Author Archives: Aronson LLC

About Aronson LLC

Aronson LLC has been thinking ahead for its clients for more than 50 years. Aronson’s construction, real estate, government contracting, nonprofit, technology and private industry experts provide innovative audit, tax, and consulting services that help its clients move to the next level. From start-up to exit strategy, Aronson works with companies throughout the entire business lifecycle by proactively identifying opportunities and addressing challenges so that clients are able to focus on their core business. Aronson shows companies how to rethink everything to be more profitable, more competitive and better prepared for the future.

Aronson LLC

Aronson LLC Welcomes Nonprofit Partner Greg Plotts

We are thrilled to share that the Aronson Nonprofit Report has a new author! Greg Plotts has joined the firm as a partner in the Nonprofit & Association Industry Services Group, effective June 27, 2016.

Greg is a skilled audit partner with nearly 20 years of industry experience. His areas of service and expertise include financial statement assurance and consulting for clients that include associations, foundations, healthcare entities, and other nonprofit organizations. Prior to joining Aronson, Greg served as a partner at a regional accounting firm based in Virginia and a manager at a “Big 4” accounting firm.

Greg commented on his new role, “I am thrilled for the opportunity to join Aronson and the thriving nonprofit practice in particular. I am passionate about helping organizations achieve their short- and long-term objectives by partnering with them to implement strategic initiatives. I look forward to joining the team, building new relationships, and making a real impact on our nonprofit clients.”

To welcome Greg, we encourage you to connect on his LinkedIn page or give him a call at 301.231.6200. As always, Aronson partners Rob Eby and Craig Stevens are also available to discuss all of your nonprofit accounting needs! Additionally, be on the lookout for blog articles from Greg in the coming weeks.

Rethinking Software for Nonprofits and Associations

Technology plays a vital role in the success of any nonprofit organization, helping to increase constituent reach, improving satisfaction and generating value for an organization and its member base. Nonprofits and associations that engage in technological revolution have achieved brand value and constituent loyalty that mirrors their for-profit counterparts.

Based on a study by the Harvard Business School, International Business Times recently suggested that the most prominent management trends of the 21st century are:

  1. Globalization
  2. Technology
  3. Sustainability and corporate social responsibility
  4. The study of psychology
  5. Business ecosystems

All these trends affect the others in way or another. For example, let’s consider globalization. International business and trade has improved the lives of people around the globe, facilitating a more accessible marketplace and more informed consumers. But, how does any organization address globalization when, for instance, their management team in the US needs to relay information to workers or volunteers in other countries? The answer is both simple and crucial: technology. Globalization is the change, whereas technology is the facilitator.

In an article published in McKinsey Quarterly, the authors emphasize the importance of keeping up with technological development.  Today, software is everywhere: in our phones, computers, and televisions, in our glasses and on our wrists. Yet, many nonprofits undervalue software development and usage, handing it down to lower level managers who may not be well-equipped with the knowledge to create a feasible and fruitful plan.

As the world’s economy continues to shift from atoms to bytes (i.e., physical goods to digital goods), software plays a big role in business success. The use of software has increased output and reach, while improving cost-efficiency.  Look, for example, at the finance and accounting industries, where IT has revolutionized the methods for performing audits and controlling the stock markets. Most of the processes and procedures that organizations adhere to each day are governed by software, enabling employees to work collaboratively and efficiently across the globe.

There are many considerations when developing a smart software plan for your organization, including how you choose people to work on your strategy. It’s likely that your younger employees may be better equipped to navigate the complexities or the modern technological landscape and it makes sense to include them in these conversations, even if they aren’t at management level. Additionally, it’s critical that you get feedback from all areas of your organization so that you have a comprehensive picture of your needs and wants. Not only does this lead to innovation and collaboration, but also to diversity of ideas while still focusing of the needs of the whole organization. Incorporating information about the needs, demands, and the feedback of your member/constituent base will also improve the software selection process and the end product.

Call Aronson LLC’s Nonprofit & Association Industry Services Group at 301.231.6200 for more information on ways that you can improve your operations to achieve your mission.

 

Related: Your Top 5 Nonprofit Fundraising and Crowdsourcing Questions Answered

 

The America Gives More Act: There Ain’t No Such Thing as a Free Lunch

america gives more actThe America Gives More Act, which was passed by the House on a 279-137 vote, seeks to make permanent tax breaks related to food inventories, land donations and gifts to charitable organizations. The legislation would also take the confusion out of the foundation excise tax by setting the tax at 1 percent across the board, rather than making it dependent upon the amount paid in grants (as it stands now).

These provisions are part of a set of “tax extenders” that would have to be renewed each year, a scenario that nurtures uncertainty and ambiguity for many donors. Current tax extenders include tax breaks on such items as:

  • Food
  • Land donations
  • Gifts made from Individual Retirement Accounts (IRAs)

Many nonprofit organizations are frustrated with the lack of progress on this issue and, in a recent letter to Congress, complained that the impermanence of these changes make it less attractive for individuals to donate and are resulting in the loss of a considerable amount of donor money.

