Are You Helping or Hindering Parents to Homeschool?

 

You lead a homeschool group to help parents successfully homeschool, right? But could your homeschool program actually be hindering their success as a homeschool parents?

In this episode of the HomeschoolCPA podcast, Carol Topp will share:

  • How homeschool groups take on responsibilities that belong to the parent
  • Do you assume your parent, especially new ones, don’t know how to homeschool? Some homeschool program undermine confidence of homeschool parents
  • Some homeschool programs foster dependence on their program to homeschool successfully
  • Is your group too controlling?
  • Are your parents dependent on your group or program to successfully homeschool?
  • How to identify if you are helping or hindering parents

Here’s a quote from the podcast:

 “If your group is taking over the education of the children then you are not helping that parent, especially that mom, to homeschool successfully. You are actually hindering her. You are making her dependent on your group.”

Instead you should empower her to homeschool her kids on her own

If one of your parents says, “I couldn’t have homeschooled without your group!” you should reflect on this question:

If my group closed tomorrow would our parents still continue to joyfully and confidentially continue to homeschool?

I hope so!

Share your thoughts on the I am a Homeschool Group Leader Facebook group!

 

Do you have questions about running your homeschool group?

Start by reading the Articles or search the blog. For more detailed information visit the bookstore  and listen to HomeschoolCPA’s podcast.

If you want individual help, consider a phone consultation with Carol Topp, CPA

Phone Consultation: A pre-arranged phone call to discuss your questions. My most popular service for homeschool leaders. It’s like having your own homeschool expert CPA on the phone!

Cost: $75/hour to nonprofit organizations.  $100/hour to for-profit businesses. $60 minimum.

Q &A by Email:  I am willing to answer questions by email, but it is very time consuming to read and reply to emails. I charge a reduced rate of $50/hour to read and reply to emails. Minimum $25.

Contact HomeschoolCPA, Carol Topp, CPA, to arrange a telephone consultation.

Click Here to request more information!

Carol Topp, CPA

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Board member of a homeschool nonprofit feeling vulnerable!

I’m the president of a homeschool co-op. Am I personally liable if someone were to sue or come after the co-op? I already feel slightly vulnerable in this area as the president and having my signature on our building contract, etc.

Danielle,

Danielle,

As president your are an officer of our nonprofit organization and as an officer there are certain responsibilities that you carry more so than other board members and certainly more so than the co-op’s family participants.

With the authority comes responsibility.

But responsibility does not automatically mean personal liability, if you do your fiduciary duties and do not commit acts of gross negligence or fraud.

What are those fiduciary duties?

Duty of Care, Duty of Loyalty, Duty of Management and Duty of Compliance

To better understand these duties as board members and do them here’s some help:

A prudent board member can reduce the risk of lawsuits by understanding the duties and

  • incorporating as a nonprofit
  • obeying the bylaws and laws in general
  • carrying insurance
  • being educated on nonprofit duties and risk

To get educated, there are some excellent resources online for nonprofit boards like these:

Each of these websites have excellent resources to help you run your nonprofit.
Ultimately, feeling slightly vulnerable will probably force you to manage risk, do your duties, and run the organization properly, so that’s a good thing!
In other words, it keeps you on your toes to feel the weight of responsibility!
Carol Topp, CPA
HomeschoolCPA.com

Do financial reports confuse you?

Has this happened to you?

You are at your homeschool leaders meeting. The treasurer hands out a paper showing the group’s financial status. It’s confusing, hard to read, and has weird dollar signs and labels.

You’re too embarrassed to show your ignorance about the report, so you don’t ask any questions.

Neither does anyone else.

You’re wondering, “Am I the only one who finds this confusing? No one else asked any questions, so they must get it. I’ll just keep quiet and hope for the best.”

Good news! The problem isn’t you!

It’s probably the way the treasurer is displaying the financial report.

 

I’ve seen all kinds of financial reports from homeschool groups. Many are very confusing and difficult to understand (and I’m an accountant!).

This prompted me to offer a webinar for homeschool group leaders on how to present financial reports that are clear and easy to understand to board members.

During this webinar you will learn:

  • What are the two most important reports for your board to see regularly
  • What mistakes treasurers make
  • How to read a financial report
  • Know what red flags to look for
  • Know if your organization is healthy or doing poorly
  • How to a better manager and leader
  • Use the financial report to make decisions and set goals.

You will be shown the good, the bad and the ugly of financial reports.

