Jacobson Jarvis is committed to ensuring the long-term financial health of our not-for-profit community by offering financial health check-ups for organizations of all sizes and missions.
What is a Financial Health Check-Up?
Like an annual physical from your doctor, a financial health check-up is a custom service offered by Jacobson Jarvis that spots and treats financial issues long before they become threatening. We believe this is the best way for your organization to stay healthy for the long haul.
What can I expect?
No two check-ups are alike because every organization has a unique set of needs. However, the outcome is always the same – a stronger and more operationally efficient organization. In most cases, our not-for-profit experts will conduct a thorough review of your bank and credit card access and activity, receipt and disbursement procedures, governance policies, financial reports and even your accounting software system in order to identify areas for improvement. At the end of this process we emerge with a set of actionable recommendations. While some clients choose to receive these recommendations as a summary report, others prefer to work one-on-one with our experts and their board to ensure implementation. Either way, our team works collaboratively with yours as needed, onsite or independently.
Services included in a financial health checkup typically fall into one or more of these categories:
1. Controls and Procedures
Is your organization doing everything it can to prevent and detect fraud? Having a strong set of internal controls can help. The key to success is selecting the controls that are most appropriate based on the complexity of your organization. Our team of not-for-profit experts has worked with organizations of all sizes so we know what works … and what doesn’t. And because we understand your limited resources, our recommendations are designed to leverage your existing staff, volunteers, and budget.
2. Financial Reporting
Both donors and board members use financial reports as a decision-making tool, but in differing ways. Improving your financial reporting so that both sides receive what they need begins with a tracking system that facilitates accurate and timely reporting. Is your accounting software optimized for the not-for-profit environment? Are you utilizing your chart of accounts to the fullest extent? Could your board use a refresher on how to understand your financial statements and to use them as a marketing tool? We make sure that all of your financial reporting efforts are aligned in telling the story that you want various audiences to hear.
3. Board Governance
Decision-making is one of the most crucial functions of a board and has a lasting impact on the organization’s financial health. In our experience, the most successful boards have a set of policies that provide a framework for consistency and encourage ethical behavior. We can help your board craft governance policies around gift acceptance, conflict of interest, investments and reserves, and executive compensation. We can even provide training to ensure that your board is fully aware of when and how to apply the policies.
4. Planning for the Future
Perhaps your organization is about to embark on a capital campaign or perhaps you are experiencing rapid growth. Situations like these often trigger the need for a deeper look into your financial management practices to ensure your organization can effectively navigate the transition. Our team can help prepare for what’s ahead by proactively assessing the impact of these changes and recommending the right steps to maintain long-term financial health, including preparation for a successful first audit.
5. Board Training
An educated board is an effective board. In conjunction with a financial health check-up, Jacobson Jarvis can provide a number of in-depth training sessions focused on improving your board’s understanding of financial statements, governance policies and effective financial management practices.
Because our financial health check-ups are customized for each of our clients, project scope and fee structures will vary across organizations.