Many organizations have cheered efforts to make these tax breaks permanent, but they may face an uphill battle from the White House for the same reason that the Senate declined to pass the legislation last summer.

As part of the bill, people 70 years of age and above are allowed to deduct up to $100,000 in charitable donations from their retirement accounts, lowering their taxable income and reducing their tax burden. Hence, many organizations have supported making tax breaks permanent. These organizations include Council on Foundations, Feeding America, Independent Sector, the Jewish Federations, and The United Way Worldwide. The legislation is not without its detractors, however.

Democratic leaders and some nonprofits believe that these programs represent “tax breaks that primarily benefit higher income individuals” and add to the deficit without budget offsets. The President, himself, opposes the bill since there are no countermeasures proposed to counterweight the loss in revenue or to decrease spending. The Congressional Budget Office estimated the loss in revenue to be $14.2 billion. Chances are that President Obama might veto the bill as a result.

The question persists: do these tax breaks serve as a way for the wealthy to avoid taxes by donating to false nonprofit organizations and causes? Time will tell whether or not these tax breaks have the support necessary to become permanent.

For more information on business topics affecting nonprofit organizations, contact Aronson’s Nonprofit & Association Industry Services Group or Sadia Tariq at 301.231.6200.

Mission Statement or Mission Story?

missionMission statements are considered a necessary component of any nonprofit operation, not just a start-up organization. How often have you come across a mission statement that leaves you wondering what it meant? All organizations want an inspiring, detailed and informational mission statement, but does a lengthy mission statement with a dozen buzzwords convey the point efficiently? A clear and concise mission statement is as vital for an organization as its marketing plan or financial budget.

Verbose, lengthy, and intricate mission statements not only conceal  true meaning, but also hinder the community’s awareness of the organization. Just like solid business, marketing and financial plans are required to achieve success and steady growth of an organization, a clear, concise and relevant mission statement is necessary for the sustainability of the organization. It can aid in increasing market share, raising community awareness, or simply informing constituents of the organization’s goals.

Ideally, a mission statement should not be longer than two to three sentences, and must be actionable and quantifiable.  A good mission statement uses inclusive language. It has to describe the following aspects of the organization in layman’s terms:

  • The organization
  • The products or outputs
  • Their nature and quality
  • The key clients or target population
  • The vision of the organization going forward

The major don’ts:

  • Avoid excessive use of buzzwords and superlatives.
  • Shorten and clarify long and complex sentences.
  • Own your statement. Don’t hire a writer.

The mission statement of Liberty’s Promise demonstrates the art of writing mission statements quite remarkably. The statement explains what the organization does, how it is done, and what impacts it has on the community.

 “Liberty’s Promise works to sustain and support young immigrants while encouraging them to be active and conscientious American citizens. Our programs of direct assistance and research aim to make the immigrant experience an affirmative one for young newcomers while instilling in them a sense of pride and support for American ideals of democracy and freedom. By doing so, Liberty’s Promise seeks to reaffirm our fundamental egalitarian and democratic traditions for future generations.”

Believe in your organization’s mission statement. Make sure the employees agree with the statement, and the values emphasized in it. State your cause, the actions you are taking for it, and the difference they are making. A few sentences alone will bear no significance if they are not backed by belief, enthusiasm and hard work.

For more information on business topics affecting nonprofit organizations, contact Aronson’s Nonprofit & Association Industry Services Group or Sadia Tariq at 301.231.6200.

Aronson LLC Acquires Deltek’s Washington Management Group

Aronson Acquires Washington Management Group
Acquisition positions Aronson as the Leading GSA Schedule Consulting Practice in the Nation

Aronson LLC, a nationally ranked top 100 accounting and consulting firm today announced that it has acquired the GSA Schedule consulting business of Deltek’s Washington Management Group (WMG). This acquisition positions Aronson as the leading full service GSA Schedule consulting practice in the nation.

An official Deltek partner since 2002, Aronson’s Government Contract Services Group provides a full range of accounting and business solutions for government contractors, including Deltek implementations, financial and contract compliance, business system adequacy and Cognizant/OIG audit support.

Jeff Capron, Aronson’s managing partner, commented on the transaction, “The acquisition strengthens the longstanding partnership between Aronson and Deltek. It allows both companies to focus on their core capabilities in the government contracting market and continue to provide unparalleled service to clients.”

Aronson’s GSA Schedule practice is led by Hope Lane, a partner with more than 20 years of experience in the industry. Aronson serves a wide range of clients, from small contractors to Fortune 500 companies across the country, and provides a complete range of support that includes identifying, obtaining and maintaining GSA Schedule contracts, as well as resolving complex compliance issues.

The WMG business, which was acquired by Deltek in 2011, has more than 30 years of experience in contract management, risk management, contract compliance, advisory and consulting for government contractors.

This transaction will accomplish several key objectives:

  • Offer WMG clients access to expanded service capabilities to solve their most challenging business issues
  • Expand and extend Aronson’s team of government contract experts
  • Further position Aronson as a full service solutions provider to companies that do business with the federal government
  • Heightened collaboration with GSA, resulting from more frequent interaction

 

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