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News & Resources publications​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​


Publication Topics

  • Accounting

    New Revenue Recognition Rules: Are You Ready?

    By Jewel CorneliusRoyer, Senior Manager and Angela Modrick, Senior II
    With the new year fast approaching, most of you should have already determined if and how your revenue streams are impacted by the new revenue recognition rules set out in FASB Revenue from Contracts with Customers (Topic 606).

    Leases are on the Move: What You Need to be Aware of Now

    ​by Janet McDaid, Senior Manager, Managed Accounting Services
    The new accounting standard on leases (Accounting Standards Update (ASU) 2016-02 – Leases) is bringing changes in the way operating leases are recorded.  In the past, operating leases only appeared as an expense in the financial statements.  Now, it is also required to show an asset related to the right to use the leased item, and a liability for the value and obligations created by the full terms of leases.

    Is Your Organization Prepared for the New Liquidity Disclosure Requirements? ASU 2016-14, Presentation of Financial Statements of Not-for-Profit Entities Changes Things for 2018

    ​By Liz Eun, Partner and Janet McDaid, Senior Manager, Managed Accounting Services
    This article is the third in a series of articles discussing ASU 2016-14, Presentation of Financial Statements of Not-for-Profit Entities.  Topics covered in this article are: Liquidity and Availability Disclosures (Qualitative and Quantitative). New liquidity disclosures will be required for not-for-profit entities (NFPs) to communicate both qualitative information on the organization’s policies for the management of its liquid financial assets in order to satisfy short term cash requirements (Section I) and to provide quantitative information about the availability of financial assets to meet short-term operating cash needs. (Section II).

    Is Your Organization on a Calendar Year? ASU 2016-14, Presentation of Financial Statements of Not-for-Profit Entities Changes Things for 2018

    ​By Jean Gilbert, parnter, Managed Accounting Services
    For fiscal years starting after December 15, 2017, not-for-profit (NFP) organizations will be required to present expenses both by function and nature. (Refer to the first article in this series for detailed information on this change.) Under ASU 2016-14 Presentation of Financial Statements of Not-for-Profit Entities guidance, net assets are no longer classified under three separate classes, but under two. This change has special implications for endowments with underwater funds. (Section I)  In addition, investment returns no longer need to be grossed up, and are listed net of expenses. (Section II) Finally, a not-for-profit may select to present either the direct or indirect statement of cash flows without completing a reconciliation for the direct method. (Section III)

    Are You Budgeting for Calendar Year 2018? ASU 2016-14, Presentation of Financial Statements of Not-for-Profit Entities Changes Things

    By Jean Gilbert, Partner, Managed Accounting Services
    ​For fiscal years starting after December 15, 2017, not-for-profit (NFP) organizations will be required to present expenses both by function and nature.  Under ASU 2016-14 Presentation of Financial Statements of Not-for-Profit Entities guidance, functional expenses may be presented in the statement of activities, the notes to the financial statements, or in a statement of functional expenses.

    Value-Added Accounting

    ​By Candace Aylward Raboff, Manager, Managed Accounting Services
    Often accounting departments are viewed by management, and even themselves, as necessary overhead to keep the books, process payroll, and handle the day-to-day necessary tasks of processing accounts payable and employee expense reports.  Some accounting groups operate in a silo, not often interacting, collaborating or supporting their organization’s program staff and management.

    One Dozen Good Reasons Why Accounting Outsourcing Is a Smart Choice

    ​By Elizabeth Eun​
    For some organizations, turning over vital business functions, such as accounting, to a third party can seem daunting. Executives need to be well informed about outsourcing arrangements and processes in order to truly recognize the value and benefits of hiring third party experts to manage day-to-day functions.

    Are Your Accounting Operations Aligned with Your Impact Mission?

    ​By Julie Jones, Partner, Raffa Managed Accounting Services
    Some nonprofit executives and board leaders get the connection between access to solid and timely financial information and mission results. Without good numbers, strategic planning, fundraising and more importantly fulfilling the organization’s mission can be futile. Leaders face two challenges: getting good numbers and understanding how good numbers and achieving organizational goals are connected.
  • Audit

    Whose Money Is It? Recording Contributions Held for Others

    By Rebecca Schorling, Senior Auditor, Raffa – Marcum’s Nonprofit Social Sector Group
    ​Winter is here, and many organizations are preparing for the rush of year-end grants and contributions. The appropriate recording of these grants and contributions will vary based on the terms of the agreements and the donors’ intentions. One instance an organization may encounter is a contribution in which a donor specifies a beneficiary.

    Opportunity Zones New Regulations Favor Investors with Less Explicit Focus on Poverty

    ​By Rich Tafel is the Director of Raffa Social Capital Advisors—Marcum
    In late October Treasury wrote out new guidelines for Opportunity Zones that cleared up some unanswered questions for investors and nonprofit’s addressing poverty.

