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The CARES Act and The Stafford Act and the Impact on Local Governments

By Timothy Sawyer, CPA, CGMA , Partner

As we navigate through these unprecedented times, practice our social distancing, and adapt to the changes associated with a more virtual work environment it is important to have access to information and resources.  The news has focused on the recent aid packages and what they can do for the economy, but what assistance is available for our local governments (Counties, Cities, Towns, Boroughs, Townships, School Districts, etc.)?

The Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act, or CARES Act was signed into law on March 27, 2020.  The CARES Act provides relief to several groups impacted by the coronavirus pandemic and provides $2 trillion in aid, broken down as follows:

  • Individuals $560 billion
  • Big corporations $500 billion
  • State and Local governments $339.8 billion
  • Small businesses $377 billion
  • Public health $153.5 billion
  • Education/Other $43.7 billion
  • Safety net $26 billion

For state and local governments, the $339.8 billion in aid includes:

  • $274 billion toward specific COVID-19 response efforts, including$150 billion in direct aid for those state and local governments running out of cash because of a high number of cases.
  • $14 billion for higher education
  • $13 billion for K-12 schools
  • $5.3 billion for programs for children and families, including immediate assistance to childcare centers
  • $5 billion of Community Block Grants

In addition to the aid available to state and local governments through the CARES Act, for the first time in history, the Robert T. Stafford Disaster Relief and Emergency Assistance Act (“the Stafford Act”) has been invoked for a health pandemic to address the size and scale of COVID-19’s impact on the United States.  The Stafford Act provides federal funding to aid the response to the COVID-19 response.

At least ten Federal Agencies (DHS, HHS, DOE, DOC, HUD, FCC, DOA, DOJ, DOL, DOT) will issue COVID-19 related grants pursuant to HR6074, HR6201 and HR748 and the emergency declaration. The specific requirements for each grant will vary, but will be governed by cost principles and administrative requirements in Title II of the Code of Federal Regulations (2CFR), including:

  • Allowable and Unallowed Costs
  • Procurement Rules
  • Audit Requirements
  • Monitoring & Reporting
  • Indirect Costs

Under the Stafford Act, local governments, are eligible to receive federal grants under the act.  There are four categories of eligible areas under the Act that a local government can receive assistance from:

  1. Activities to reduce immediate threats to public health and safety – EOC Costs, Training, Disinfection of Public Facilities
  2. Emergency Medical Care – Temporary medical facilities, Hospital Surge Capacity, Treatment in a temporary facility, EM Transport
  3. Medical Sheltering – Only when existing facilities become or expect to be overloaded in the future and cannot meet needs
  4. Other Essentials – Pet shelters, Food-Water-Medicine, PPE, Security, Law Enforcement, Communication, Search and Rescue

Things for state and local governments to consider when seeking assistance under the Stafford Act include that the federal cost is set at 75% with the remaining to be covered by the state or local government. Most importantly, the request for public assistance must be made within 30 days of the disaster declaration.

Since state and local governments must react quickly in seeking federal assistance, remember these key steps:

  • Establish Program Governance
    • Get educated on available funding sources, compliance rules, and timelines.
    • Assess organizational capabilities and gaps.
    • Define staff roles and responsibilities
  • Funding Application
    • Evaluate funding sources, state/local shares and organizational impact.
    • Register and request public assistance.
    • Minimize duplication of benefits and audit risks.
  • Policies and Procedures
    • Develop grant management standard operating procedures.
    • Establish process and IT Controls.
    • Enable financial systems t track transactions by funding source.
  • Grant Operations
    • Execute and manage the reimbursement process
    • Maintain compliance with grant regulations
    • Perform financial reconciliations
    • Monitor and report KPIs
  • Reporting and Closeout
    • Organize grant files and compliance with grant rules.
    • Determine and document final claims.
    • Respond to OIG audits and grantee monitoring visits.

Finally, here are some tips and leading practices that can be done now to mitigate some of the long-term challenges of managing FEMA grants.

