Past attendees at ICSOM and ROPA conferences will recognize Ron Bauers as “the” authority on not-for-profit accounting. Ron is a CPA and college professor, but he’s also a professional guitarist and a member of Local 70-558 in Omaha, NE. He has given many presentations to symphony musicians about how to read a financial statement, the structure of endowments, and similar “dry” accounting subjects. Yet conference after conference, his presentations are extremely popular and have been voted among the best sessions at the conference.
I asked Ron to prepare a course on not-for-profit accounting for orchestra musicians who serve on their Orchestra Committee and/or Board (or for any interested musician), so we can all learn to understand all the figures a symphony deals with: budget forecasts and reforecasts, monthly cash flow numbers, endowment restrictions, yearly audit statements, etc.
In his introductory column, Ron presents an overview of his plans for his course, plus a course outline.
Because this is an accounting and finance column, it will contain information about accounting and finance issues, but will specialize in not-for-profit organizations, with a focus on symphony orchestras, opera companies, and ballet companies.
In recent months I have had several conversations with orchestra musicians who are interested in learning and understanding accounting for not-for-profit organizations. Therefore, my first contribution to the Orchestra Musician Forum will be in the form of an introductory course: Accounting for Not-for-Profit Organizations. I will present the material in many small articles to accommodate all of the readers of this column, regardless of their current understanding of non-profit accounting. I have three reasons for using this approach:
What follows is a tentative, general outline of this introductory course, which, of course, is subject to change. After this initial excursion into the accounting aspects of not-for-profits, I plan to present a series of articles, or courses, on the financial analysis of accounting information.
As we proceed, I welcome your questions and comments about the material I present and the direction this introductory course takes. And I urge you to share your experiences of applying this information to an examination of your own orchestra’s financial statements.