    Cybersecurity and Benefit Plans

    ​By Flormelyn Crispino, Senior Manager, Raffa Audit and Assurance
    Cybersecurity is of rapidly growing importance to businesses, as data breaches can result in financial and reputational damage, as well as possible exposure to fines.  Cybersecurity breaches, including losses due to compromise of data and assets, make headlines daily.  According to BreachlevelIndex.com, there were about 1.9 trillion data records compromised in the first half of 2017 alone, and data breaches are happening at the rate of 122 data per second.

    Accounting for Fees Paid in a Cloud Computing Arrangement: Do You Meet the Criteria?

    ​By Stacy Wu, Senior Audit Manager
    With recent advances in information technology has come significant growth in demand for cloud computing. Cloud computing is the delivery of on-demand computing resources -- from applications to data centers -- over the internet. Examples of cloud computing arrangements include software as a service, platform as a service, infrastructure as a service and other similar hosting arrangements.

    Accounting for Fundraising Events - A Refresher

    ​By Desiree Fortuna, Senior Audit Manager, Raffa Audit and Assurance
    Spring is almost here, and most organizations are busy preparing for the fundraising season.  Fund-raising events take many forms, such as concert events, galas, fashion shows, marathons, bowling and golf tournaments, just to name a few.  These special events not only generate much-needed revenue for the organization but also raise awareness about the organization’s mission.  Some organizations have these fundraising events annually; for others, these events are incidental to the organization’s central activities and do not happen regularly.  Either way, accounting for these fundraising events can be challenging at times.

    A New Look for Nonprofits

    ​By Eric Glantz, Partner at Raffa, P.C.
    It has been more than two decades since the Financial Accounting Standards Board (FASB) has significantly overhauled the financial statement presentation of nonprofit organizations.  First and foremost, it is important to understand that most of the changes included in Accounting Standards Update (ASU) 2016-14, Not-for-Profit Entities, Topic 958: Presentation of Financial Statements of Not-for-Profit Entities, do not significantly impact the fundamental accounting utilized by nonprofits to prepare their financial statements; rather, most of the changes impact how nonprofit financial statements are being presented to the financial statement user.

    FASB Lease Accounting Standards Update: What to Expect

    ​By Caroline Judy, Audit Manager
    As part of an overall effort to increase transparency and comparability between organizations, FASB issued Accounting Standards Update (ASU) No. 2016-02, Leases (Topic 842), on February 25, 2016.  This guidance supersedes FASB ASC 840, Leases, and requires recognition of leased assets and liabilities, representing the rights and obligations created by leases with terms of more than 12 months, on the balance sheet as well as enhanced disclosure over the amount, timing and uncertainty of cash flows arising from leases.

    Can Low Audit Fees Translate to Higher Risk Exposure?

    By: Kimberly Robertson Pannell, Partner at Raffa, P.C.
    The major challenge with proposals is understanding exactly what you are getting from each bidder. The core deliverable may appear to be the same; audited financials and tax returns prepared, but how and why do proposals vary so much in pricing? And, is a lower fee really the lowest cost?  How do you compare audit fees when looking at proposals?  The easy answer is to select the lowest bid, but that makes for a pretty short and misleading article.

    Simple is Always Better: Accounting Standards Update (ASU) 2015-12 Plan Accounting

    ​By Eric Glantz, Partner at Raffa, P.C.
    Our profession is not always known for its ability to take complex accounting rules and state those rules in simple terms. Nor are we known for removing overly complex financial statement disclosures when the value of those disclosures is in question, yet that is precisely what the Financial Accounting Standards Board (FASB) accomplished with ASU 2015-12, a simplification of the Accounting Standards Codification (ASC) (commonly referred to as generally accepted accounting principles, or GAAP) for defined benefit plans (Topic 960), defined contributions plans (Topic 962) and health and welfare plans (Topic 965), collectively referred to as employee benefit plans (or EBP) for this article, and the simplification of EBP disclosures.
  • CSR

    Why CSR Is Not Just for Corporations

    By Carol Chin-Fatt, Engagement Leader and Clifford Yee, Managing Director, Raffa CSR Services
    Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) is the commitment by businesses to behave ethically and take responsibility for their effects on environmental and social well-being. While larger businesses (aka corporations) have seemingly endless resources at their disposal, do not let the name fool you  - every business, whether big or small, should have a CSR strategy.

    The ROI of CSR: Three key areas where CSR impacts your bottom line

    ​By Carol Chin-Fatt (Engagement Leader) & Clifford Yee (Managing Director) CSR Services
    Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) is the commitment a business makes to operate ethically and to help address social issues important to its stakeholders. The most impactful CSR strategies are those that authentically reflect the business’ purpose, mission and values.