  • Track your costs by configuring your financial system to include “job codes” for COVID costs by site or projects.
  • Designate an interdepartmental COVID-19 team that understands the Stafford Act guidelines and compliance rules.
  • Track your inventory by pulling inventory records as of the date the entity began preparations for COVID-19
  • Segregate staff time between overtime related to COVID-9 response activities and regular time
  • Track time for temporary employees hired specifically for COVID-19 related activities
  • Do not duplicate efforts from FEMA grant funds with assistance received from HHS or CDC
  • Avoid cost plus percentage contracts, piggybacking, unreasonable procurements and prohibited contract clauses.
  • Prepare justification memo for noncompetitive procurements during the exigency period
  • Conduct cost analysis for procurements over the simplified federal acquisition threshold
  • Track direct administrative cost with sufficient level of activity level details to maximize grant reimbursements.
  • Follow the rules of HHS and CDC for medical sheltering and comply with EHP regulations.
  • Account for donated resources for cost share considerations.

If you have additional questions or need assistance, contact us at Barbacane, Thornton & Company and we will assist in any way that we can to answer your questions or help find answers.

Barbacane, Thornton & Company is a highly regarded, regional certified public accounting and consulting firm specializing in auditing and tax services for government agencies and nonprofits.

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BTCPA - CARES Act

CARES Act: Understanding the Paycheck Protection Provision (SBA 7(a) Loan Program

By Pamele W. Baker, CPA, CGFM 

CARES Act: Understanding the Paycheck Protection Provision (SBA 7(a) Loan Program

The Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act signed into law on March 27 provides $349 billion in funding for the Small Business Administration (SBA) in an effort to provide assistance and relief to America’s nonprofits struggling under the weight of COVID-19. The Act included a paycheck protection provision  by providing additional funding to the SBA for specific areas of need and expanding the SBA’s 7(a) loan program.

What are the changes to the 7(a) Loan Program?

In an expansion of the SBA 7(a) loan program, the CARES Act allows the SBA to serve as temporary guarantor for 100% of 7(a) loans of up to $10 million for nonprofits and small businesses to maintain payrolls and pay off debts. Previously, the SBA could only serve as guarantor for 75% to 85% of 7(a) loans depending on the type of loan.

Who is eligible?

Those eligible for the paycheck protection program include small businesses, nonprofit organizations, veteran organizations, and tribal businesses with less than 500 total employees (including full-time, part-time, and any other status) in operation on February 15, 2020. For the hospitality and food industries where multiple locations may result in over 500 employees, an exception was made to allow for up to 500 employees per physical location.

Sole proprietors, independent contractors, and eligible self-employed individuals are also covered under this provision. Limitations apply for those making more than $100,000.

How do I qualify?

Nonprofits that qualify as a result of COVID-19 include those adversely affected by:

  • Supply change disruptions
  • Staffing challenges
  • A decrease in gross receipts or customers (donors)
  • Closure

Applicants must certify they have been adversely affected by COVID-19, that they intend to take out only one paycheck protection program loan, and that they will use it for the designated purposes.

How much can I receive?

Most eligible applicants should receive approximately two months-worth of payroll costs. Loans will be determined based on the average total monthly payments for payroll costs incurred in the 12 months preceding the date the loan is made and multiplied by 2.5. In the case of seasonal employers, the average will be based on the 12-week period beginning on February 15, 2019. For any employer who was not in business between February 19, 2019, and June 30, 2019, the calculations will be based on your average monthly payments for payroll between January 1, 2020, and February 29, 2020. The covered period for the loan is from February 15, 2020, ending June 30, 2020, and the maximum interest rate for these loans has been capped at 4%. 

What can I use loan money for?

Eligible recipients may use the loans to cover payroll costs, costs related to the continuation of health care benefits, such as paid sick, medical and family leave, employee salaries and commissions, rent, utilities, interest, or other debt obligations.

Am I required to provide a personal guarantee?

No, a personal guarantee will not be required, and no collateral shall be required for the loan.

Do I need to pay the loan back?

As outlined in the CARES Act, loans will be forgiven if the business or organization maintains the same number of average employees and as long as wages are not reduced by more than 25% during the covered period, which is the eight-week period beginning with the origination of the loan. The amount forgiven cannot exceed the principal amount of the loan.

Should there be any reduction in loan forgiveness, the recipient will be required to pay back the loan and may owe interest as outlined in their agreement.

