Search Results for: software

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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Accounting software recommendations for homeschool groups

I am thinking we will need to get QuickBooks to manage our finances.  Do we you recommend the nonprofit version?  I have not looked much into this yet.  Any input is greatly appreciated.

Nancy in CA

 

Nancy,

I don’t think you need the Nonprofit version of QuickBooks. Usually the Pro version is sufficient. The Nonprofit edition is helpful if you receive a grant and need to track grant expenses.

I usually recommend online accounting software instead of purchasing a desktop version. Online accounting means that several people can access your accounting records from their home computers. That’s very important. It also downloads your bank transactions automatically!

I recommend:

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.

 

I discuss software options in a chapter in Money Management in a Homeschool Organization,
Cover Money Mgmt HS Org

Carol Topp, CPA

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Parents paying homeschool teachers is getting cumbersome

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Hello Carol,

I am the Executive Director of a 501(c)3 non-profit homeschool co-op. We have always had all parents pay teachers directly for classes. Of course the number of checks written by members each semester,and unraveling the missing/lost checks each semester along with the myriad of other payment mysteries has prompted to us to wonder if we can have all parents submit the teacher payments to our group, then we cut a check to each teacher.

We would essentially gather all the money and then direct it to each teacher. One check from each parent for all their children’s classes, and one check to each teacher for all the classes they are teaching.

Can we do this?

Holly

Holly,

Thank you for contacting me.

Yes, you can collect all the payments from parents and then pay the teachers. This is how many homeschool groups, private schools, and college operate. But there are some things to warn you about:

1. Managing more money means you need good accounting software (links to some of my blog posts with software recommendations), one that can invoice parents and track who has paid and who still owes.

2. Additionally, since you have a lot more income, you may have crossed an IRS threshold and now need to be filing the annual Form 990 or 990-EZ (YouTube video explaining which form you need to file).

3. Worker classification. You need to determine if the teachers are employees or  Independent Contractors (opens a blog post series on worker status). This is not an easy determination to make. You need to consider many factors.


My book, Paying Workers in a Homeschool Organization. helps homeschool leaders determine if their teachers are employees, Independent Contractors or something else.

I also offer phone consultations to help you determine if your homeschool organization’s workers are employees or independent contractors. The phone call will be followed up with an email containing a fact-based determination and information to help you take the next steps. Worker Classification consultation.

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Carol Topp, CPA
HomeschoolCPA.com
Helping Homeschool Leaders

Political restrictions on 501c3 status. Should homeschool group not get 501c3 status?

Do you have an article on the pros and cons of tax exemption? I’m thinking we would like to just incorporate with the state and not apply for tax exemption. I don’t like the restrictions on endorsements for tax exemption.
-Gretchen

Dear Gretchen,

Most homeschool groups apply for 501c3 tax exempt status as educational organization for the benefits it brings.

Main pros of 501c3 status are:

1. Tax exemption. Not paying federal or state income tax. Sometimes exempt on state sales tax and property tax too.

2. Can accept tax deductible donations

3. Discounts and some programs only available to 501c3s like Box Tops, TechSoup software, use of libraries, churches, etc.

Main cons are:

1. Time and money to apply and maintain tax exempt status (but paying taxes takes time and money too!)

2. No endorsement of candidates for public office

It’s this last issue that concerns Gretchen. She wants her homeschool group to be able to endorse political candidates. But endorsing political candidates is prohibited by 501c3 organizations.

501c3 nonprofits can lobby on behalf of legislation, but endorsing a candidate is not allowed. I for one would not want my local homeschool group to endorse a candidate. It can be too divisive. Of course, any member can endorse a candidate, just not the organization.

The reason for this restriction is so that tax deductible donations that the 501c3 nonprofit receives will not be used for political campaigns. The donations are to be used for the nonprofit’s mission, but not to bolster the coffers of a political candidate. Additionally, American taxpayers can contribute to a candidate, but the IRS does not think that entitles them to a tax deduction. I agree with this reasoning. I don’t think nonprofits with 501c3 status should be using their funds or time to support a political candidate.

