Money Tips for Homeschool Leaders: Don’t Ignore Your Balance Sheet

 

Do you know what a Balance Sheet is?

Homeschool board members don’t understand a balance sheet, so it is often ignored, but Carol Topp, the HomeschoolCPA, explains why that is a big mistake. In this short podcast she explains what a balance sheet is and what are red flags in a Balance Sheet that you should look out for.

You’ll be a better informed board member after listening to this podcast episode.

 

In the podcast Carol mentioned the Balance Sheet (or as she prefers to call it the Statement of Financial Position). Here is what it might look like for a homeschool organization:

Featured resource

Carol Topp, CPA has written a book just for homeschool treasurers:

Money Management in a Homeschool Organization

  • Does your homeschool group manage their money well?
  • Do you have a budget and know where the money is spent?
  • Do you know how to prevent fraud?

This 115 page book will help you to open a checking account, establish a budget, prevent mistakes and fraud, use software to keep the books, prepare a financial statement and hire workers. Sample forms and examples of financial statements in clear English are provided.

 

Carol Topp, CPA

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Taxes for Classical Conversations Directors

Last tax year I was asked a lot of questions about taxes by Classical Conversations directors and tutors. Things like:

  • What tax form should I to use to report my income and expenses?
  • What expenses were tax deductible?
  • What tax forms do I need to give to my tutors?
  • How should tutors be paid?
  • How do I pay myself as a CC Director?

Fortunately, there is an ebook in the works to help CC Directors titled:

Taxes for Classical Conversions Directors

The ebook is available only to Licensed CC Directors from Classical Conversations, Inc

You can find the ebook here

 

I recommend the following blog posts:

CC Directors: Do not give yourself a 1099-MISC

Tax return for a Classical Conversations homeschool business

I’m a Classical Conversations Director. Do I have to file any forms with the IRS?

Understanding Taxes for a small homeschool business

Consult a local small business CPA. To find a local tax preparer I recommend two sources:

Both of these websites allow you to search for a local tax preparer who is knowledgeable about taxes for small sole proprietor businesses.

 

Carol Topp, CPA


Free Resource

In the ebook, I mention a bookkeeping spreadsheet for CC Directors. You can get the spreadsheet now (all it costs is your email!)

 


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How to Read a Financial Statement for Your Homeschool Group

 

When your homeschool treasurer hands you a financial statement, do you know what you’re looking at?

HomeschoolCPA Carol Topp explains how to read and understand the statement of revenues and expenses better known as the Profit and Loss or P&L . This  15 minute podcast will help your treasurer prepare a statement that is easy to read and understand.

 

In the podcast Carol mentioned the statement of revenues and expenses better known as the Profit and Loss or P&L. Here is what it might look like for a homeschool group:

Featured resource

 

Carol Topp, CPA has written a book just for homeschool treasurers:

Money Management in a Homeschool Organization

  • Does your homeschool group manage their money well?
  • Do you have a budget and know where the money is spent?
  • Do you know how to prevent fraud?

This 115 page book will help you to open a checking account, establish a budget, prevent mistakes and fraud, use software to keep the books, prepare a financial statement and hire workers. Sample forms and examples of financial statements in clear English are provided.

 

Carol Topp, CPA

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Sponsoring a football program under your homeschool group

 
 Super Bowl LII is a few days away! Even though the Green Bay Packers will not be playing (I’m a Packer fan) football is on my mind! Perhaps your homeschool group is considering adding football team. Read on!
I wrote to you about starting a football league and wanting to have a “fiscal sponsorship.”  We postponed the sponsorship last year, but are now wanting to move forward with it.  This has given us new things to consider and I am really out of my league.
  • We are wanting the football program to have a separate bank account from the main checking account, but of course have all the books open and reports/statements submitted to us.  Kind of they way some Boy Scout Troops work with their charter. Will this be a problem?
  •  Will we be able to purchase equipment and supplies for the team using our 501c3 sales tax exemption?
  •  Will businesses be able to make donations specifically earmarked for the football program and then be able to receive a tax deductible letter from us, the main organization?
  • We are planning on purchasing insurance covering the players and cheerleaders. Would the main group need to be on that policy also?
  •  If the football program ever desired to become independent from the main group, would it be able to retain the assets i.e., playing equipment?
I am very overwhelmed at the responsibility involved as a volunteer treasurer. Other board members seem to think I’m overthinking all of this, and that it is no different than a boy scout group and it’s no big deal to get set up–just file some forms and use our tax id to open a bank account for the football program.  I don’t see it as that simple.
Thank you, Tricia
Trisha,
The football program does not have to be a separate legal identity. It can be one of the programs you operate as the main group. Here’s my  reply to your questions.
  • A separate bank account is fine. It will use the main group’s EIN and belong to the parent even though the football program leaders may be signers on the checks.
  • The football program can use the main group’s 501c3 tax status to purchase equipment (sales tax free).
  • Donors can make donations to the football program, but checks should be made out to the main group. You are then obligated to set aside these donations as “restricted funds” only to be used for the football program.
  • Your homeschool group needs to be the owner of the insurance policy because the football program has no separate legal status to buy insurance.
  • All assets belong to the main group, not the football program. If your homeschool group wishes to make a gift to the football program when they split off, it can or you can sell the assets to the football program at a reduced price. I recommend you put something in writing in your fiscal sponsorship agreement about who owns the assets, but leave it up to the board to decide when the time comes whether to sell or gift the equipment to the football program.

