Monday, September 19, 2016

Thinking of Starting a Non-Profit? Learn How to Budget

non profit budget
Creating a budget for your non-profit organization might seem overwhelming, especially if you are new to non-profit management or have never gone through a budgeting process. Even though the idea may seem daunting, creating an annual budget for your non-profit is essential to maintaining control of the organization's finances. Every non-profit budgeting situation will be different, but there are some key aspects that you will need to include in your annual budgeting plan.

Organizing the Budget
Begin by figuring out what your fiscal year will be. You might follow the calendar, beginning your fiscal year on January 1. If your funding comes from the state or federal government, you might follow their calendars, which often start on July 1 or another date.

Setting a Budget
Your budget will include several different categories. One of these categories will be projected expenses. You will need to make realistic estimates of costs such as rent, utilities, professional services, office supplies, salaries and equipment. Another category is projected income. This is where your funding comes from. Include both concrete and variable funding sources, such as grants and fundraisers. If you will allocate particular funding sources to particular expenses, you may need to have sub-categories of your budget in order to keep close track of their interactions.

How to Stick With a Budget
Sticking with your non-profit's budget means keeping it up-to-date. You will need to enter expenses and income into the budget as you receive them. If your funding sources stipulated restrictions such as only using a particular funding line to pay for office supplies, make sure you stick with those budgetary requirements. As the fiscal year goes on, update your budget with actual expenses in place of your estimates. This allows you to adjust discretionary items or seek additional funding sources if your required expenses were higher than you anticipated.

Professional Budgeting Guidance
If making and following a budget stymies you, consider seeking out professional guidance. Many accountants offer workshops for non-profit managers at a low or no-cost. There are also local, state and national advocacy groups for non-profit organizations and small businesses that may offer training and educational programs for budgeting. Even a few hours with an experienced non-profit accountant can help you with critical budgeting aspects such as staying organized and making sure that you follow the tax codes in order to maintain your non-profit status.

Friday, May 29, 2015

How ADA Non-Compliant Businesses Could Face Consequences

The American With Disabilities Act (ADA) is a federal law that was signed in 1990 to protect those with a disability whether it be from discrimination in seeking employment or while at work or the accessibility of buildings and structures. The ADA gives the thousands of people with disabilities the same opportunity as anyone else. If these regulations are not met, serious lawsuits may take place and even fines up to $150,000 after an initial fine of $75,000 for the first violation can take place.

Fines for ADA violations vary across the board depending on the scale of violation. Some violations are small, while others, such as those for large businesses, are presented on a large scale, with lawsuits and substantial monetary consequences.

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

How to Start a Business in Michigan

It's a new year and new goals are to be reached. Why not begin working on that business or startup that you've always dreamed about? Starting a business takes a lot of effort, but can bring you a lot of personal and financial rewards. Assuming that you have researched your business idea and have the necessary funding, here are the six steps, according to Michigan State University Extensions,  it takes to register your business in the state of Michigan:

Obtain a FEIN: 

Your Federal Employer Identification Number (FEIN) is a tax ID assigned to you and your specific business. It is required to open a checking account and to facilitate other financial transactions such as opening a credit account with a vendor.

Register the assumed business name with  the County Clerk:

If you're going to operate your business as a sole proprietor and you’re not using your complete legal name (first and last name) as your business name, you will need to register your business name as an “assumed name.” This used to be called DBA (doing business as); however, it in now referred to as assumed name.

Obtain a UIA Number:

You can get your Unemployment Insurance Account (UIA) online from the Michigan Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs. You must have this account prior to hiring employees; you’ll also need this number to file your quarterly tax reports. 

Obtain a Sales Tax License:

Some sales are not taxed; some sales are taxed. Regardless if you make taxable or nontaxable sales, it is best to have a sales tax license. It legitimizes your business. Also, this license allows you to make purchases for resale without paying sales tax to the vendor. Get your sales tax license from the Michigan Department of Treasury.

Register you business with the Michigan Department of Treasury:

Michigan requires business enterprises to register, allowing you to make your collected tax payments.

Obtain all necessary permits:

Some businesses need special permits or licenses. You can search what permits are required, and obtain the applications from Michigan Business One Stop

After you've completed these steps you are officially in business in the state of  Michigan! For more help on where to go from here or if you have further questions visit the Michigan Business One Stop website

About the Author: Sandra is a guest contributor from Corporate Office Interiors, offering office furniture solutions and help for all your office needs. 



Tuesday, December 9, 2014

College Graduates Taking New Cities by Storm

Key metropolitan areas are attracting young college graduates at increased rates in the past couple years, including more cities than just the usual, New York, Washington and San Francisco. While these cities are still attracting graduates from all across the country, other cities have become popular as well. Denver, San Diego, Nashville, Salt Lake City and Portland, Oregon are all on the radar for graduates. 

Friday, November 14, 2014

Office Etiquette: Decorating for the Holidays

The holiday season is a time filled with cheer and decorations, but making sure that every holiday is equally represented in an office can sometimes be overlooked. Some offices choose to not allow any decorations, eliminating the possibility of these issues, while others like to add a bit of holiday spirit into their work place. Whichever a company chooses, it is important that all holidays are represented equally, whether not at all or in equal amounts.

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Cities With The Most New Construction In The U.S.

Image courtesy of
New commercial construction projects have been popping up in metro areas around the U.S. the past two years at a rate not seen for several years. In 2013 McGraw Hill Construction put together their list of cities with the most money spent on new construction through May of last year (to my knowledge their  haven't been any newer updates to these numbers).

The overall numbers in their study were interesting. In 2012 new construction was up ten percent and at the time of their research they projected another 12 percent increase in 2013. Obviously, if you're looking at Metro projects you're looking at expenditures climbing into the billions. However, it's interesting to compare some other numbers to the fastest areas of new construction growth. Let's look at the top five in their list.

1. New York. Not surprisingly, New York came in first place as far and away the largest city in the country. From 2010 to 2012 population in New York jumped up slightly from 8.19 million to 8.34 million, but with annual new construction starts of over $20.5 billion it's clear that even in years of modest population growth, the need for newer, bigger and better things are taking place in New York City.

2. Dallas. Amazingly, Wikipedia has the most recent population at only 1.2 million, even though the city had new construction starts of over $11.1 billion in 2012 and increased that in 2013. The scope of projects for a city much smaller than New York is truly something.

3. Houston. Texas is definitely the site for new construction as Houston follows hot on Dallas's heals. In 2012 they had identical new construction starts of $11.1 billion. In the past year, Houston's population (already at 2.12 million) grew by 83,000. The thriving oil economy, healthy birth rate and a steady stream of immigrants helps fuel this growth.

4. Washington D.C. Far less populace than the top three in this list, Washington's government driven economy and historical buildings like the recent renovation to the IMF Headquarters continue to fuel healthy growth upwards of $10 billion annually.

5. Atlanta. Another crown jewel of the south, Atlanta's new construction starts grew by roughly 80% (projected) in 2013. That's astonishing growth for a city that had seen a drop in population of more than 100,000 from 2009 to 2010 and a sign of the city's resurgence.

Monday, June 16, 2014

Construction: A Dangerous Career

Truck drivers swerve through mountain passes during a blizzard. In skin melting heat, forest fire fighters run into Mother Nature’s blazing rage. Fishermen ward off ice chunks and massive waves to bring in a cage of crab. Police officers suit up in body armor before an armed raid. These are the dangerous jobs that hard working men and women in the United States face every day on the job. But what people don’t realize is that one of the most dangerous careers to be in is construction.