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SOX (Sarbanes-Oxley) 404 Best Practices

Details if other :. Thanks for telling us about the problem. Return to Book Page. Nonprofit boards are in a fishbowl of scrutiny much like their private sector counterparts. With recent media focus on investigations of false charities, and more disturbingly, of household-name nonprofits that have abused donor trust by misdirecting donations, the heat is on the nonprofit The Sarbanes-Oxley SOX bar has been raised-is your nonprofit board up to the task? With recent media focus on investigations of false charities, and more disturbingly, of household-name nonprofits that have abused donor trust by misdirecting donations, the heat is on the nonprofit board to rehabilitate its organizational profile.

Encouraging boards to reclaim their role as the ultimate authority within their nonprofit, nationally recognized nonprofit expert Dr. Peggy Jackson supplies tips for leveraging the power and value of SOX requirements within the nonprofit organization. Containing sample documents, forms, and checklists to introduce best practices into any nonprofit organization, this complete guide is a practical, hands-on tool for equipping your nonprofit's board toward a higher quality of control.

Relevant for both the large and small nonprofit organization, this must-have book effectively brings pragmatic clarity to a complex topic, and explains how to blend Sarbanes-Oxley requirements into the nonprofit organization, with topics including: Common factors that contribute to nonprofit board dysfunction Moving nonprofit governance into the twenty-first century Intervention techniques for moving your board forward Establishing strategies for lasting change Creating a platinum standard for governance Helping your nonprofit board understand and implement SOX requirements, Sarbanes-Oxley for Nonprofit Boards will be indispensable as a guide and will reinforce your nonprofit's financial structure and reputation.

Get A Copy. Hardcover , pages. Published August 1st by Wiley first published July 28th More Details Original Title. Other Editions 5. Friend Reviews. To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up. To ask other readers questions about Sarbanes-Oxley for Nonprofit Boards , please sign up. Be the first to ask a question about Sarbanes-Oxley for Nonprofit Boards.

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Lists with This Book. This book is not yet featured on Listopia. How should the reported information be handled, both to assure adequate investigation but also to protect privacy to avoid damaging reputations or causing defamation actions against the organization? Part VI, Section B, Question 13 forces the organization to focus on such issues and to help assure that financial impropriety will be reported when discovered.

Document retention and destruction. The document retention and destruction policy is another seemingly boilerplate policy that the CPA should assist clients in understanding and making effective. It provides that documents may not be destroyed if they concern a matter under investigation—a logical Sarbanes-Oxley—type policy. Properly drafted, such a policy will also provide for routine destruction of superfluous documents.

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Ideally, the policy will have a schedule listing types of documents and how long they should be retained. Some documents, such as corporate minutes, should never be destroyed, but others, like routine purchase orders, can eventually be discarded. The CPA can help clients identify the relevant documents for the organization and, working with legal counsel, help establish appropriate retention or destruction policies tailored to the organization. Conflicts of interest. Finally, no policy of an organization is as critical and as potentially emotionally charged for the board or its officers as the conflict-of-interest policy.

Schedule L of Form focuses on transactions between interested persons such as board members and the organization.

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Schedule J reviews the procedures for establishing compensation. The CPA needs to assist clients in identifying reportable transactions and analyzing their ramifications. This independent professional judgment can be invaluable in determining and documenting the fairness of actions. It is also worth noting that conflicts of interest are governed in several other ways beyond the conflict-of-interest policy. For example, many organizations are subject to state laws that specifically describe conflicts and other improper actions by boards and officers.

Also, many tax provisions have conflict elements to them, such as the private inurement provisions for charities, the intermediate sanctions provisions for excess benefits to disqualified persons, or even the self-dealing rules for private foundations. As a best practice, an organization should have a well-developed and carefully thought through conflict-of-interest policy. The IRS provides a sample form that is a good starting place for such a policy and should be considered in preparing a conflict-of-interest policy.

Internal Control at Private Companies and Nonprofits

The goals of a good conflict-of-interest policy are to identify conflicts and then to determine the risk of the conflict and how the organization should deal with it. Not all conflicts of interest are necessarily bad, but they do need to be identified and affirmatively considered by independent minds. The CPA can assist in this independent assessment as a service to the clients and their boards. The CPA needs to educate the board on identifying conflicts of interest.

Some conflicts are obvious.

For example, if the organization pays excessive compensation to its president and that compensation is set by his brother who is chairman of the board, there is clearly a conflict. Most conflicts, however, are not that obvious. They can be a delicate subject. They may occur because a well-meaning board member is doing a favor for the organization.

Is it a conflict of interest for the board chair to provide investment services to the charity? Does it alter the analysis if he or she charges less than any other investment adviser would for those services? Or that he or she is the best qualified person to provide specialized services within the geographic area? Sometimes a conflict-of-interest situation is necessary, and if so, the board and CPA should say so. The organization needs to grapple with these difficult conflict issues.

Part of this effort involves identifying issues but then bringing the right minds to bear on them to determine the best resolution under the applicable conflicts provisions. CPAs are often at the front line for this analysis. The CPA may be the one who identifies the conflict during work for the organization. That reporting on the very public Form could cause a good board member in an innocent situation to quit board service.

Form also asks if board members are required to make annual disclosures of potential conflicts. Some board members may find this annual personal interrogation offensive.

Works under MDS 657.98

The CPA can help them understand the need to report this information and so may lessen some of the anger. The CPA, while helping to prepare the Form , needs to be sensitive to the human elements of situations and disclosures. While the CPA has to answer tax return questions properly, the CPA and the organization should consider that an answer might create public embarrassment for the individuals involved. Further, the CPA might think about the proper discussion of a conflict. While the form may describe a conflict, it could go further in the answer or in an attachment and say that, for example, after the conflict was discovered, certain actions were taken to remedy it, or assure that it would not happen again, or that the conflict was essentially necessary and any compensation not excessive.

Because Form must be made available for public inspection, it may be a way for tax-exempt organizations to present themselves and their mission and value to the public. In fact, many organizations fulfill this requirement by posting their Forms on their own websites, in addition to their availability through services such as GuideStar guidestar. Any organization filing a Form must understand this public exposure and craft the Form with special attention to its readers, not just to the IRS.

The CPA can help nonprofit clients make best use of the form for this purpose.

This thoughtful crafting of Form will let an organization put its best foot forward to the public. The CPA should partner with clients in creating this positive public image. This is true client service by the CPA beyond simple compliance with tax laws. The new Form is not cut, paste and attach.

It is the opportunity for the CPA to partner with clients to move them into the best-practice level throughout the organization. It also provides a way to think outside the box and answer questions that help the organization tell its positive story to the world. Exempt organizations required to file Form , Return of Organization Exempt From Income Tax , are likely to find that the expanded and revised version of the form instituted for and following tax years asks whether they have instituted certain best practices.

Several such policies and reporting on them on Form require a greater degree of involvement than before by more organization officials and directors and give CPAs an opportunity to help nonprofit clients understand and implement them. For example, the form asks whether the organization has written policies concerning gift acceptance, whistleblowers, document retention and destruction, conflicts of interest, and joint ventures with taxable entities.

One way such instituted or enhanced policies can help an organization is in giving prospective donors greater confidence that their gifts will be used in the most effective and proper manner possible.

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For the same reason, because Form must be made publicly available, organizations often can thereby give prospective donors and others using the information more specifics about the activities and goals of the organization simply by answering some of its questions more fully and with particular attention to the impact the form may have on readers other than the IRS. Jean Gordon Carter jcarter hunton. To comment on this article or to suggest an idea for another article, contact Paul Bonner, senior editor, at pbonner aicpa.

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