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.

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

 

The webinar was recorded and you can watch it on YouTube

 

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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Holding a fundraiser to pay for homeschool curriculum

Photo credit TheMagicOnions.com

 

I homeschool my 3 children and 3 children of another family. As a project, we learned how to create a school website and as a idea to raise money for curriculum, supplies and hopefully a field trip or two. We’re in NC and also considered a private school.

We thought of an idea to sell Fairy Gardens that we personally make and accept donations on our website. Am I breaking any laws by not being registered as a business or non profit? 100% of profits will be spent on the school, but it goes to my own PayPal account and I state on the website that receipts for the donation being spent on the school and states that the donations are not tax deductible.

It dawned on me that it might not be allowed to do this without some kind of permit. I’m not sure though because I would be allowed to make fairy gardens and sell at a yard sale, so is it different if I sold them online?

Also, can I be a non-profit since I homeschool the children of two families and not just my own? I would greatly appreciate your feedback on this and thank you so much for all of the knowledgeable information you’ve shared on your site!

Best wishes,

April in North Carolina

 

 

April,
You and the other family are not a nonprofit organization, even if North Carolina classifies your homeschool as a private school. Private school  only means you are not funded with public (i.e. government) funds. It does not make you or your business a nonprofit organization. (BTW, some private schools are for-profit businesses.)

In order to be a tax exempt nonprofit, the IRS says you must be operated and organized as a nonprofit.

A tax exempt nonprofit organization “must not be organized or operated for the benefit of private interests” (Source: https://www.irs.gov/charities-non-profits/charitable-organizations/exemption-requirements-section-501c3-organizations).

So benefiting only you and the other family is “private interests” and not serving a public good, therefore you cannot be a nonprofit organization with only two families getting all the benefits.

Your fairy garden business is NOT a nonprofit. It is a business, probably a micro business. Stop calling your sales “donations.” They are simply sales of products (fairy gardens in your case) by a business.

You probably need to register in North Carolina as a business and probably get a vendors license to collect and pay sales tax.
Better start googling “Start a small business in North Carolina.”

 

My books Micro Business for Teens could help your children start this as their business (not yours) and learn a lot too!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Additionally, your comment about selling your products at a yard sale is not quite correct. You can sell fairy gardens at a yard sale, but then you’re running a business and the profit is taxable. In yard sales, you are generally selling household items you bought over many years and used personally and selling them for less than you paid for them. But that’s not true for your fairy gardens. You did not use them personally and you are selling them at a profit, so it’s a business and you should register it and apply for a vendor’s license.

 

Carol Topp, CPA

Leading a Virtual Homeschool Co-op

 

Homeschool families are pretty familiar with homeschool co-ops. It’s a gathering of homeschool families to cooperate together in teaching classes. They usually meet once a week at a location close to the participating families. But have you ever heard of a virtual homeschool co-op?

In today’s podcast Carol Topp interviews homeschool leader Sheri Payne who runs a virtual homeschool co-op that meets online. Participants attend from across the globe!

In this short podcast episode (18 minutes) of the HomeschoolCPA podcast,  Sheri explains:

• How the virtual co-op works
• What technology is used
• How to operate it without cost to the parents
• The advantages of a virtual co-op
• The disadvantages of co-oping online remotely and online

In the podcast Carol mentioned …

Homeschool Co-ops:
How to Start Them, Run Them and not Burn Out

Have you ever thought about starting a homeschool co-op? Are you afraid it will be too much work? Do you think you’ll have to do it all by yourself? Starting a homeschool co-op can be easy! This book Homeschool Co-ops: How to Start Them, Run Them and Not Burn Out will give you ideas, inspiration, tips, wisdom and the tools you need to start a homeschool co-op, run it and not burn out!

Carol Topp, CPA

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Hybrid Homeschool Programs: How to Use Them Successfully

 

The Old Schoolhouse magazine published an article I wrote on article I wrote on hybrid homeschool programs

Hybrid homeschool programs are a mix of education done at home and classes outsourced to:

  • online classes
  • a homeschool drop-off program
  • a homeschool tutorial or university-model program
  • classes at a local private or public school or college

In the article I discuss the popularity of hybrid programs and the challenges as well.

Then I conclude with some advice and warnings including:

  • delaying hybrid classes until age junior high or older
  • delaying hybrid programs until you’ve been homeschooling a year or two.
  • a reminder that you can successfully homeschool without using a hybrid program!

I thought long and hard before writing that advice.

I may get some push back on my recommendations, but having seen homeschooling grow and change over the years, I’m trying hard to encourage homeschooling parents to embrace the freedom and joy that comes from educating your children–especially the young ones–yourself!

Don’t let a hybrid program steal that freedom and the joy!

Read the article here: Hybrid Homeschool Programs article

Carol Topp, CPA

What’s a Good Way to Handle Conflicts in a Homeschool Group?

 

Conflict, hurt feeling, gossip, even bullying. Does it happen in your homeschool group Probably!  What can you do about it?

In this short podcast episode (13 minutes)  Carol Topp, the HomeschoolCPA, interviews homeschool leader Anjoli Gallo. Anjoli runs a group in southern Florida and she shares insight into dealing with conflict.  But she also shares some great tips on how she manages her time so leading a group doesn’t take over her life.

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 530 homeschool leaders from across the USA. You can join us here: https://www.facebook.com/groups/72534255742/

 

Is there conflict in your homeschool group? Need help managing the volunteers in your organization? Carol Topp’s book Homeschool Co-ops: How to Start Them, Run Them and not Burn Out has a chapter devoted to managing volunteers and conflict!

 

Homeschool Co-ops:
How to Start Them, Run Them and not Burn Out

This book Homeschool Co-ops: How to Start Them, Run Them and Not Burn Out will give you ideas, inspiration, tips, wisdom and the tools you need to start a homeschool co-op, run it and not burn out!

Click Here to request more information!

 

Carol Topp, CPA

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