    Purpose Matters in Organizations

    Any organization can – and should – create a culture of purpose as every individual has the need that their life is in service to something good and that their activities have meaning. For the organizations that can attract and retain purpose-oriented individuals as their employees, a substantially higher level of performance will be achieved on several dimensions: productivity, innovation and happiness – all ingredients for long-term success.​

    4 Tips for Building Effective Nonprofit-Corporate Partnerships

    ​By Carol Chin-Fatt (Engagement Leader) & Clifford Yee (Managing Director) CSR Services
    Historically, companies and nonprofits have approached Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) with limited expectations of the value they will realize. Many companies look to check the box with CSR: keep up with their competition to attract employees and customers and/or to meet regulatory requirements.  On the other hand, nonprofits look to CSR to provide them with critical financial resources to fund their programs.
  • Financial Services

    Why Now is the Time to Focus on Your Benefits Renewal

    By Matthew Roberts, Director of Raffa Group Benefits, Raffa Financial Services, Inc.
    Ten years ago I wrote an article with this title.  In commemoration of its 10-year anniversary, I thought I would revisit many of the questions I posed back then and to determine if they still hold up after garnering years more experience in our marketplace.  Afterwards, I will touch upon a few new ideas that should be considered in our ever-changing insurance landscape. 

    The High Cost of Avoiding Insurance Reviews

    ​By Jim Van Eperen, VP Executive Benefits and Business Succession, Raffa Financial Services, Inc.
    Every year, we make a habit of touching base with our clients that purchased their insurance through us.  We have found that it is a great practice that can save our client’s money and help to ensure that their insurance is tailored to their current needs. Most appreciate the service and get comfort from the process.

    Cutting Edge Executive Benefits

    ​By Jim Van Eperen, VP Executive Benefits and Business Succession, Raffa Financial Services, Inc.
    The competition for top talent in the Washington, DC market seems to remain at a fever pitch.  As a result, many of our nonprofit clients, as well as our for-profit corporate clients have sought our advice on how to provide a strong benefit and compensation package. There are too many factors that influence where a star employee chooses to work to discuss them all here.  It is safe to assume that employers will offer a challenge, potential for growth, and competitive salary. When great candidates have several good offers from which to choose, most employers agree that strong, cutting edge benefits will help them stand out and ensure they have the quality employees they need. 

    Gaps and Updates in Employee Benefits

    ​By Matthew Roberts, Director of Raffa Group Benefits, Raffa Financial Services
    Managing an employee benefits program used to be a lot easier, I think.  Most of us yearn for the good old days of rate stability, less onerous compliance and richer employee benefit programs.  Today’s dynamic environment means that the benefits consultant-client relationship is constantly and rapidly evolving.

    TIAA-CREF Transition to a Group Platform

    By Eduardo Gimenez, CFP®, AIF®, Raffa Retirement Services​
    The Department of the Treasury and the Department of Labor want 403(b) plans to operate more like 401(k) plans. This means that many 403(b) plans today may be subjected to ERISA (Employee Retirement Income Security Act). For almost 100 years, TIAA-CREF has been a national leader in providing investments for the non-profit sector. TIAA-CREF 403(b) plans were set up as individual contracts, where the relationship was between TIAA-CREF and the employee. The employer was simply a facilitator for the contributions without any fiduciary responsibility other than facilitating contributions. Under the new regulations, the relationship is now expected to be between TIAA-CREF and the employer.​​

    The Major Impact of New Plan Design, Provisions

    ​By: Ed Gimenez, CFP®, AIF®, RPA, Director of Retirement Plan Services
    The upswing in the number of plans utilizing automatic features and the associated managed investments is having a dramatic impact on participant accounts. Auto features include automatic enrollment and automatic contribution increases. These are very often accompanied by a Qualified Default Investment Alternative that is managed on the participant’s behalf.​
  • Human Resources

    Managing the Employee Lifecycle

    Presented by Neil Shah and Marcy Ewald of Aspire
    Attract and retain high-performing employees at each stage of employment.

    How to Make Working Remotely Work

    ​By Marcy Ewald, Aspire, a Raffa Company
    More people work remotely now than ever before. In fact, almost a quarter of U.S. workers telecommute at least a few hours every week. It’s a fast-growing trend that top companies have caught on to. And for good reason — studies have shown that with telecommuting comes significant productivity increases. The only problem is that it’s hard to stay an effective team when people are working from a coffee shop, their living rooms, or a playground while their kids play after school. Here are a few steps you can take to keep this flexibility and still have an effective, close-knit team.

    Six Effective Leadership Styles - Which One Do You Use?

    ​By Marcy Ewald, Aspire, a Raffa Company
    Effective leadership is essential to getting the best out of your employees. It takes time and experience to achieve a leadership style that works, though. In order to speed up the learning curve and become a great leader quickly, it’s often helpful to study how others lead. You can pick up tips and tricks by looking at those around you, and those who are incredibly successful leaders.

    The Places We Share Belong to Everyone: The ADA Anniversary

    ​​By Nikki L Lemons, Manager, Raffa HR Consulting
    July 26, 2017 marks the 27th anniversary of The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). In 1990, the ADA was passed to prohibit discrimination against individuals with disabilities as it pertains to public life and to ensure that individuals with disabilities have the same opportunities and rights as everyone else. The Act also prohibits discriminating against a qualified applicant with disabilities, hiring, firing, promoting, training, and other privileges associated with employment. This article addresses the subject of disability law and the titles within the ADA relevant to employers.