Am I eligible if I rehire employees?

Yes. If a business or organization has laid off or furloughed employees and rehires them, they may still be eligible for the loan depending on the timing. If the timing of rehire falls outside of the covered periods, the amount of loan forgiveness may be adjusted.

How do I apply?

To apply for the 7(a) loan program, you must contact a bank, not the SBA. The SBA lists their most active 7(a) lenders on their website at https://www.sba.gov/article/2020/mar/02/100-most-active-sba-7a-lenders. If you have a current relationship with one of these lenders, start there. The loan will be issued at the bank’s discretion. Loan applications will be available through the lending institutions. The treasury and SBA expect to have this program up and running by April 3rd.

Loan Terms and Conditions

All loans under this program will have identical terms:

  • Interest rate of .5%
  • Maturity of 2 years
  • First payment deferred for six months
  • 100% guarantee by the SBA
  • No collateral or personal guarantees
  • No borrower or lender fees paid to the SBA

Once final application guidance is released, businesses can begin submitting applications for these loans. For assistance with this program contact Barbacane, Thornton & Company LLP.

Note: The SBA has several loans available. Many people have already applied for the Disaster Relief Loans already available. The 7(a) loans are different and separate from that loan.

Barbacane, Thornton & Company LLP is a highly regarded, regional

certified public accounting and consulting firm specializing in auditing and
tax services for government agencies and nonprofits. For more information about
Barbacane, Thornton & Company LLP, please call (302) 478-8940 or visit
btcpa.com

 

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Families First Coronavirus Response Act

By Pamele W. Baker, CPA, CGFM 

Learn more about how the Families First Coronavirus Response Act signed by President Trump will affect employees and employers.

Congress passed and President Trump signed the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FCCRA) on March 18, 2020; it will become law 15 days after the signing. The bill provides paid sick leave, free coronavirus testing, expansion of food assistance and unemployment benefits, and requires employers to provide additional protections for health care workers. For employers and employees, it provides welcome assistance to dealing with the unprecedented effects of COVID-19 on the workforce and economy.

Under the FCCRA, covered employers include most private sector employers with fewer than 500 employees, and a significant number of public sector employers, regardless of size. There is no 50-person minimum (as with the Family Medical Leave Act), and some benefits are available to the self-employed. Companies with over 500 employees are not covered in the bill.

Six qualifying reasons exist for coverage under this bill related to COVID-19. The employee is covered if they are:
• Subject to federal, state or local quarantine or isolation
• Advised by a health care provider to self-quarantine
• Experiencing symptoms of COVID-19 and seeking diagnosis
• Caring for an individual subject to quarantine order or advised to self-quarantine
• Caring for their own children if the school or child care facility is unavailable as a result of COVID-19
• Experiencing any other substantially similar condition specified by Health and Human Services in consultation with the Department of the Treasury and Department of Labor

Key to note in the above is that coronavirus does not need to be confirmed in the individual to receive the benefit. Orders to quarantine, signs of symptoms, or simply virus exposure qualifies. This prevents an overload on the health care system to achieve tests for qualification.

The bill itself provides benefits to employees and employers alike. For employees, here are the key points:
• While normally FMLA is unpaid, the FFCRA grants that employees who are sick and on leave are eligible for their full pay for up to two weeks (up to $511 per day, $5110 total)
• There is some relief for childcare that is not normally covered. If leave must be taken because of childcare or school closure, two-thirds of the employee’s regular rate of pay is available for up to 12 weeks (up to $200 per day, $10,000 total)
• The FFCRA prevents employers from mandating employees use vacation or sick time before receiving the benefit
• These benefits apply to part-time workers at the average rate they would work during the two-week period at the limits presented above

A 10-day waiting period does apply before the benefit can be used. Employees can use sick or vacation time to cover the waiting period.

