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November 19, 2008



We were on hand yesterday at the Mayflower for the third annual Nonprofit CFO of the Year Awards hosted by Tate & Tryon and West Lane & Schlager. Along with more than 500 others, many attending an annual two-day GWSCPA symposium (conferring continuing education credit), we got sweet-and-sour chicken, couscous, and a lot more information about Form 990.


Those IRS insights came from keynoter Lois Lerner, director of the agency's exempt organizations division. She said the celebrated form is "not exactly perfect," but reassured the audience that the IRS is "not out to get you" but simply concerned that "too many organizations chasing too few dollars" could invite abuse by those seeking to avoid the scrutiny of the for-profit sector.  The new form is also intended to provide better information for grant makers and contributors, she said.


Event sponsor and GWSCPA past president Charlie Tate with Meridian Imaging Solutions' Tara Ingels, Syscom Services' Sarah Hall, Meridian's Patty Sieber and Syscom's Katie Roche. Charlie says understanding the 990 is like running "a mini-10K for a non-profit." He says the new form falls short of Sarbanes-Oxley-like regulation when it comes to internal controls. Lately, he's been helping clients to plug holes by putting in place process-level controls for purchasing policies, accounts payable, and preparation of financial statements.


Lifetime Achievement Award went to Jewish Federation of Greater Washington's Eileen Frazier, here with husband, Alan. Eileen has had to cut $400k from the organization's FY09 budget in just the last three weeks. How'd she do it? Since most non-profit costs are on the personnel side, seven staffer were cut (10%), pension benefits were reduced for workers under the age of 55, and all eight managing directors took a voluntary 5% pay cut. All staff members will also take a three-day unpaid furlough in the spring. Eileen says these tough decisions would normally hurt morale, but considering the economic situation, people are happy to have a job and to be helping the world as part of their non-profit mission, which supports all three Greater DC Jewish Community Centers as well as the Jewish Social Service Agency.


The IRS's Lois Lerner with chief judge of the non-profit CFO awards (and Lang CPA Consulting's) Andrew Lang. Lois says complaints have subsided about the new 990, and questions have turned to how to manage it. She suggests starting early and using the resources on the IRS.gov Web site, like viewing "Tax Talk Today," a video filmed three weeks ago in which 5,000 people participated. Andrew says non-profits need to target Part 6 ASAP—the disclosures area. He says since many of the questions ask if organizations have conflict of interest and other policies, they should act fast to be sure their boards have time to meet and enact such policies.


EagleBank's Non-profit Specialist Malcolm Karl and awards judge Harvey Berger. Malcolm says lately he's been telling clients about the FDIC's new insurance up to $250K. He says many associations don't know they can have multiple accounts at the same institution, each insured up to $250K, eg, a CD, money market, non-interest bearing account, and regular account.

Drinks on Arent Fox

The American Council of Engineering Companies' Krysta Perrault, Nina Goldman, Jackie Pysarchuk and the Association of American Medical Colleges' Amber Sterling. Nina says ACEC's "Engineering Inc." magazine next month will feature an interview with Barack Obama describing his stance on the nation's infrastructure. ACEC's members are hoping a second stimulus package will include funds to put engineers to work building new bridges and roadways.  When not thinking about engineers, the girls like to see "dorky" movies—this Friday's flick is "Twilight" at Gallery Place.


Arent Fox's Eve Corbin and Rachel Lattimore join The American Legacy Foundation's Tony O'Toole.


Studley's Adam Schindler, Legal Aid Society's Gregg Kelly, Arent Fox's Richard Newman, Restaurant Association of Washington's Jennifer Lehman, Arent Fox's Ed Rogers, and Debra Yogodzinksi.  


Arent Fox's Kristine Dunne, Jewish Foundation's Keith Danos, Leo Daly's Annie Axelrod, Tate & Tryon's Charlie Tate, American Cancer Society's Judy Felsenfeld, Arent Fox's Ed Rich.

Association Editor Abraham Mahshie has a fish bowl collection of business cards, so invite him to your event so he can add to his collection: Abraham@bisnow.com.

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