Nonprofit Success Stories

1.      Miller CFO Services was called in to help a nonprofit transition in several areas:

a.       The nonprofit needed a new accounting system. Miller CFO was able to examine the characteristics of the nonprofit – it ran several programs, and needed to reflect the financial contribution or deficit of each program, and to allocate overhead appropriately across each program, and it also needed a complete audit trail for its annual audit  – and to compare these needs to the capabilities of various accounting programs. Miller CFO then selected and converted the antiquated accounting system to QuickBooks, using “classes” for each program, and producing monthly P&Ls for each. At the same time, Miller CFO prepared for the audit, and successfully produced records that resulted in one of the first clean audits in several years. Miller CFO also produced reports and maintained relationships with the nonprofit’s granting agencies and other donors, and with the nonprofit’s board during several years of transition (see next points).

b.      The nonprofit needed to move from an out-of-the-way locale to the state capital. Miller CFO helped the Executive Director evaluate several alternatives, select the best option, and then was assigned the task of supervising the rehabilitation project for the new space (a stunning Victorian house that could be used for office space). Miller CFO negotiated the contract for the rehab project, oversaw the work, made sure that specified outcomes were achieved, including adherence to budgets during the usual discoveries of unforeseen obstacles. The project was completed on time and on budget, Miller CFO organized and oversaw the move from old to new space, and trained staff on the energy saving features of the refurbished Victorian. Miller CFO also tracked the progress of the capital campaign to pay for the transition, and celebrated the successful completion of the effort with public officials when it was complete.

c.       The nonprofit also needed a new server and computer system to enable it to reach new members and supporters. Miller CFO oversaw the selection of the new hardware, and maintained it, often by remote access, through several upgrades and through the office move (above).

d.      When the nonprofit determined that if needed to return to a full-time CFO model, Miller CFO assisted in the transition, training the new CFO and continuing to support the systems requirements in the new office space as long as there was a need.

2.      Another nonprofit in education and publishing needed a CFO who could improve their cashflow, direct their accounting and annual audits, and also maintain their servers and physical facilities. Miller CFO was brought in, and immediately tightened up advertising receivables in its publishing arm.

Miller CFO also negotiated the nonprofit’s first federally approved “indirect cost recovery rate,” which enabled it to secure larger grants with better contribution margin from a new federal source. Miller CFO produced P&Ls for each program and for the various segments of its publishing efforts.

Miller CFO represented the nonprofit in federal audits of its long-standing (and previously federally-approved) accounting practices. The agency had suddenly changed its perspective on a long-standing nonprofit publishing accounting practice, and charged the organization with a large overdue tax bill. With the support of its CPAs and Miller CFO Services, the organization was able to refute the assertion of the agency, and pay a nominal fee.

Miller CFO was also able to secure a new banking option for the nonprofit, which recognized that the subscription base’s “deferred income” liability was actually an asset, because it represented new subscriptions to other publications in the event of a sale.

At one point, the direct marketing efforts for the publishing arm became prohibitively expensive, and the Executive Director discovered a new source of subscriptions, however at a lower unit revenue. Miller CFO was able to accurately project that even though the revenue per subscription was lower than in previous direct marketing efforts, the reduction in cost from avoiding direct marketing, and the increase in volume from the new subscription source, produced a strongly viable financial model for the organization.

When the time came to sell the publication, Miller CFO helped select the buyer, directed the nonprofit’s side of due diligence, and oversaw the transition of the education arm from its existing office space to a new, nearly free office space in an area that was directly related to the mission of the nonprofit. Miller CFO represented the organization at City Council and Development Review Board meetings, and helped set up computer systems for the two resulting organizations (publishing and education).

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