The financial management teams of not-for-profit organizations spend a lot of time and effort on the annual year-end financial reporting packages for the Board of Directors, major stakeholders or members at the Annual General meeting. Having worked with hundreds of NPOs and boards and attended an equivalent number of AGMs, we would like to share 5 helpful tips on preparing the financial reporting packages.
- Keep it Simple
Generally NPOs and Charities put too much financial detail in the Audited Financial Statements. Many schedules that are included in the statements are actually statistical or operational reports dealing with management activities and operational roles. They should be kept out of the audited financial statements.
- Use of Summarized Statements
It is recommended that if you are presenting summarized financial statements as “audited”, make sure you get the auditors involved to review the summarized statements. There is a special audit report that goes with summarized statements.
In addition to the audited statements, the annual report should present highlights and successes and milestones met. Match the size and complexity of the reports with the size and complexity of the audience.
- Forward Looking
The report needs to include forward looking messages on where the organization is going, what is new, where the opportunities lie.
- More Visual
While the raw numbers are important, you want your stakeholders to engage and retain the key messages. This will be more likely to happen if they are presented with more visual interpretations to accompany the statements. Keep your audience engaged through the use of more visual elements such as graphs, images, and infographics to highlight and convey key points and messages.
Christa Casey, CPA, CA – Partner & Director of the Not-for-Profit Sector
With 20 years of experience, Christa Casey has become an expert in auditing not-for-profit organizations. In January 2010, Christa was appointed as Welch’s Director, Not-for-Profit Sector. Prior to this, Christa was a Quality Assurance Manager. Her previous and current positions require a high level of technical competence while staying informed of all developments in accounting and auditing standards.
Garth Steele, CPA, CA – Audit & Indirect Tax Partner
With over 20 years of experience as a Partner at Welch, Garth has an exhaustive list of Not-for-Profit audit experience. In addition to auditing NPOs, Garth’s forte is Commodity Taxes (GST, HST, PST) and Payroll Taxes (CPP, EI, EHT, WCB). For the past 20 years, Garth has been a tutorial leader and lecturer for the CPA Canada In-Depth GST Course, as well as an instructor for CPA Ontario’s annual Professional Development program.