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Accounting on agenda

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By Kevin Eagan

WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. — New auditing standards and changes in accounting practices addressing recent corporate scandals will the focus of a conference May 29 for CPAs, staff and members of nonprofit boards.

Co-sponsored by the N.C. Association of CPAs and the N.C. Center for Nonprofits, the 2003 Not-For-Profit Accounting Conference will be held in Winston-Salem.

Since 1994, the annual event has been the only statewide forum for nonprofit financial professionals who are not CPAs to interact with the CPAs who audit charities, says Mig Murphy Sistrom, chair of the association’s not-for-profit committee.

The one-day event will focus on a range of financial issues facing nonprofits, says Trisha Lester, the center’s vice president.

Issues to be addressed at the conference include:

* Changes for auditors facing new restrictions because of the recent accounting scandals. Generally accepted auditing standards have been changed to keep auditors from auditing their own work, providing increased accountability in the accounting process, Sistrom says.

* Responsibility of board members in guaranteeing that proper accounting processes are followed to avoid litigation.

* Cost-allocation systems to ensure that more of an organization’s costs are shown as programmatic costs and not administrative costs on the financial statements.

“Clean financial statements and sound running of house accounting practices is absolutely essential to remain in compliance of national and state regulations,” says Lester.

Accurate financial statements also are important to grantmakers because they need know the statements are reliable, she says.

“Accountability in this sector is increasingly in the public light because nonprofits are funded by taxpayers and these organizations are accountable to every citizen of the U.S.,” Sistom says. “The financial statements should give an accurate description of what the organization is doing.”

The deadline for registration is May 15. Participants can download registration materials and a conference brochure online.

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