    Women in the Workplace: Then v. Now

    By Kemi Ogunlade, Administrative Assistant, Human Resources
    This article is presented in celebration of Women’s History Month. A month dedicated to women’s contributions to culture, history, and society. An article published by The Economist  states that  “The economic empowerment of women across the rich world is one of the most remarkable revolutions of the past 50 years.” It is rather interesting because what this signifies is that, millions of people who were once dependent can now control their financial fates and contribute to the economic growth of society.

    New FLSA Overtime Changes: What Your Business Needs to Know

    ​By Stacy L. Johnson,  Manager, Raffa HR Consulting
    December 1st is quickly approaching, and amidst all the usual year-end prep, employers must be ready for the Department of Labor’s (DOL) final rule revising the current “white collar” exemption regulations.   There has been some movement in Congress to delay the implementation of the revised rule to June 2017 to allow employers more time to adjust, but a prudent employer would proceed with the expectation that the final rule will be implemented eventually, and as early as December 1, 2016.

    Healthy Employees...Smarter Company

    ​By Jimena Ryan, Chief Marketing Officer
    Healthier employees are the foundation of a strong business. Without a healthy, able and available workforce, the US cannot compete in the global economy nor support a health care system that assures future availability of health care in the U.S.  Many companies focus solely on short term financial success often missing opportunities for long¬-term sustainability. So when insurance rates and other benefit costs go up, employers look to cut back on the number of programs, increase deductibles, slash benefits within a program.

    New DOL Overtime Rules Dont Panic!

    By Simone Putnam, Partner, Raffa Managed Human Resources​
    The Department of Labor (DOL) issued new overtime regulations in May 2016 which mean that many salaried employees earning less than $47,476 annually will automatically receive overtime pay when they work more than 40 hours in a week. What are employers supposed to do? Don't panic is our first response. The DOL has given employers six months to comply with the new regulations. This is a reasonable time period (in our opinion) for organizations to make informed decisions about what the right course of action is for their organizations to be in compliance with the new regulations.

    When Is HR Outsourcing Right for Your Organization?

    by Simone Putnam, Partner, Raffa Human Resources Practice
    Human Resources (HR) outsourcing can address some of the staffing and skill- related problems that plague small and budget-strapped nonprofits. For these organizations, staffing an HR department with the right combination of full-time employees who have the right expertise can be a tall order. As a result, these organizations’ HR departments may suffer from a dearth of employees or critical skill gaps. Read this article by Raffa partner, Simone Putnam, published in Nonprofit Quarterly.

    Understanding and Adapting to Change in the New Year

    ​By Nikki Lemons, Senior Generalist, Managed HR Services
    Last year, Raffa’s DC office underwent major renovations. While the end result is the beautiful workspace we currently utilize, the challenges faced leading up to project completion had a tremendous effect on everyone. The noises and smells were bothersome, but did not disrupt business.
  • Investment Advisory

    Is This Bill Too Old?

    ​By Mark Murphy, Chief Investment Officer, Raffa Wealth Management
    The bull market reached a record in August becoming the longest running US bull market in history.  Stocks have risen more than 300% since early March 2009 without seeing a decline of 20%.  The stretch surpasses the previous longest ever bull market that ended in March 2000 with the technology bubble.

    High Quality Bonds Show their Worth

    ​​By Mark Murphy, Chief Investment Officer, Raffa Wealth Management​​
    With the increase in interest rates start the year and the relatively low yields offered by bonds, some investors are questioning their need to hold bonds.  However, in May we saw another example of why it’s important to maintain a high quality bond allocation in a portfolio.

    Volatility Makes its Unwelcome Return

    ​By Mark Murphy, Chief Investment Officer, Raffa Wealth Management
    The first quarter of 2018 was the first down quarter for US stocks since the third quarter of 2015. The 10 quarters since we’ve seen relatively steady growth. That relative calm has made the first quarter all the more jarring with multiple daily swings of 1% or greater.

    Active vs. Passive Investing What is RWMs Take?

    ​By Mark Murphy, Chief Investment Officer, Raffa Wealth Management
    What does active vs. passive investment management mean?  How do you define these investment styles? We get this question or hear this discussed frequently and the answer isn’t as black and white as many think.

    Keep Your Bonds Safe with These Six Questions

    By Mark Murphy, Chief Investment Officer, Raffa Wealth Management
    With interest rates on the rise, a nonprofit can make sure that its bonds remain safe by asking its investment advisor these six questions about its investment policy statements.

    RWM Client Portal Tutorial - ModestSpark (May 2017)

    Does Diversification Still Work?

    ​By Mark Murphy, Chief Investment Officer, Raffa Wealth Management
    US stocks posted a strong year in 2016 hitting record highs after the election and gaining 12.74%. International stocks followed a similar trajectory as US Stocks for the first half of the year, however after the Brexit vote the two diverged and then split further after the US election results.  International stocks posted a 5.12% return for the year.  It marks the fourth straight year that US stocks have outpaced foreign stocks and the fifth time over the past six years.