Join me on Monday October 29 at 8 pm ET, 7 pm CT, 6 pm MT and 5 pm PT for a one-hour webinar

Financial Reports for Homeschool Groups: The Good, the Bad and the Ugly

 

(There is no charge, but a payment is gladly accepted to offset the cost of hosting the webinar).
https://Paypal.Me/CarolTopp/5 to pay $5.00
https://Paypal.Me/CarolTopp/10 to pay $10.00

The webinar will be recorded, so please Register  so that you will be emailed the link to the video.

The advantages of attending live:

  • Time for your questions and answers from Carol (Carol charges $75/hour for a private phone consultation)
  • Interact in the chat room with other homeschool leaders
  • It will get done! I know you have good intentions to watch the video later, but sometimes it just doesn’t happen.

Register now and join us on Monday October 29, 2018 at 8 pm ET, 7 pm CT, 6 pm MT and 5 pm PT

Like handouts? Here’s a helpful handout: Financial Reports Webinar Handout (pdf)

Carol Topp, CPA

HomeschoolCPA.com

Should your homeschool group be collecting sales tax?

Sales tax. Ugh!! As if dealing with the IRS and income tax isn’t enough of a headache, your homeschool organization might need to be collecting and paying sales tax as well!

From the Church Law and Tax blog comes some helpful information about sales tax that applies to homeschool organizations.

Sales taxes are collected in 44 states. Each state has a different sales tax statute and exempts certain types of purchasers from the payment of sales tax.

Some states exempt any organization with 501(c)(3) status from paying sales tax on purchases. Other states offer limited sales tax exemptions.

Collecting Sales Tax

But I’m not talking about paying sales tax when you buy stuff like paper towels or microscopes.

I’m talking about when your homeschool group sells stuff (aka tangible personal property).

What kind of stuff? How about:

  • Text books (some states exempt textbooks form sales tax.)
  • Tickets to drama performances (yes, some states add sales tax to ticket sales!!)
  • Food sales (in some states food sales, especially snack foods and soft drinks are sales-taxable)
  • T shirts, even if they are a fundraiser!

The rules for when an organization is exempt from collecting sales tax are different form the rules about paying sales tax.

Most states do not exempt churches from collecting sales tax on taxable transactions. As a result, a church that conducts taxable transactions is required to have a sales tax permit.

Most states have a nuisance exception to the requirement of having a sales tax permit, which allows churches to have taxable sales a couple of days a year without the requirement of collecting sales tax. Since every state is different, you should check with your state revenue department. (Source: https://www.churchlawandtax.com/web/2008/september/exceptions-to-exemption.html)

 

For example: In Ohio a homeschool co-op with 501(c)(3) tax exempt status can buy things (like books, supplies, etc) without paying sales tax.

But Ohio only allows nonprofits 5 days a year to hold sales without collecting sales tax. It’s kind of like they are saying, “use those 5 days wisely…you only get 5 sales-tax free days to sell stuff each year!” So maybe the co-op wants to have a big fundraising event and sell items. That’s one of the 5 days they can sell items and not have to collect sales tax.

 

Sales Tax on Fundraiser Sales

You may be thinking your homeschool group can avoid collecting sales tax because you only sell things as part of a fundraiser. Sorry, bed news…

Virtually any form of fundraiser that involves the sale of a product will also require the collection of sales tax. (Source: https://www.churchlawandtax.com/web/2008/september/exceptions-to-exemption.html)

Sales Tax Laws vary by State

Each state has different rules about how and what they apply sales tax to and what organizations can be exempt from collecting sales tax.

It will take some detective work to figure out what your state’s rules are! It’s one of the headaches of living in a country with 50 states (and Washington DC!).

How to Get Help

  • Start with your state’s department of revenue website. Look for words like “sales tax” and then “exemptions” Then look for words like “nonprofit” and “exemption.” Happy reading. The states don’t make it easy to find the exceptions to taxes!
  • Google “Sales tax exemption nonprofit YOUR STATE” and start hunting.
  • I find TaxJar.com and Avalara.com are two helpful websites with information on sales tax.
  • Contact me, Carol Topp, CPA. I’ve done the detective work for several states (about 30) and can sometimes help you or at least point you in the right direction. I charge a fee for this research of $50.

Carol Topp, CPA

HomeschoolCPA.com

Webinar: Financial Reports for Homeschool Groups

 

I’ve seen all kinds of financial reports from homeschool groups. Many are very confusing and difficult to understand (and I’m an accountant!).

So I am offering a webinar for homeschool group leaders on how to present financial reports that are clear and easy to understand to board members.

During this webinar you will learn:

  • How to read a financial report
  • Know what red flags to look for
  • What are the two most important reports for your board to see regularly
  • What mistakes treasurers make
  • Use the financial report to make decisions and set goals.