For employers, the key points are:
• Tax credits are available for 100% of what is paid out to employees with the above noted limits – The credit is applied against the employer portion of taxes, better known as the Social Security tax.
• An exemption can be granted from the Secretary for Labor if an employer has fewer than 50 employees
• If an employer has fewer than 25 employees, they are not required to restore employees to previous positions

For self-employed individuals who also work for another employer (such as Lyft, Uber, caterers, events), a tax credit is available for up to two weeks of sick pay at their average rate and family leave pay at two-thirds the normal rate. The same caps apply, and these individuals must provide evidence of self-isolation recommendation or school/child care closure. The credit is applied against the individual’s income taxes, and any leave pay that is greater than their tax bill qualifies for a government rebate.

The sick leave benefits put in place are effective for coronavirus-related leave for the next 12 months.

Unemployment insurance benefits for state grants was also provided at an amount of $1 billion. Certain conditions apply. Half the provisions are allocated to provide immediate relief for state administrative costs that meet certain requirements, while the other half is reserved for emergency grants to states who experience a 10% or greater increase in claims above the same quarter last year.

The 15-day waiting period before the bill becomes law allows employers time to interpret the ramifications on their business. For assistance or questions, contact us at Barbacane, Thornton & Company and we will assist in any way that we can to answer your questions or help find answers.

Barbacane, Thornton & Company LLP is a highly regarded, regional
certified public accounting and consulting firm specializing in auditing and
tax services for government agencies and nonprofits. For more information about
Barbacane, Thornton & Company LLP, please call (302) 478-8940 or visit
btcpa.com

 

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2020 Standard Mileage Rates Announced for Business, Charitable, Medical, and Moving Purposes

Doris Kerr, BTCPA Firm Administartor

By Doris Ann R. Kerr, Firm Administrator

2020 Standard Mileage Rates Announced for Business, Charitable, Medical, and Moving Purposes

The Internal Revenue Service recently issued the 2020 optional standard mileage rates. These rates, which adjust every year to account for inflation of fuel costs, vehicle cost and maintenance, and insurance rate increases, will once again affect the way a company reimburses their mobile workers. Specifically, the IRS mileage rate is a guideline that businesses use to calculate the deductible costs of operating an automobile for business, charitable, medical, or moving purposes.

As of January 1, 2020, the standard mileage rates for the use of a car (also vans, pickups or panel trucks) are:

  • 57.5 cents per mile for business miles driven, down .5 cents from 2019
  • 17 cents per mile driven for medical or moving purposes, down 3 cents from 2019
  • 14 cents per mile driven in service of charitable organizations; the mileage rate for service to a charitable organization is not alterable by the IRS. Instead, it must be changed by a Congress -passed statute.

 About Barbacane, Thornton &

Company LLP

Barbacane, Thornton & Company LLP is a highly regarded, regional
certified public accounting and consulting firm specializing in auditing and
tax services for government agencies and nonprofits. For more information about
Barbacane, Thornton & Company LLP, please call (302) 478-8940 or visit
btcpa.com

 

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3 Ways Nonprofits Can Harness Blockchain Technology

By Jeffrey Kowalczyk, CPA CFE CGAP

3 Ways Nonprofits Can Harness Blockchain Technology

Nonprofits do not tend to shy away from technology; in fact, more and more nonprofits are embracing it. For example, TED shares ideas with the world through digital technology, Code For America helps connect cities with coders to help with urban renewal and civic management, and Ushahidi developed software to empower the citizens of Kenya following the devastating 2008 election. These nonprofits are using conventional technology in unique ways to advance their cause.  For the vast majority of nonprofits, however, the question is how to leverage technology to improve transparency and accountability. When it comes to how nonprofits and technology intersect, blockchain technology offers a practical solution for all nonprofits to strengthen their infrastructure and mission.

A distributed ledger technology, blockchain systems are a database that everyone can access. Essentially, this crypto-technology enables secure-funds transactions and ensures that data cannot be hacked. Blockchains can improve a nonprofit’s organizational excellence in the following practical ways. 