    Fiduciary Compliance for Retirement Plan Sponsors:What it means in light of the new DOL Fiduciary Rule

    ​By Chase Deters, Director of Operations, Portfolio Manager at Raffa Wealth Management
    In light of the new DOL rule that expands the “investment advice fiduciary” definition under ERISA, fiduciary compliance for retirement plan sponsors has never been more important.  Harry Atlas of Venable, LLP and I have teamed together to educate nonprofits on the new rule and accompanying conflict of interest rules, recent litigation against retirement plan sponsors, and fiduciary best practices. 

    Does Recent Weak GDP Growth Spell the End of the Stock Market Bull Run?

    ​by Mark Murphy, Chief Investment Officer, Raffa Wealth Management
    The US and eurozone recently reported second quarter GDP growth that fell short of expectations with both posting 1.2% growth rates.  The results and other economic reports have led to economists reducing their expectations for growth over the second half of the year.  Given the recent weak growth by historical standards and meager future expectations, does this mean that equities are going to see weak performance over the near term?

    Preview of Study on Nonprofit Investing 2016

    By Dennis Gogarty, President, Raffa Wealth Management
    Launched in 2012, the annual Study on Nonprofit Investing (SONI) seeks to meet the need for timely, relevant, actionable data about how nonprofits invest their reserves and how those investments perform. The 2016 SONI revealed nonprofit associations have generally underperformed market benchmarks, but there is a silver lining: certain organizations have benefited by keeping things simple and establishing policies to instill discipline. More than 700 nonprofits participated in 2016. This preview offers some key findings from the SONI Associations and SONI Public Charities reports.

    Volatility Expectations

    In January we saw a return of the extreme market volatility that we saw in the late summer centered on global growth concerns and particularly at what pace China’s growth is slowing down.  Weak demand for oil is also factoring into investors concerns. 
  • Search & Succession

    Succession Guide for Founders and their Boards

    ​By Tom Adams, Retired Director, Succession and Sustainability
    Founders play a unique role in the beginning and the development of an organization. They have the privilege to be part of every important decision from the day they start until they leave the position. With this unique role comes an amazing amount of institutional knowledge and loads of long-developed relationships. Successful founders make extraordinary contributions to their organization and mission.   For these reasons, planning for the succession of a founder (and for long-tenured and transformational executives who mirror many of the traits of founders) requires special care by all involved.

    Seven Lessons for Boards Facing Executive Transition

    ​​By Tom Adams, Director, Succession and Sustainability
    Twenty years ago, most executive transitions brought fear to the board.  There were countless horror stories of organizations who struggled for years after an executive transition - some even went out of business. And if the departing executive was a founder or served a long tenure, the stories were more horrific and the risks more overwhelming.

    Priority Setting for Boards: Exploring the Three Connections Part II

    By Tom Adams, Director, Succession and ​Sustainability
    The following article, Part II of Priority Setting for Boards, Broadening the Lens, offers board leaders a simple way to explore what kind of leadership or organizational change might be approaching and how to use this opportunity to increase mission impact.

    Priority Setting for Boards Broadening the Lens

    ​By Tom Adams, Director, Succession and Sustainability
    This article suggests that attention to the big pivots or changes that happen much more regularly is an important focus for board and CEO priority setting. More specifically, our experience conclusively shows the benefits that occur when boards and their CEO proactively and regularly pay attention to leadership and organizational transitions.  These important organizational pivots provide a powerful lens for board leaders to observe the organization and decide on focus.  Leaders want to know: “What is the best use of our time and talent on this board?”  Today’s turbulent times demands new approaches to how boards decide on their focus.

    The Evolution of Executive Transition and Allied Practices

    ​By Tom Adams, Director at Raffa, P.C.
    This paper explains the practice of executive transition as it has evolved from the simplicity of executive search to a collection of allied disciplines aimed at positioning organizations for leadership succession and long-term mission impact.

    Prepare your Organization for a CEO Transition

    ​By Rachael Gibson, Senior Consultant, Search, Transition, and Planning
    A change in CEO leadership is inevitable for all organizations.  It is a time of risk, opportunity and certainly indicates a period when the Board must increase their level of engagement. Successful leadership transitions occur when organizations are thoughtful about how they prepare for the change.

    Hiring a Nonprofit CEO: Increasing the Odds for Success

    ​​By Tom Adams, Director, Succession and Sustainability at Raffa, P.C.​
    Most nonprofit board chairs and boards know that hiring the organization’s CEO (Executive Director) is their biggest decision (or close to it). What is less clear to most board leaders is how the choices they make significantly impact the likelihood of success of the new executive. This article explores one of the big choices – do it yourself, get help and what kind of help to look for.

    Don't Make Me Write a Cover Letter (but if I must...)

    ​By Doris Kiser, Search Coordinator, Raffa Search, Transition and Planning Practice
    I would like offer tips from a self-proclaimed cover letter curmudgeon. I am not an active recruiter, but I do manage all the cover letters and resumes that come through our office, and have seen both terrifying and amazing cover letters.