I agree with the board; you might be over-thinking this. While it’s good to do your due diligence, it should be pretty easy to add the football program to your homeschool group’s activities.

I do recommend you write up an fiscal sponsorship agreement. Here’s a website with a few examples. I also attached an example I found at Mr Colvin’s law firm website, http://www.adlercolvin.com/index.php You can simplify the language if you wish.

I hope this allows you to sleep better tonight! 🙂

Carol Topp, CPA

Followup: Tricia had additional questions concerning sharing the tax exempt status of her organization and the finances of this new program. Read more here.

Accounting Software for Homeschool Groups

 

Does your homeschool group use software to manage it’s finances?

It’s something you should consider. Carol Topp, the HomeschoolCPA, discusses when you should use software and offers  her opinion on software that’s best for homeschool groups.

 

In the podcast Carol mentioned:

QuickBooks Online. You may be eligible for a free version of QuickBooks Online. I wrote about it here: Use QuickBooks Online for free

Wave Accounting. I set up a small nonprofit on Wave recently. It’s working for them and it’s free!

Aplos Software which is popular with nonprofits and churches.

Ace Money Lite free personal finance software

 

Featured resource
Carol Topp, CPA has written a book just for homeschool treasurers:

Money Management in a Homeschool Organization

  • Does your homeschool group manage their money well?
  • Do you have a budget and know where the money is spent?
  • Do you know how to prevent fraud?

This 115 page book will help you to open a checking account, establish a budget, prevent mistakes and fraud, use software to keep the books, prepare a financial statement and hire workers. Sample forms and examples of financial statements in clear English are provided.

 

Carol Topp, CPA

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Do I give a 1099-MISC to a place we rented?

Is a 501(c)(7) social club required to issue a 1099 to every vendor for an expenditure over $600? For instance, if we pay a band $1,000 for one of our dinner-dances or an event hall $800 for rental of their facility, does that mean we have to issue a 1099 to them?

Donald

 

Dear Donald,

The instructions for the 1099-MISC say:

File this form (1099-MISC) for each person to whom you have paid during the year at least $600 in:

rents;
services performed by someone who is not your employee;
prizes and awards;
other income payments;
medical and health care payments;
crop insurance proceeds;
cash payments for fish you purchase from anyone engaged in the trade or business of catching fish;
generally, the cash paid from a notional principal contract to an individual, partnership, or estate;
payments to an attorney; or
any fishing boat proceeds

I highlighted the issues that apply to you (rents and payments for services).

You do not have to give a 1099-MISC to corporations, so ask the band and the event hall if they are corporations. My guess is that the band is not a corporation, but the event hall is a corporation and therefore you don’t give them a 1099-MISC.

You should also have collected a IRS Form W-9 Request for Taxpayer Identification Number from the band and any person you pay for their services. On the Form W-9 they indicate if their business is a corporation or not.

I hope that helps,

Carol Topp, CPA

Why Your Homeschool Group Needs to Do a Bank Reconciliation

 

Is your homeschool group reconciling your bank account every month? You should be!

Carol Topp, the HomeschoolCPA, explains why bank reconciliation is the most important task you should do to manage your group’s finances. But don’t let your treasurer balance the checking account! It should be someone else. Listen to the podcast to understand why.

 

 

Featured resource

Carol Topp, CPA has written a book just for homeschool treasurers:

Money Management in a Homeschool Organization

  • Does your homeschool group manage their money well?
  • Do you have a budget and know where the money is spent?
  • Do you know how to prevent fraud?

This 115 page book will help you to open a checking account, establish a budget, prevent mistakes and fraud, use software to keep the books, prepare a financial statement and hire workers. Sample forms and examples of financial statements in clear English are provided.

Carol Topp, CPA

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Preventing Fraud in Your Homeschool Group: Separation of Duties

What’s the best way to to prevent fraud or mistakes in the finances of your homeschool group?

It’s called separation of duties and Carol Topp, the HomeschoolCPA explains why your treasurer should not be doing all the financial tasks in your homeschool organization. In this 12 minute podcast episode Carol explains how you can separate and share the money management tasks.

 

In the podcast Carol mentioned a list of suggestions to prevent fraud.

Excerpt from Money Management in a Homeschool Organization on preventing fraud (opens as a pdf)

 

Featured resource

Carol Topp, CPA has written a book just for homeschool treasurers:

Money Management in a Homeschool Organization

  • Does your homeschool group manage their money well?
  • Do you have a budget and know where the money is spent?
  • Do you know how to prevent fraud?