Most homeschool organizations find they can live with this limitation and enjoy the benefits of 501c3 status.

Some state-wide homeschool groups have tax exempt status as 501c4 Public Benefit Organizations so that they can endorse homeschool friendly candidates. 501c4 Public Benefit Organizations can be politically active and endorse candidates, but contributions to a 501c4 Public Benefit Organizations are not tax deductible donations.


For more information on the advantages and disadvantages of 501c3 tax exempt status for homeschool groups, please read:

Start with Do we need 501c3 status?
My book The IRS and Your Homeschool Organization


Carol Topp, CPA
HomeschoolCPA.com
Helping Homeschool Leaders

What do the Duties of Care and Loyalty look like?

HomeschoolCPA Carol Topp frequently mentions that homeschool leaders have a duty of care and loyalty to their groups. What does a duty of care look like? How does a leader know know if she is being loyal?

This is the second part of a 4-part series on tips for homeschool leaders a workshop given to homeschool leaders in Austin Texas in February 2020.

Some of the ways to demonstrate a duty of care and loyalty for a leader include:

  • Have Board meetings
  • Manage the money well
  • Have insurance
  • Avoiding conflict of interest
  • No self dealing (the board gives itself discounts)

In the 4 part podcast series Carol discusses:

  • Episode #203   Leader mindset and attitudes
  • Episode # 204 What do the duties of care and loyalty look like?
  • Episode # 205  The duty of compliance with the laws for nonprofit organizations
  • Episode #206 Managing records and finances in you homeschool group

Each episode can be found at HomeschoolCPA.com/Podcast.

Handout of the workshop: https://homeschoolcpa.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/11/Top-Tips-Handout-2020.docx

Helpful Resources

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.


A checklist of best practices to avoid embezzlement. It is available at HomeschoolCPA.com/Fraud

Podcast # 105 Podcast episode on preventing fraud

How to avoid self-dealing. The board cannot vote themselves benefits like discounts.  Listen to Podcast #71 on how to thank volunteers without self-dealing.

Carol Topp, CPA
HomeschoolCPA.com
Helping Homeschool Leaders

A budget can reduce stress

 

As a homeschool leader, are you “a people person” and hate dealing with numbers or a budget? Do numbers or a budget stresses you out?

Numbers on a budget can help homeschool leaders plan and look to the future. A budget can do a lot to reduce stress.

If you make a plan and know what might be coming, it will help you set priorities.

 

I’m writing this during the COVID-19 pandemic, something none of us planned for!  But hopefully, we will be returning to “normal” (whatever that will look like!) sometime soon.

Aren’t we glad that many scientists and hospitals had already made pandemic plans? Yes, we have had shortages and problems, but we’ve coped a lot better because some leaders made plans.

A budget helps you and your leadership team ask yourselves :

  • What is important to us in our group? Is it cost, convenience or quality? You cannot offer all three! Choose two.
  • Is it important that we keep the cost extremely low? A budget that aims for low cost is going to be a very different budget than one aiming for top quality.

Good, easy and cheap. Your homeschool program cannot offer all three!

A budget helps you focus, plan, and set your group’s priorities.   So, believe it or not–having a budget might sound like it is a limiting thing, and some people don’t like budgets. But instead a budget can bring great freedom and relief from a lot of stress.  


If you need help establishing a budget, start with my article  Budgeting basics

And consider ordering my book Money Management for Homeschool Organizations.

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
HomeschoolCPA.com
Helping Homeschool Leaders

Top 10 Tips for Homeschool Leaders: Preventing Fraud

 

Let’s hope fraud or embezzlement never happens in your homeschool group! Do you have safeguards to spot it and prevent it?

In the podcast Carol mentions her list of “Best Practices to Prevent Fraud.” Find it here.

 

This is the third part of a 5-part series on Top 10 Tips for Running a Homeschool Group, a workshop given to homeschool leaders in Wichita, Kansas. You will probably find many of the audience questions would be a question you might ask as well!