    Succession Essentials for All Nonprofits: A Risk Management Best Practice

    By Melody Thomas, Senior Consultant, Nonprofit Search and Planning
    Succession Essentials, a written Succession Policy and Emergency Backup Plan, are critical for nonprofit board leaders and executives to adopt as an annualized best practice.​

    Nonprofit CFO Positions Are Not Created Equal

    ​Just as the term “nonprofit” doesn’t capture the breadth and depth within the sector, “CFO” is not a one size fits all position. When hiring CFOs, nonprofits need to keep this in mind: successful candidates for CFO positions need to have the right fit when it comes to experience, skills, culture and goals. One nonprofit CFO does not equal the next.​​

    Transition Success Factors

    Excerpted from an article by Tom Adams as published in Nonprofit World • Volume 16, Number 3 May/June 1998
    Executive transition is a powerful milestone for an organization and a predictor of its future effectiveness. Careers of departing and arriving executives and reputations of board leaders are directly affected by the outcomes of transition. Whether or not you’re currently involved with an executive transition, this article will help you manage one of the most difficult and unavoidable aspects of nonprofit life

    Chief Executive Transitions

    by Don Tebbe, published by BoardSource
    A comprehensive guide to help boards navigate the hiring process and oversee a successful leadership transition. It includes checklists, key questions board members will need to answer as they go through the process, and practical real-life examples. 118 pages with an accompanying CD-ROM that includes 13 helpful documents, including a resume scoring sheet, sample timeline, sample interview questions, and a sample 90-day entry plan to help ensure the success of the newly hired chief executive.

    Nonprofit Leadership Transition and Development Guide

    by Tom Adams, published by Jossey-BassLearn to harness the power of emotions in transition, how great founders lead stellar transitions,how to diversify leadership, how to capitalize on the three critical stages of transition, how strategic succession plans lift the organization, why you must prepare today for emergency leaves, and what to do when the leader says, it's time for me to retire. The result: A better-run, better-prepared nonprofit—the kind of humming organization that inspires ongoing success.​​

    Sustaining Great Leadership

    by Tom Adams
    This free guide, compliments of the First Nonprofit Foundation, offers a 10-step approach to sustaining leadership in your nonprofit.

    Monographs on Executive Transition Management

    The Annie E. Casey Foundation and the Evelyn and Walter Haas Jr. Fund have developed a series of monographs on executive transitions management.​

    Do We Need an Executive Search?

    By Tom Adams, Director and Karen Schuler, Managing Director – Search, Transition & Planning at Raffa, P.C.
    When a nonprofit executive announces her/his departure, the question of whether there is an internal successor or strong internal candidates is front and center for the Board. In the best case, the Board and executive have had an ongoing dialogue about executive and board succession and there are no surprises. Unfortunately this is not always the case.

    Does Executive Transition have to be a Drama or Disaster?

    By Tom Adams, Director of Succession and Sustainability at Raffa, P.C.
    Are executive transitions complex and challenging? Certainly. Anytime a group of volunteers with varying understanding of the work and direction of the organization are asked to manage the departure of the current executive, define expectations for a new executive, hire that person and get off to a positive start, there are challenges.

    The Big Question for Seasoned Executives:How Long to Stay?

    ​By Tom Adams, Director of Succession and Sustainability at Raffa, P.C.
    Nonprofit executives share the desire to have a great ending when they step out of their executive role. This is not an easy question for most executives and is particularly challenging for those who have devoted a significant part of their professional career to building and/or transforming an organization.  So how does an executive answer the big question?
  • Tax

    Online Sales Tax - Did You Pay?

    ​​By Debra Hildreth, Tax Director
    Supreme Court Decides Physical Presence Rule for Sales Tax Collection is “Unsound and Incorrect”

    New Tax Law Encourages Investments in Qualified Opportunity Zones

    ​By Mitra Mamdouhi, Tax Partner
    The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act passed in December 2017 includes a provision to encourage investment in low income areas designated as Qualified Opportunity Zones.  The new tax benefits available to investors in Qualified Opportunity zone property are designed to spur economic development and job creation in distressed communities.

    501c3 versus 501c6 Organizations Examined

    By: Aaron M. Fox, CPA, Senior Tax Manager at Raffa, P.C.
    Why are the number of 501(c)(3)s exploding while the rest of the sector appears to be stagnating or receding? To help put that question in context, this article covers some of the key elements of what a 501(c)(3) organization is compared to another popular 501(c) vehicle, the 501(c)(6) organization, and why it is gaining further popularity.

    Tax Reform Update for Tax Exempt Organizationsand it isnt good news

    ​Earlier this year, guidance was provided by Raffa regarding the impact of the new tax law on tax exempt organizations. We advised everyone to stay tuned for further guidance as much of how the law would be specifically interpreted and applied was uncertain. This was especially true for the new rules regarding certain fringe benefits creating unrelated business income (UBI) and UBI “silos”. Since then, more information has become available to us from the IRS and more recently through an IRS publication and informal comments by Treasury officials at industry conferences that have shed additional light on these topics.

