Why this blog?

11 Aug

August 11, 2012

One December morning in 1993 I walked through the front door of a small house museum in Philadelphia called the Rosenbach Museum & Library.  The then executive director of this nonprofit museum had summoned me through a mutual friend at a large Philadelphia foundation to help him with with his accounting and financial reporting.  Thus began what would for me become a lifelong (twenty years and counting as of the date of this writing) odyssey working with and helping nonprofit organizations.

I had only months before started an accounting practice called Your Part-Time Controller, LLC, (YPTC) the goal of which, as the name suggests, was originally intended to help for-profit businesses with their financial activities on a part-time basis.  I am a Wharton graduate (BS in Economics, major in accounting), a CPA, and have worked as a public accountant, an external auditor, an internal corporate auditor, assistant controller, and controller.

It was that fateful visit to the Rosenbach, however, which changed my professional life.  In the ensuing months my work there opened my eyes to the world of nonprofits.  I learned the nonprofit accounting rules and requirements; attended board, executive, and finance committee meetings; interacted with staff, board members, funders, grant writers, government agency officials; and learned from auditors.  Most significantly, I began to be introduced to other nonprofit organizations that needed my help.

What started as me working out of my house has turned into a modest sized organization assisting nonprofit organizations in Washington, Philadelphia, and New York City.  We help our clients to be better at what they do by making sure they have the necessary financial infrastructure to support their operations.  We not only help them do the work, we also teach their staff to be better at doing the work.  Our clients often tell us that our biggest contribution to them is to help them “sleep at night” knowing that whatever other challenges they face running their organizations, at least their financial departments are under control.

My work with nonprofits has become more than a job.  It is both my vocation and my avocation.  I work with nonprofits, I serve on their boards, I network with nonprofit leaders and thinkers, I teach about them at the university level and in other venues, I read about them, I write about them, I think about them, and I donate to them.

The learning continues.  Hardly a week goes by that something new does not come up.  Our clients at YPTC are constantly teaching me new things by what they do, or by what they should have done, or by things they should not have done.  Our staff of professionals are a constant source of learning for me too as they constantly teach me about what they are experiencing.

Which brings me to the reason for this blog.

As our little accounting firm, YPTC, approaches its 20th anniversary year,  perhaps I have learned a thing or two about nonprofit financial “best practices” that might be helpful to you.

If you serve on a nonprofit board, if you are an executive director, or if you work for a nonprofit in some other role, whether as a staff member, a volunteer, or a vendor, read on!

Thank you.  Comments are welcome.

Eric Fraint

President and Founder

Your Part-Time Controller, LLC

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