You will be shown the good, the bad and the ugly of financial reports.

 

Join me on Monday October 29 at 8 pm ET, 7 pm CT, 6 pm MT and 5pm PT for a one-hour webinar

Financial Reports for Homeschool Groups: The Good, the Bad and the Ugly

(no charge but a payment is gladly accepted to offset the cost of hosting he webinar).
https://Paypal.Me/CarolTopp/5 to pay $5.00
https://Paypal.Me/CarolTopp/10 to pay $10.00

The webinar will be recorded, so please Register so that you will be emailed the link to the video.

The advantages of attending live:

  • Time for your questions and answers from Carol (Carol charges $75/hour for a private phone consultation, so this is a bargain!)
  • Interact in the chat room with other homeschool leaders
  • It will get done! I know you have good intentions to watch the video later, but sometimes it just doesn’t happen.

Register now and join us on Monday October 29, 2018 at 8 pm ET, 7 pm CT, 6 pm MT and 5 pm PT

Like handouts? Here’s a helpful handout: Financial Reports Webinar Handout (pdf)

Carol Topp, CPA

HomeschoolCPA.com

Knowing Your Social Style Can Make Leadership Easier!

 

Sometimes leading a homeschool group means you are working with people who are very different from you.

They want to socialize and you want to get a meeting started.

They want to discuss every possible option and you want to make a decision.

They want to hurry up and vote and you want to make sure everyone has input.

How frustrating!

 

In today’s episode of the HomeschoolCPA podcast (13 minutes), host Carol Topp explains what she has learned about social styles.

In the podcast Carol mentioned …

Another tool to help you run a smooth and efficient board meeting is having an agenda. The Board Manual for homeschool organizations has sample agenda for you to use. I think you’ll find it helpful to organize your board and run your homeschool organization successfully!

The Homeschool Organization Board Manual has:

  • A list of important documents to keep in your binder
  • Section dividers so you can organize the important papers
  • Tools to help you run your meetings smoothly including
  • A sample agenda that you can use over and over again
  • A calendar of board meetings

But this is more than just a few cover sheets for your binder. It is also a 55-page board training manual with helpful articles on:

  • Suggested Board Meeting Topic List
  • Board Duties
  • Job Descriptions for Board of Directors
  • What Belongs in the Bylaws?
  • Compensation and Benefits for Board Members
  • Best Financial Practices Checklist
  • How to Read and Understand Financial Statements
  • Developing a Child Protection Policy

Read more about the Homeschool Organization Board Manual

Carol Topp, CPA

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QuickBooks tip for homeschool groups: Sales

 

Here’s a  tip for all you homeschool groups using QuickBooks (or something similar like Apolos or Wave)

In the homeschooling world don’t usually think of our members as “customers” but that’s what QuickBooks calls them.

Members = Customers

We also don’t think of collecting registration dues or field trip fees as “sales” but that’s what QuickBooks calls it when you collect money and provide a service.

Registration Fees = Sales Income

Field Trip fees = Sales Income

Co-op Class fees = Sales Income

You should set up several categories on your Chart of Accounts for different types of Income. You may want to change the titles of Income accounts in QuickBooks to match your program. So instead of “Sales” Use “Program Income” or just plain “Income”

Make use of subaccounts under Income for things like

  • Membership dues
  • Co-op Tuition
  • Field Trips Income
My book Money Management in a Homeschool Organization  has some tips for using Quickbooks like setting up a Chart of Accounts and a who are your “Customers” and what are your “Sales.”

Carol Topp, CPA

HomeschooCPA.com

 

 

Deliberately Mentoring Leaders: How Do You Do It?

 

One of the best things about being in a homeschool group is the community of support you can receive. But do you know how to build a sense of community?

In this short podcast episode (11 minutes)  Carol Topp, the HomeschoolCPA, interviews homeschool leader Sheri Payne from Virginia. Sheri is the Director of Leader Support for HEAV, the Home Education Association of Virginia. She shares advice on many topics including how she deliberately trained and mentored other leaders.

In this episode of the HomeschoolCPA podcast, Carol Topp and Sheri discuss:

  • Holding regular meetings of leaders
  • The importance of being constantly in communication
  • Asking hypothetical questions to train your replacement
  • Let your leaders make mistakes and learn from them (just like parenting!)

My favorite quote from Sheri in this episode is, “We were constantly in communication.”

