Thoughts on technology and innovation
Joe Klimek, President
The end of the year is always a busy time. For our colleagues in the accounting department it is particularly busy time to get all the debits and credits in the right column. Some organizations dread this time of year as it means pulling together data from dozens of spreadsheets. A modern enterprise level AMS (Association Management System) like Nimble AMS can speed the year end close process by bring key accounting data together into a single system.
With a modern AMS your accountants may actually be able to celebrate the New Year with you!
Let’s look at a few accounting challenges and how a modern, platform based Association Software can automate and greatly simplify an association's year end processes
Event Revenue Recognition
For most associations the event calendar is never empty. Webinars, training, and annual meetings all are a major source of revenue. However, GAAP accounting requires that associations not recognize the revenue from the event until the accounting period in which the event occurs. That means all those registrations that come in this month for your programs in January, February, or later all need to be deferred.
Some legacy AMS systems offer deferrals, but in many cases the deferral goes into a mysterious black box that is difficult to report from and tough to audit. Nimble AMS provides the ability to establish a deferral schedule for each event and provides visibility into the deferral entries on a per registrant basis. This method of tracking deferrals allows for visibility at any time and easy reporting to appease the auditors.
Nimble AMS provides the ability to establish a deferral schedule for each event and
provides visibility into the deferral entries on a per registrant basis.
Dues Revenue Recognition
Dues offer a couple of special cases of revenue recognition based on whether the organization uses an annual renewal process (all renewals happen at the same time, usually tied to your fiscal year), or anniversary (renewals vary throughout the year usually based on when the member signed up).
Annual dues organizations still face challenges of revenue deferral. Even if your new dues year starts on January 1, you certainly started sending renewal notices earlier this fall and hopefully the windfall of dues have started to come in. The revenue collected now must also be deferred until next fiscal year. Some organizations will recognize the revenue at the beginning of the year, while others will spread out the dues into equal increments throughout the upcoming year.
Anniversary dues are nearly always in a start of deferral, with varying amounts being recognized each month.
Nimble AMS supports annual as well as anniversary dues as well as as revenue recognition. In addition Nimble AMS has full support for Accrual Dues.
Additionally, reporting is key to successful revenue recognition even if the AMS is generating the deferral entry for you automatically. Good reporting will provide the opportunity to forecast future period deferral and make the budgeting process much easier. This is where the world class Saleforce reporting engine (which is part and parcel of Nimble AMS) really shines by making it easy to get actionable business intelligence .
Year End Cut-off
GAAP standards also dictate that associations properly establish cut-off at year end, ensuring that orders processed this year are recognized this year. If your process for fulfilling orders or gifts is not integrated to the AMS, the cut-off becomes more complicated. Integrating with the AMS allows orders to be placed online and processed on a timely basis. Gifts have the additional implication of affecting constituent tax reporting.
Integrating your online transactions using the functionality of your AMS will decrease the year-end workload through efficient processing.
Due To/Due From
Organizations that include multiple legal entities often find themselves conducting transactions within one entity that needs to benefit the related organization. A simple example is a gift made to the tax-exempt foundation but processed together with the annual dues renewal notice of the trade association. In this case the cash has settled with the trade organization (so that your member only saw a single credit card charge on their statement), but it is owed to the foundation.
Due To/Due From creates the accounting entries for you automatically. The net result is cash recorded to the trade association with an equal liability owed to the foundation (due to). On the foundation books the contribution revenue is recorded with an equal receivable from the trade association (due from).
Without this functionality in the AMS the accounting department needs to track a messy set of accounts to manually track the offsetting obligations.
Nimble AMS has full multi-entity support and we are excited to share that the Nimble AMS Winter 15 release offers Due To/Due From functionality.
As you are wrapping up your year, give some consideration to your colleagues in the accounting department. With a modern AMS the accountants may actually be able to celebrate the New Year with you!