  • Data is more secure in blockchains. As transactions take place, they are stored in the local ledger and shared across every record of blockchain, allowing every user an undisputed copy of the history of the asset. The beauty of an un-editable record is its natural defense against hackers and fraud. Also, because blockchain data is distributed rather than centralized, organizations can rely on a genuinely digital transaction environment.
  • Blockchain solutions can automate administrative processes and improve cost efficiencies. For example, data audits can reach further, review more processes, and certify results with better efficiency than ever before. Requiring fewer people to perform the same job, blockchain frees up time for professionals to utilize their skills for strategy and development. 
  • Blockchains protects donor information.
    • Blockchain data is secure and These facts assure donors that their financial information is protected and private and allows nonprofits to raise funds across geographic and political borders.
    • As nonprofits focus more of their efforts on major donors, they will find that blockchain technology allows them to offer high-net-worth donors increased control and transparency.
    • Donor trust is a serious concern for nonprofits. Blockchain’s secure, anonymous, and transparent ledger allows donors to track their donation to the source and recipient, allowing nonprofits to build trust with less effort.

Blockchain technology has a lot of potential, especially when it comes to supporting donor trust. We are closely monitoring how nonprofits can harness blockchain technology and will keep you appraised of new findings and solutions for your organization.

About Barbacane, Thornton &

Company LLP

Barbacane, Thornton & Company LLP is a highly regarded, regional
certified public accounting and consulting firm specializing in auditing and
tax services for government agencies and nonprofits. For more information about
Barbacane, Thornton & Company LLP, please call (302) 478-8940 or visit
btcpa.com

 

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Nonprofits Turn Focus to Major Donors

By Steven Kutsuflakis CPA

Nonprofits Turn Focus to Major Donors

The nonprofit sector is facing a severe departure from the boom of the last decade. Predictions place numerous risks at the feet of fundraisers. From the increased privatization of problem-solving to the politicization of giving, the potential for charitable sector scandals, and eroding donor trust to the emergence of dark philanthropic money, nonprofits have some interesting years ahead. While these predictions are just a sample of potential threats, the most significant game-changer perhaps is the critical importance of the major donor.  

Since 2010, philanthropy has been increasing in power and numbers. Programs like the Giving Pledge and the rise in overall wealth as evidenced among the Forbes 400, is a good sign that philanthropy will continue to grow among the nation’s largest donors. However, due to systematic financial uncertainty, increasing secularization, and changes in federal tax law, the number of individual donors that give less than $5,000 per year is declining. In response to the changing landscape, nonprofits are shifting their focus toward their greatest givers.  

Recently, the Center for Effective Philanthropy (CEP) surveyed more than 600 nonprofit leaders to learn how nonprofits can effectively manage support they receive from major donors and what major donors can do to support nonprofits better. In this article, we list the top strategies for connecting with major donors and retaining their support.

Invest in Relationships

The findings of the CEP’s survey showed that meaningful relationships pave the way for a better understanding of the nonprofit’s mission and challenges and help the donor feel like they are a part of the organization. When relationships are personal instead of digital, it allows nonprofits to build trust and strengthen bonds. Nonprofit organizations can ask major donors how important a relationship is to them and what they view their role to be in building or maintaining the relationship.

 

Bridge the Gap

A nonprofit’s work is complex. Operational challenges, both internal and external, are often under-communicated to donors, subconsciously paving the way for donor pressure. Nonprofit leaders are encouraged to screen potential givers to make sure they are aligned with the organizations’ mission and work and then leverage the relationships they build with donors to communicate how their values and beliefs translate to goals and priorities. Bridging the understanding gap will help nonprofits avoid power imbalances with their donors and make it easier to reinforce support.   

Reinforce Support

For a nonprofit to do their best work, they need ongoing support. The best way to secure their plans for the future is through multiyear commitments, unrestricted gifts, and support beyond money.

  • Multiyear Commitments. While 92% of nonprofits say it is very or extremely vital for major donors to provide repeated support, only 59% of their organizations’ major donors offer it. The nonprofits cited in the survey say transparency about whether or not they will give in the future is also a concern.
  • Unrestricted Gifts. Unrestricted gifts allow nonprofits control over how a donation should be allocated, but according to those surveyed, only 54% of their major donors provide them.
  • Support beyond money. More than 90% of nonprofit leaders say they receive support such as volunteer time, pro bono services, assistance with fundraising outside cash contributions. While that number is high, nonprofits cite that more support would help them achieve greater goals.

There is a distinct correlation between the likelihood of ongoing support and the quality of the relationship between an organization and a donor. Of course, when the connection is strong, and the trust is high, nonprofits can ask major donors questions about gaining additional support.

