CPAs Building Better Boards Program Can Strengthen Nonprofit Organizations

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For Immediate Release
May 15, 2008

Contact:
Jan Dobson, CAE, Sr. Dir. of Communications & Marketing
Florida Institute of CPAs
Phone (850) 224-2727, Ext. 380
E-Mail dobsonj@ficpa.org / www.ficpa.org

CPAs Building Better Boards Program
Can Strengthen Nonprofit Organizations

Successfully managing a nonprofit’s finances is more than just putting coins in a coffee can, and having a certified public accountant as a member of the board of directors can bring valuable financial expertise to an organization.

That’s one reason the Florida Institute of CPAs launched its CPAs Building Better Boards program. Designed to match nonprofit organizations with CPAs willing to serve, the FICPA also hopes CPAs Building Better Boards will help narrow the gap in Florida volunteerism. A recent report by the Corporation for National and Community Service shows Florida significantly trails in volunteerism compared to Midwestern states.

The report provides a snapshot of volunteerism for 50 major metropolitan areas: Tampa, Orlando and Miami made the list, but ranked 36th, 45th and 49th, respectively. Top cities for volunteerism include Minneapolis, Salt Lake City and Austin.

In addition to providing a registry of organizations, CPAs Building Better Boards offers CPAs an intensive, eight-hour course to give them the knowledge they need to be highly effective board members.

“CPAs have a solid understanding of internal accounting procedures,” said Jeff Young, a member of the FICPA Not-for-Profit Task Force and CFO of the Diabetes Research Institute Foundation. “They also have good, strong business knowledge.”

Among the positions a CPA could serve a nonprofit organization are as board member, treasurer, and/or as a member of the audit or budget committee.

Made possible through a generous grant from the Edyth Bush Charitable Foundation to the FICPA Educational Foundation, CPAs Building Better Boards should:

  • increase the number of CPAs serving on not-for-profit boards;
  • ensure CPAs serving are knowledgeable and skilled to carry out their overall responsibilities as board members;
    and
  • create a channel to link not-for-profit organizations with CPAs who are willing to serve.

For its training course, the FICPA partnered with Rollins College Philanthropy and Nonprofit Leadership Center. The daylong course addresses topics such as board members’ legal and ethical responsibilities; trends affecting nonprofit boards, fundraising strategies; guidelines a CPA can use to select the right board opportunity; and board responsibilities related to financial oversight, budgeting, financial reporting and investment considerations.

“As CPAs, we deal with accounting issues, audits and tax matters, but to be effective board members, we also need to understand not-for-profit obligations from a more global perspective,” FICPA President David L. Dennis said. “The FICPA program is a great addition, helping us train our members and other CPAs to be involved in their communities.”
FICPA Past President Beryl H. “Berri” Davis, who initiated the program in 2006, believes in giving back and feels CPAs bring solid and unique skills to boards.

“I provide strong analytical skills and thoughtful business decisions to the organizations I serve,” said Davis, who has served in leadership positions with her homeowners association, Goodwill Industries of Central Florida, the Central Florida Kidney Center and the Ivanhoe Foundation.

“I believe I gain more than I give.  Providing service to my community’s not-for-profits has helped me learn about different business models and given me valuable experience working with people of different backgrounds and skill sets.  Plus, there is the wonderful feeling that I am giving something back to my community.”

To volunteer through CPAs Building Better Boards, or to list your nonprofit organization in the registry, visit //ficpa/Visitors/Public/NFP, or call FICPA’s member service center at (800) 342-3197 (in Florida), or (850) 224-2727 (outside Florida).

Founded in 1905, the Florida Institute of CPAs is a Tallahassee-based, statewide, professional association representing member-CPAs throughout Florida. With a membership of more than 19,000 CPAs, the Institute’s mission is to serve the diverse needs of its members; enhance their competency and professionalism; support professional standards; promote the value of our members; and advocate on behalf of the profession. For complete information about the FICPA, visit www.ficpa.org.


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For more information contact:
Jan Dobson, CAE, Sr. Dir. of Communications & Marketing
Florida Institute of CPAs
Phone (850) 224-2727, Ext. 380
E-Mail dobsonj@ficpa.org / www.ficpa.org

LAST UPDATED 5/28/2008