Each episode can be found at HomeschoolCPA.com/Podcast. In the 5 part podcast series Carol will cover:

Episode # 180 Board duties

Episode # 181 Bylaws

Episode # 182 Preventing fraud

Episode # 183 Paying Workers

Episode # 184 Insurance and Record keeping

 

You might find Carol’s podcast series for Tiny Homeschool groups helpful

Tiny Homeschool Groups: Are We a Nonprofit?

 

Featured Resource

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.

Click here for more information

 

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Tiny Homeschool Groups: Do We Need a Bank Account?

Tiny Homeschool Groups: Do We Need a Bank Account?

Tiny homeschool groups have different challenges than large programs. They are limited on resources, volunteers, and activities. But they still have questions about legal status, money and taxes that the large homeschool organizations have.

In this 4-part podcast series, Carol Topp, CPA answers the common questions that tiny homeschool groups face. All podcasts are available at HomeschoolCPA.com/Podcast

  • Episode #175 Are We a Nonprofit?
  • Episode #176 Do We Need to File Anything?
  • Episode #177 Do We Need to Pay Taxes?
  • Episode #178 Do We Need a Bank Account?

In this episode Carol Topp will explain when a tiny homeschool group might need to open a checking account.

  • The pros and cons of operating in cash and without a checking account
  • Warning against using a personal checking account
  • Steps to take before opening a checking account

Join the Facebook group for homeschool leaders: I am a Homeschool Group Leader. 600+ homeschool leaders offer ideas, encouragement and respectful exchange of ideas. https://www.facebook.com/groups/72534255742/

 

Featured Product

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.

Click here for more information

 

New tax deduction for homeschool teachers and tutors in 2018!

Congratulations homeschool business owners which may include homeschool co-op teachers, directors and tutors! There is a new tax deduction that you are (probably) entitled to take on your 2018 tax return!

It’s called the Qualified Business Income (QBI) Deduction.

The QBI tax deduction is equal to 20% of your profit from a “qualified business.”

Tutoring and teaching are both a “qualified businesses” if operated as anything except a C corporation.

If your taxable income is less than $157,500 for a single person or $315,000 for married filing joint, you can claim the 20% QBI tax deduction (even if you are one of the not qualified businesses I listed). If your income is more than those thresholds, your deduction will be phased out.

There are some additional restrictions and complications, especially if your business is an S Corporation, pays wages to employees, or if you have several businesses. So consult your tax professional if those situations apply to you.

 The Qualified Business Income Deduction is found on Line 9 of the 2018 Form 1040. so look for it!

Your tax prep software may not calculate the deduction automatically; you may have to answer some questions to trigger the deduction.

This deduction is for business owners, but not for employees.

Need more help preparing your tax return for 2018 this year?

There is a lot to learn about running a business. I don’t mean to discourage you or anyone else away from operating a homeschool business. You provide a valuable service to homeschool families! I am offering this webinar to help you understand the tax implications:

Carol, thank you again for the webinar. It was one of the BEST webinars I’ve EVER attended. If you do hold another one, I would pay for it hands down.  Totally worth the $10! -Denise, webinar attendee

“I actually don’t care for webinars at all – it is not my learning style at all and I struggle to focus, but this one was extremely value and had my attention”. -Mary, webinar attendee

The webinar was recorded and you can access the recording and slide handout at HomeschoolCPA.com/HSBIZTAXES for a small fee of $10.

Carol Topp, CPA
HomeschoolCPA.com
Helping homeschool leaders

Tips for a New Homeschool Group Treasurer

 

Amanda’s been secretary of her homeschool group, Heartland Homeschool Association in southeast Missouri. But she agreed to a new role as treasurer.

In this short podcast episode (12 minutes)  Carol Topp, the HomeschoolCPA, and Amanda will discuss:

  • Keeping a master file of important papers
  • Having a calendar at every board meeting
  • What a homeschool organization’s treasurer does
  • A really good policy for new treasurers
  • How often a treasurer should give a report
  • Possible software systems for homeschool groups
  • How to get a free copy of Quickbooks online. Use Quickbooks online for free

 

In the podcast Carol mentioned …

 

Does your homeschool board know and understand its duties?

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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