals. If you have carefully set out specific business targets, the progress measurement process will be easier to manage. The business’s financial statements can give you a higher-level overview of the progress, even if you do not measure specific targets. When comparing the financial statements across several years, you can track how the business is progressing towards its goals on a year-by-year basis, giving you valuable insights into the overall development of the company. 

Identifying potential issues 

When you study the financial statements for the previous years, you can compare the financial situation to your business forecast to see if you might run into problems relating to cash flow and inventory, among others. It is especially important to use your financial statements when planning the goals you want to achieve in the business to identify shortfalls and plan out budgets to cover the activities you plan to undertake for the following year. 

If you need assistance from our accounting service experts on your financial statements, taxes, and other financial planning activities, contact Georgen Scarborough Associates, PC, for more information. 

Five Accounting Tips for Startups

Accounting tips

Business accounting does not have to be a daunting process with these practical and straightforward accounting tips. At Georgen Scarborough Associates, PC, we have helped small businesses to get their financial statements, tax preparation, and payroll off to the best start. Here are our top accounting tips for startups:

Top accounting tips for managing a startup  

There are countless resources online with tips and plans for getting your start up’s accounting in order. Not all of these tips have been created by accounting service experts, and the wrong advice can cost you time and money and get you into a lot of trouble with the law. Here are the tips you need to keep your books in tip-top shape.

Keep business and personal finances separate

You might be tempted to put everything together in the same account and treat your business accounting like your personal accounting. Mixing the two is a quick way to create a lot of trouble in the long run. We recommend opening a dedicated business account from day one. The little bit of extra effort, in the beginning, will help you to keep everything in order and will save you a lot of frustration as your business grows.

Record expenses, income, and payments meticulously

Now that you have a dedicated business account, it will be much easier to keep a thorough record of income, expenses, and payments you make for the business. If you deal with a lot of physical paperwork, you should invest in a filing system to keep your records organized and safe. We recommend that you read up on record keeping requirements in your industry and area so that you don’t unknowingly expose sensitive information to unauthorized parties. 

Stay on top of financial matters

If your records are in order, it will be a reasonably simple task to stay on top of your finances. Remember to stay updated on regulations, legal requirements, and developments that might impact your business accounting. For business owners, this requirement is especially critical when it comes to taxes and payroll matters that affect employees.

Use professional software tools

Modern digital accounting tools can make the accounting process incredibly simple for startups. We recommend using a cloud-based accounting tool that will help you organize your accounting process and access your information anywhere. We recommend that you research a few different options and reach out to an accounting service expert before investing in a paid plan for your business. 

Hire an expert

Suppose you are unclear about your business accounting, or you don’t want to spend your time managing your accounting. In that case, we recommend reaching out to one of our accounting service experts. We have the knowledge, experience, and resources to assist you with all your business accounting needs. Our professional staff members provide a variety of services for your startup, from payroll to taxes. 

For more accounting tips or help with your startup accounting, contact Georgen Scarborough Associates, PC, in Virginia for more information. 

Four ways to improve your financial statements

Financial Statement

Financial Statements represent a formal record of the financial activities of an entity. These are written reports that quantify the financial strength, performance, and liquidity of a company. The financial statements are used by investors, market analysts, and creditors to evaluate a company’s financial health and earnings potential.

How to enhance the usefulness of your financial statements

  1. Consider the format of your financial statements. This tiny detail can make a tremendous difference. Providing investors with easy-to-read financial information in the financial statements is essential to achieving your objective of capable, confident, and well-informed investors.
  2. Make sure to include an operating and non-operating presentation. It is important to consider the effects of both operating and non-operating components of the income statement. Due to the material nature of non-operating items, they are typically reported separately from operating items in a company’s financial statements.
  3. Review peer organizations’ financial statements for best practices. A review of other organizations’ financial statements is a great place to start when updating your own.
  4. Modify your footnotes. Financial statements are easier to read and understand when you identify what information is relevant to your investors, prioritize it appropriately, and present it in a clear and simple manner. In some cases, this includes additional information that is useful for investors and, in other cases, removing information that is immaterial.

Financial statements are intended to provide investors with information that is useful for making investment decisions. These statements need to be updated annually and should be prepared in accordance with U.S. Generally Accepted Accounting Principles (GAAP)

Contact Georgen Scarborough Associates today for information on how we can help you with your financial statements.