If you have questions or would like to continue this conversation,  please contact the nonprofit accounting professionals in our office today.

About Barbacane, Thornton &

Company LLP

Barbacane, Thornton & Company LLP is a highly regarded, regional
certified public accounting and consulting firm specializing in auditing and
tax services for government agencies and nonprofits. For more information about
Barbacane, Thornton & Company LLP, please call (302) 478-8940 or visit
btcpa.com

 

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Census 2020-Let’s Get Everyone Counted!

Pamela W. Baker CPA Managing Partner

By Pamela W. Baker, CPA, CGFM

Census 2020-Let’s Get Everyone Counted!

Federal Presidential elections happen once every four years and can have impact on policy and funding for communities across the Country. Even more significant, but not as often, is the United States Census, required by the United States Constitution to be conducted every ten years. This is no easy job given the increasing mobility of people in (and out of) our Country. This year the census will move away from paper as the primary way to collect data, for the first time since in began in 1790 – testament to how we have become an automated Nation. It is estimated that the cost for the 2020 Census will approach $16 billion and employ up to half a million people. So – is it worth it and if so, why? Why does the census matter?

Census data is used in ways you may not realize. It is critical to communities. The census results are used to determine the number of seats each state has in Congress, draw boundaries for voting districts, and determine how more than $675 billion in federal funding is spent in communities each year.  Census data is used to determine local needs for roads, schools, rural development, veteran’s services, employment, child-care, senior centers, housing, environment, incarceration, healthcare and more. The numbers and demographics calculated in the census determine federal dollars allocated to states from all national programs for ten years (until the next census is done). There is strength in having accurate numbers. The more people counted means more money and power for our local communities. Missing people in the census count is compounded by the historical statistics that the census has missed disproportionate numbers of racial minorities, immigrants, young children and those living in poverty – “hard-to-count populations” – leading to inequality in political power, government funding and private-sector investment for these communities. There is even more. Census determines equal political representation; informs fair allocation of public, private, and nonprofit resources; informs policy debates and decision-making; guides foundation strategies, investments, and evaluations; measures socio-economic conditions. The business community uses census data to consider moving to an area, expanding locations and whether to hire more people. Social Security uses census data to determine what they will need in money to support the aging population and at what age will they consider eligibility. The nonprofit sector uses census data to determine needs, provide services, and measure success. The financial stability of many programs that provide services we all use rely on the resources that are determined by census. Imagine, as an example, that an entire community is overlooked because they are not English speaking and do not understand the census process. As the next ten years pass, those people will have children who enter our public schools who, without accurate data will not be prepared for the increase in population. This is but one example of the price we pay for not completing an accurate census.

One of the biggest fears for disenfranchised people is the fear of being singled out and/or persecuted. By Federal law Protected Personal Information from census cannot be shared with immigration, law enforcement agencies, or used  to determine eligibility for programs. Census data is sealed by Federal law for 75 years.

The nonprofit community has a tremendous opportunity for future funding by promoting and encouraging participation in the census. Many nonprofits are in regular contact with those individuals and communities most at risk for not being counted. Each State has resources to engage the community in increasing participation in census 2020. Think of working to increase census numbers as another grant writing opportunity – let’s maximize funding so that we can maximize impact and make a difference for all.

For more information and to become a Census Partner go to https://2020Census.gov

About Barbacane, Thornton &

Company LLP

Barbacane, Thornton & Company LLP is a highly regarded, regional
certified public accounting and consulting firm specializing in auditing and
tax services for government agencies and nonprofits. For more information about
Barbacane, Thornton & Company LLP, please call (302) 478-8940 or visit
btcpa.com

 

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The Role of an Audit Committee

Edmund Fosu-Laryea, CPA

By Edmund Fosu-Laryea, CPA and Joe McGrory, CPA

The Role of an Audit Committee

One of the primary roles of a Board of Commissioners is to provide oversight of the financial management for an organization. They may accomplish this through the establishment of an audit committee. Many board members believe that the external auditor is responsible for financial oversight and the implementation of internal controls over financial reporting. However, these responsibilities lie within the governing board of an organization. This is especially crucial amongst housing authorities, where the segregation of duties of individuals may be limited due to the small size of the entity. The formation of an audit committee may allow board members with the necessary skills and knowledge to focus on the financial oversight and to implement effective controls over financial reporting and evaluating mission effectiveness?