Be sure to tune into the other HomeschoolCPA podcast episodes with Sheri Payne including:

  • How to Start a Virtual Homeschool Co-op #143
  • Why You Can’t Lead Alone # 142

In the podcast, Carol mentioned the I Am a Homeschool Group Leader Facebook Group. It is a closed group (meaning you have to request to join) of 570 homeschool leaders from across the USA. You can join us here: https://www.facebook.com/groups/72534255742/

 

Phone Consultation with Carol Topp, CPA

Do you have questions about leading your homeschool organization? Carol Topp’s website, books and this podcast are a great way to learn the basics, but maybe you need advice specific to your group. Carol Topp, CPA can arrange a private phone consultations with you and your board members.

Phone Consultation: A pre-arranged phone call to discuss your questions. My most popular service for homeschool leaders. It’s like having your own homeschool expert CPA on the phone!

Cost: $75/hour to nonprofit organizations.

We can arrange a conference call so all your board members can call in from their own homes. The call can be recorded for those unable to attend.

Contact HomeschoolCPA, Carol Topp, CPA, to arrange a telephone consultation.

Click Here to request more information!

Carol Topp, CPA

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Should a Classical Conversations Director be an LLC?

I am a CC director. I am not sure what is the best option when it comes to register our community. A LLC or as a Sole Proprietor? Thank you so much for your help.

Maria

 

Maria,

By default, if you are the only owner of your business, you are a sole proprietor. You could consider adding LLC status to your sole proprietorship business if you want the limited liability protections that LLC status offers.

The reason that most businesses use the LLC structure is for limited liability. That means the liability is limited to your business and its assets and not your personal assets. I organized my own sole proprietorship accounting practice as an LLC  because I wanted limited liability and protection of my personal assets. LLC status can be added to your sole proprietorship business at any time. I ran my accounting business for 3 years and then added LLC status.

I recommend that you read up on LLC status, how to get it, maintain it (there are things you should do like not co-mingle funds and sign contracts in the name of the LLC, etc) , and what is required in your state regarding fees and reports. Some states charge a one-time fee, some charge a yearly fee and annual reports.

 

Since this is a website mainly for homeschool nonprofit organizations, I will add this note: For a nonprofit organization, such as most homeschool groups, I typically do not recommend LLC status since nonprofit corporation status in your state brings similar protections of limited liability. 

Here is a podcast episode where I discuss Should Your Homeschool Group Be An LLC?

 

But Maria is asking about LLC status for her for-profit business, not a nonprofit organization, and my advice to her may be very different from my advice to a nonprofit organization.

 

Carol Topp, CPA

I am not an attorney, nor am I offering legal advice. I recommend that you seek legal counsel if you have additional questions about Limited Liability Company status.

 

Why You Can’t Lead Alone

 

What’s the biggest mistake homeschool leaders make? It’s trying to be a lone wolf and do everything by yourself.

In this short podcast episode (11 minutes)  Carol Topp, the HomeschoolCPA, interviews homeschool leader Sheri Payne from Virginia. Sheri is the Director of Leader Support for HEAV, the Home Education Association of Virginia. She shares advice on many topics including the mistakes she made in leading a homeschool organization.

In this episode of the HomeschoolCPA podcast, Carol Topp and Sheri discuss:

  • Her biggest mistake as a leader: doing everything by herself
  • The importance of getting a team
  • Finding people who are good in areas you lack
  • Peace-making and conflict resolution
  • Training you successor and deliberately mentoring leaders

My favorite quote from Sheri in this episode is “I can’t be a lone wolf because I have deficiencies in my personality.”

Be sure to tune into the other HomeschoolCPA podcast episodes with Sheri Payne including:

In the podcast, Carol mentioned the I Am a Homeschool Group Leader Facebook Group. It is a closed group (meaning you have to request to join) of 570 homeschool leaders from across the USA. You can join us here: https://www.facebook.com/groups/72534255742/

Help your homeschool group get organized and run smoothly!

Author and homeschool advisor, Carol Topp, CPA, has created a Homeschool Organization Board Manual. It is a template to create a board member binder. It has:

  • A list of important documents to keep in your binder
  • Section dividers so you can organize the important papers
  • Tools to help you run your meetings smoothly including
  • A sample agenda that you can use over and over again
  • A calendar of board meetings

But this is more than just a few cover sheets for your binder. It is also a 55-page board training manual with helpful articles on:

  • Suggested Board Meeting Topic List
  • Board Duties
  • Job Descriptions for Board of Directors
  • What Belongs in the Bylaws?
  • Compensation and Benefits for Board Members
  • Best Financial Practices Checklist
  • How to Read and Understand Financial Statements
  • Developing a Child Protection Policy

Read more about the Homeschool Organization Board Manual

Carol Topp, CPA

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