    Tax Reform Impact on Nonprofit Organizations

    ​By Jonathan List, CPA - Senior Tax and Aaron M. Fox, CPA - Senior Tax Manager at Raffa, P.C.
    As the New Year begins, tax-exempt organizations, for-profit entities, and individuals will need to adjust to sweeping tax legislation signed into law just before year-end: the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act. After two different versions of the initial bill passed in the Senate and House of Representatives in late 2017, and differences in the bills were reconciled in the Congressional conference committee, a final Conference Agreement version of the bill passed both chambers of Congress, before being signed into law by the President on December 22, 2017.

    Tax Reform Update for Nonprofits

    ​By Aaron M. Fox, CPA - Senior Tax Manager at Raffa, P.C.
    The 115th Congress of the United States of America is expected to soon pass H.R. 1, the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act. The Act amends the Internal Revenue Code to reduce tax rates and modify policies, credits, and deductions for individuals and businesses as well as several provisions impacting tax-exempt organizations.

    Tax Rebate to Spur Creative Economy Jobs in the District

    ​​By Aaron M. Fox, CPA - Senior Tax Manager at Raffa, P.C.
    On March 9th of last year, the District of Columbia enacted a new tax rebate that did not get a lot of coverage and may not have been noticed by many decision makers in the nonprofit sector.   The new law, adapted from a pre-existing law, establishes a range of incentives for taxpayers that use the District of Columbia as a site for the production of film, television, interactive and digital video content; support media industry infrastructure projects; and create opportunities for District residents to have access to “creative economy” jobs.  If successful, the rebate could increase tax revenue for the District, increase media industry jobs in the District, and provide financial incentive to media production companies.

    New Tax Return Filing Deadlines

    By Debra Hildreth, Director, Raffa For-Profit Tax
    Accountants have long advocated for a better chronological flow of tax deadlines.  When Congress found that these changes could help finance federal highway and transportation spending, new tax filing deadlines emerged as part of The Surface Transportation and Veterans Health Care Choice Improvement Act of 2015.

    New Deadlines to File 2016 Forms W-2 and 1099-MISC

    ​By Kristin Burnett, Supervisor, Nonprofit Tax
    As part of the Protecting Americans from Tax Hikes Act (PATH) of 2015, January 31st is the new  deadline to file government copies of Form W-2 (Employee) Wage and Tax Statement and Form 1099-MISC Miscellaneous Income for nonemployee compensation. Therefore, beginning with 2016 Forms W-2 and 1099-MISC, copies must be (1) delivered to the service providers, and (2) filed with the government by January 31, 2017. While various payments are reported on Form 1099-MISC, we recommend a simultaneous review of all payments for proper classification to ensure compliance with the new deadline.

    Coming Soon: Big Changes for Political Nonprofit Organizations in New York

    By Aaron Fox and Su Chung, Raffa Tax
    The State of New York may soon be passing an ethics reform plan which brings about significant changes and new compliance requirements related to political campaign finance law. The plan will create several compliance and disclosure requirements for 501(c)(4) organizations engaging in political activities in the state of New York.

    FinallyTax Extenders You Can Put Your Money On!

    ​​By Rebecca Merrill, Tax Manager at Raffa, P.C.
    A strong financial future begins with solid tax planning. Unfortunately, when favorable tax legislation is passed in the last weeks of the year, few can take advantage of those tax incentives so late in the game. Taxpayers and tax practitioners have criticized some of the prior extender bills as too short-lived for any meaningful tax planning. On December 18, 2015, President Obama signed into law P.L. 114-113, the Protecting Americans from Tax Hikes Act of 2015 (“PATH Act”), and unlike past legislation for tax extenders, this time many of the provisions are permanently renewed and certain tax benefits and credits have been retroactively reinstated.

    Too Much Private Benefit? Say Goodbye to Your Exemption!

    By Aaron M. Fox, CPA - Senior Tax Manager at Raffa, P.C.
    Even one instance of private benefit can jeopardize the exemption of a not-for-profit organization. Because they apply to most tax-exempt organizations and are broad in scope, it pays to understand how these rules work and avoid the risk.

    Increased Compensation Scrutiny Coming From All Sides

    by Kay Vollans, Raffa Tax Manager and Frank H. Smith, Raffa Tax Partner
    The Internal Revenue Service is not the only authority taking a deeper look at executive compensation reporting. Lawmakers, state attorney generals, the media and watchdog groups are seeking more transparency surrounding compensation paid to the nation's top nonprofit executives.

    The IRS Gets Specific with Tangible Property Guidance

    by Ariana Warren, Senior II and Aaron Fox, Senior Manager
    In an effort to address a long-standing area of disagreement with taxpayers, the Internal Revenue Service (the Service) has been devoting special attention to the depreciation deduction and the application of MACRS. In September 2013 the Service released IRS Bulletin 2013-43 (T.D. 9636) addressing capitalization policies, their application, and providing examples which include definitions of terminology used to describe some tangible property. The effective date is September 19, and is required for all fiscal years that begin on or after January 1, 2014. The guidance provides final regulations under sections 167 and 168, but do not remove the temporary guidance under section 168. These regulations impact all organizations that acquire, produce, or improve tangible property. Accordingly, it is important that tax-exempt organizations understand and properly implement these new requirements to ensure and maintain their compliance with the tax code.