Composition of a Committee

The number of individuals included in an audit committee may vary depending on the organization, but three to five members is considered a standard range.  Audit committees may benefit from having individuals of diverse and complimentary backgrounds. Committee members must possess the business acumen and the awareness of public interest to provide effective oversight. At least one member of the committee should have familiarity with accounting principles and financial reporting practices applicable to housing authorities. The most important attribute of the members is to be committed to the task and to have adequate time to devote their efforts to the Authority.

Internal Control Structure

The audit committee may assist management with designing and implementing effective internal control procedures to prevent fraud and mitigate errors in financial reporting. It must however distinguish its oversight responsibility from the day-to-day management of the Authority. In authorities with limited numbers of individuals involved in the financial reporting process, the committee may be directly involved in the internal control structure. Examples of these control procedures may include the reviewing of monthly bank reconciliations, review of monthly financial results, and budget vs. actual variance analysis, and the requirement of a committee member’s signature on all checks over a certain threshold.

The audit committee should be aware of areas of high risk and uncertainty. Communication with management and external auditors will allow the audit committee to determine if management’s procedures are adequate and whether changes in accounting principles and financial reporting practices will have an effect on the Authority.

About Barbacane, Thornton & Company LLP

Barbacane, Thornton & Company LLP is a highly regarded, regional certified public accounting and consulting firm specializing in auditing and tax services for government agencies and nonprofits. For more information about Barbacane, Thornton & Company LLP, please call (302) 478-8940 or visit btcpa.com

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Managing Partner’s Message – January 2020

Pamela W. Baker CPA Managing Partner

What could be better than a fresh new year – how about a fresh new decade! At Barbacane, Thornton & Company we are looking forward to what the next decade will bring. We anticipate that technology will continue to play an integral role in determining how we provide services to our clients and we have already embarked on some exciting new audit tools and techniques to employ in our business. We are committed to being cutting edge in order to continue to provide quality services but also to attract and retain talent. 

We have also started the new decade with our newest Partner! We are excited to announce that effective January 1, 2020 Edmund Fosu-Laryea CPA has become a Partner-In-Training. In this new role, Edmund will function in all manner and with the key responsibilities of a Partner in the firm. During this year he will have the opportunity to become more familiar with the financial aspects of our Company with the goal of becoming a full equity Partner on January 1, 2021. Edmund graduated from Goldey-Beacom College with a BS in Accounting in 2008. He joined our firm on February 2, 2009. Graduating with an accounting degree was only the beginning of Edmund’s professional journey. He continued his studies at Goldey-Beacom and obtained a master’s degree in business administration all while working full time and pursuing the CPA designation. In August 2011 Edmund became a CPA licensed in the State of Delaware and in December of that same year he completed his master’s program. 

When Edmund began working with the firm, he demonstrated from the very beginning his quest for excellence in both his educational and professional pursuits. Edmund quickly became an important team member on several audit engagements, but it was his aptitude to understand the complexities of public housing authorities that soon differentiated him. Over the past eleven years Edmund has also been instrumental in our staff training and mentoring programs. His leadership style is very welcoming to others and he demonstrates on a regular basis that he can balance the needs of clients, the firm, and the quality of our work. Dependability, integrity, honesty, and commitment are a few of the words our team uses to describe Edmund. 

Edmund and his wife Eileen live in Middletown, Delaware with their two children Ivana and Jordan. In addition to his involvement with his family Edmund also serves on the board of Ingleside Homes, a nonprofit whose mission is “to ensure that every senior, regardless of their level of income, has an opportunity to live the fullest possible life at his or her highest level of independence.”

We are excited that Edmund continues his professional journey with our firm. For those who may know Edmund I’m sure you will agree with our assessment of his talents. If you have not had the pleasure, I would encourage any opportunity you may have to interact with Edmund. Any of our partner group would be happy to facilitate an introduction!

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