Three Ways Audit Services Benefit Your Nonprofit

In many of the most fundamental ways, a nonprofit is run in an entirely different fashion than a for-profit organization, from its hierarchical structure to asset management. However, a lot of the same rules still apply. In many states, the law requires audits, while in others, it’s not necessary to conduct an one, but it’s not a bad idea to consider it anyway if you plan to apply for government funding or if you wish to maintain a good reputation with the public. Here are a few reasons your not-for-profit might consider obtaining audit services.
1. To Abide By State Law

Laws vary by state not only in regards to whether or not nonprofit organizations are required to be checked out, but also under which conditions. In most states, not-for-profits are required to submit reports in order to raise funds. Some other reasons why certain states require them include meeting or exceeding a threshold for charitable donations, the total amount of fiscal year revenue, charity registration renewal, and other indicators. The type of service required varies also. In some states, depending on the circumstances, a full audit is required. Other states or different circumstances require only a review or a compilation.

2. To Maintain Your Good Reputation

When nonprofit organizations are in the news, it’s often not because of charitable deeds or honorable accomplishments. It’s because they are being accused of or being investigated for fraud. Seeking audit services is a good way to help prevent a situation like this from occurring. The public, especially those who contribute or have contributed to charitable organizations, appreciate financial transparency. People want access to information, and when they’re denied that access, they might feel that you have something to hide. Keeping financial records available to the public can help you avoid this issue.

3. To Apply for Funding

If you’re hoping to apply for a grant or other funding, there’s a good chance you’ll need to conduct an audit. Many agencies, especially the state or federal government, want proof that your nonprofit runs a tight ship before providing funding of any kind. Some private organizations do, too. If you’re up for a substantial grant or plan to apply for funding now or in the future, it’s a smart idea to begin conducting them yearly. Showing that you take care and pride in conducting your financial business by the book is always advantageous.

Because not-for-profits have a completely different financial culture than for-profit businesses, it seems strange that it would be necessary for a nonprofit to conduct a yearly audit. However, despite the fact that it is mandatory by law under certain circumstances in many states, it’s often simply a matter of good business practice to choose some kind of regular audit services, be it for a full audit, a review, or a compilation. Proving your organization to be fiscally responsible and reliable is an easy way to open the door to funding opportunities and to maintain a positive image with the public and, especially, with your contributors.

Is Independent Health Insurance Right for You?

Since the major provisions of the Affordable Care Act took effect last year, health insurance and the government-mandated portals have been the center of attention. The health care reform law, which is designed to ensure access to quality, affordable healthcare coverage was actually passed in 2010.
The federal government will reap a hefty fine from those who choose not to enroll when they do not already have a health care plan. Failure to comply means confiscation of tax refunds starting at $95, or 1 percent of a citizen’s total income for the first year without health coverage. Fines can grow to about 2.5 percent of income by 2017.

The online marketplace has received so much coverage that other avenues to find health insurance coverage for individuals or families have been largely ignored. Citizens who do not have access to employer coverage, or don’t want it, can also purchase independent insurance coverage by going outside of the government exchange. Citizens can find affordable options that are best-suited to their needs by going directly to an insurance company, or using insurance brokers or agents.

Some states have their own online exchanges: California, Connecticut, Colorado, the District of Columbia, Hawaii, Kentucky, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Nevada, New York, Oregon, Rhode Island, Vermont and Washington state. You and your family may even qualify for Medicaid or the Children’s Health Insurance Program if your income is low enough. Naturally, eligibility rules vary widely from state to state. If these options do not apply to you, going outside of the exchange to purchase independent insurance is not a gamble.

All health insurance policies, whether sold through the government exchanges or elsewhere, must comply with the Affordable Care Act. This means that they are required to offer the same essential benefits: ambulatory patient and prescription benefits, emergency care, mental health services, hospitalization, preventive and wellness care, pediatric care, maternity and newborn care, rehabilitative services, and laboratory services. Plans purchased outside of the exchange are also prohibited from denying coverage if you’re already sick. Insurers who sell policies must sell the same plan for the same price.

Most of the hullabaloo about using the online marketplace lies in the possibility of qualifying for subsidies that can lower your premiums. Whether or not the policies you find outside of the exchange will be a better deal than the ones on the exchange will vary largely by market. To find a local broker or agent that can help you find a plan outside of the exchange, visit the National Association of Health Underwriters. When taking this route, it is important to remember that agents will only be able to show plans from insurers they work with. These services will usually be free to utilize since agents and brokers get their commissions from insurance carriers. An agent or broker’s insurance expertise can be valuable, especially to uninsured people who’ve never bought a health plan before.