    Get Smart About Art Donations

    By Aaron M. Fox, CPA - Senior Tax Manager at Raffa, P.C.
    The majority of non-cash giving in the U.S. comes in the form of donated household goods, like gently used clothing, books, and blankets. But according to the Internal Revenue Service Statistics of Income Bulletin, many taxpayers are donating higher value items like real estate and automobiles as well as art and collectibles.

    Considerations When Creating a For-Profit Subsidiary

    By Aaron M. Fox, CPA - Senior Tax Manager at Raffa, P.C.
    Creating a for-profit subsidiary was once considered unusual and niche but it has become somewhat mainstream and even standard for tax exempt organizations in the past few decades. This arrangement emerged as a solution to the various challenges tax exempt organizations face regularly. Those range from managing an unrelated business activity, separating activities from the exempt parent that stray from the original exempt purpose, protecting the assets of the organization from legal liability, and more.

    Tax Exempt Application Changes: Good or Bad? Only Time Will Tell

    By Kay Vollans, Tax Manager at Raffa, P.C.
    The 1023-EZ, much like the 990-EZ, is a fraction of the size of its full form version and significantly reduces the amount of questions and preparation needed by aspiring tax-exempt organizations choosing to file it. The IRS has said it will regulate these organizations with compliance checks and field audits post filing. Many practitioners think that this deferred compliance is a short-sighted move by the IRS. While the IRS appears to be cleaning up the application process for tax exemption by rolling out the interactive 1023 form, and more recently releasing the new Form 1023-EZ, some practitioners and advisors in the field are less than impressed with the recent changes.

    Legislation Passed Assessing Sales Tax on Certain Services

    By Aaron M. Fox, CPA – Senior Tax Manager at Raffa, P.C.
    Effective October 1, 2014, DC sales and use tax will become applicable to some specific services at the rate of 5.75%. If your organization was already registered to collect sales and use tax, it should start collecting on these services. If not, the organization will need to register first. That can be done by going to www.taxpayerservicecenter.com or by filing Form FR-500 which is available online. During registration, forms for remitting the tax are provided.

    Extension of Key Tax Provisions for Exempt Organizations

    By: Aaron Fox, Jonathan List and Ariana Warren
    The 113th Congress is currently reviewing Bill H.R. 5771, which includes key provisions for exempt organizations that may have a material impact on the treatment of certain financial and reporting decisions.

    Reimbursements Under Accountable Plans | Tax Publications

    By: Ariana N. Warren, CPA, Tax Senior at Raffa, P.C.
    In the non-profit world, its commonplace for Board members and top Executives to travel on behalf of the organization and to be reimbursed for these expenses. However, before these reimbursements are made, it is imperative for the non-profit to recognize the difference between accountable and non-accountable plans.
  • Technology

    What do NGOs, Federally Funded Nonprofits, and Government Contractors have in common?

    By Glenn Anstead, Partner, Raffa Technology and Dan Rusert, JAMIS
    Whether you are large or small organization, there are certain critical key performance metrics (KPI’s) that will allow you to manage and monitor results more effectively. In order to navigate the complex waters of federal funding, keeping your fingers on the pulse of your business is essential. Most federally funded organizations use a sophisticated ERP (enterprise resource planning) system that supports the complex calculations and reporting requirements necessary to be successful in the government funded space. 

    Ransomware and Cybersecurity: What You Can Do to Prepare

    ​By Nate Solloway, Systems Engineer/Outsourced IT Manager, Raffa Technology
    Ransomware is the hot - and detrimental - cybersecurity topic this season.  NotPetya malware wreaked havoc across the Ukraine and some EU member countries over a few days this past summer.  In the United States, Merck Pharmaceutical took weeks to recover and was unable to manufacturer or ship product.   A West Virginia hospital had to replace the bulk of workstations and servers after a ransomware attack cut off their access to patient records.

    Don't WannaCry? Ransomware Survival Tips

    ​By Nate Solloway, Raffa Systems Engineer/Outsourced IT Manager
    The WannaCry Ransomware (WannaCry) attack is an ongoing worldwide cyberattack that targets Microsoft Windows operating systems.  First emerging on Friday, May 12, 2017, WannaCry has been described as unprecedented in scale, infecting more than 230,000 computers in over 150 countries. This virus exploits vulnerabilities in the Microsoft Windows operating systems. The exposed data on these vulnerable computers are encrypted and therefore unusable. This worm exploits unpatched holes on the PC and rapidly spreads to other computers on the same network. Encrypting files on every computer it touches, this virus removes access to an organization’s vital data.

    Defending from the Ransomware Threat

    ​​By Nate Solloway, Raffa Systems Engineer/Outsourced IT Manager
    Malware and specifically ransomware have become big business.  You might have seen this happen to a friend or colleague.  They visit a website link or open a spam email, and rapidly thereafter important documents on their computer are no longer available.

    Shoot for the Cloud(s)

    ​Outsourcing has been enabled by newer technologies like ‘cloud’ and ‘virtualization’ so that they CAN be offered on a bureau basis very effectively. Modern platforms are secure, reliable and much easier to adopt.​​