This 115 page book will help you to open a checking account, establish a budget, prevent mistakes and fraud, use software to keep the books, prepare a financial statement and hire workers. Sample forms and examples of financial statements in clear English are provided.

Carol Topp, CPA

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Fraud in a homeschool group

HandsWithCash

 

I received a phone call from a homeschool support group leader that broke my heart. She had just learned that her treasurer had embezzled over $10,000 from her group during the past two years. Her tale was heartbreaking as she spoke of what painful lessons she had learned and how to go forward.

The leader saw a few things that tipped her off:

  • The treasurer’s business income had taken a recent financial hit making his personal finances in trouble.
  • No budget was created.
  • The treasurer was not detailed oriented.
  • The treasurer did the bank reconciliation, so no one else saw the bank statements.The checkbooks was kept locked in the treasurer’s business office and frequently inaccessible.
  • The leader had a difficult time getting the treasurer to write checks to members for expenses.
  • The treasurer was married to the vice chair, who was a close friend of the leader, so the leader was reluctant to confront her friends.
  • The board was small and few people were willing to volunteer, making the leader desperate and grateful when anyone said they would serve as treasurer.

Here is what the group is doing now:

  • Consulting with a lawyer about criminal prosecution.
  • Pursuing restitution from the treasurer.
  • Using a bank account with on-line access for visibility.
  • Having someone besides the treasurer do  the bank reconciliation.
  • Creating a budget.
  • Amending bylaws and policies to add accountability. The treasurer will be required to make financial report at every meeting.

I hope you never face a similar situation.

To prevent fraud in your homeschool group, follow the practices mentioned above and in my book Money Mangement for Homeschool Organizations which you can order from the Bookstore page.

I also offer an excerpt from the book, a list of Recommended Financial Practices in the Chapter titled Fraud: It Couldn’t Happen to Us. It’s so important that your homeschool group put in place good financial oversight that I’m offering that part of the book at no charge.

Carol Topp, CPA

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Homeschool field trip leader wants checks written to her (or she’ll quit!)

From looking at your book, Money Management in a Homeschool Organization, it appears that all field trip money should be run through the group’s account. Checks should be made out to the group, any cash receipted, then one check going out to pay for the field trip. This seems to be a real hassle, especially since trip attendance can change the day of the trip due to illness, etc.

After a year of not having field trips, a committee was put together, so now some are on the calendar. It was my belief that the above needed to be practiced. The leader refused. She wants the money paid to her, checks preferred, no receipts. This is how she operates another large homeschool prom she coordinates for another set of people. I was on the field trip team for years. This has never been done before! If we do not do it her way, she won’t do field trips.

I am new as Treasurer. I don’t know if we can do that, legally.

The other question it brings up is putting those field trips in our yearbook (we do a yearbook each year of our sports, activities, field trips). If they are not really functions of our group (which is what the leader is saying), can they be in yearbook? If they are in yearbook, does the money need to be run through the account and all that hassle?

Thank you so much!
Karen M Treasurer

 

Karen,

Thank you for contacting me. I’m glad to see you have read my book Money Management in a Homeschool Group  and are trying to be compliant with good money practices.

Yes, all field trip money should go through your homeschool group’s bank account. But in reality, sometimes it is easier to collect cash on the day of the event and pay for the field trip that day with cash. I understand that. But, as much as possible, if checks are collected they should be made out to your organization and deposited in the organization’s checking account.

It greatly concerns me that your field trip volunteer is demanding that checks be made out to her. That is a red flag! It looks suspicious. She is trying to direct money that belongs to your group to her (that’s called embezzlement!). Tell her that your group does not do things in an improper way just because another group does it that way. You are seeking to implement good financial practices and that means no checks for funds that that belong to the organization are written to a volunteer (i.e., her).

Tell her that if checks are written to her then:

1. It is personal income to her and needs to be included on her personal tax return (!) and
2. If checks are written to her then your homeschool organization is not sponsoring the trip and your insurance will not cover the event. Her personal insurance must cover the event (Get her to agree to #1 and #2 in writing!) and
3. If the checks are written to her, then this is not sponsored by your group and should not have your group’s name associated with the field trip or include it in the group’s yearbook.

This is less a legal issue than a moral, ethical problem. If a volunteer insists on checks written to her personally and threatens to quit her volunteer job if you don’t comply with her demands, you have an ethics problem.

I am concerned that her behavior and demands sound as if she is trying to embezzle money. Have nothing to do with her, at least as far as handling money goes.

If she threatens to quit leading field trips consider yourself fortunate!

For more help in managing the money in your homeschool group get my book Money Management in a Homeschool Organization or listen to these podcasts:

How to Handle Reimbursements

Can a Homeschool Group Collect Money Now for Next Year?

What Homeschool Leaders Don’t Know About Fundraisers

Carol Topp, CPA

P.S. I will be unavailable from October 24, 2017 through November 5, 2017. I will be on a long-desired trip to Israel, walking where Jesus walked! Thank you in advance for your patience as it will take me some time to catch up after I return.

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