Table of Contents

Finance services

Max Dana Updated by Max Dana

Financial Operations

Accounts payable and receivable

System

Xero, ArtsPool app

What ArtsPool staff does

We use our custom web application (the “ArtsPool app”) to get your approval on any payments and to receive information on any cash receipts and receivables, which are then recorded in Xero.

We can send receivable invoices to your contracting parties via Xero when you request it or provide you with a PDF invoice to send.

What member staff does

You are responsible for responding to requests for approval to make payments within the ArtsPool app and should submit bills for payment and receivable invoices by sending that information into the ArtsPool app.

We are not involved in collections for open receivables, so you should be prepared to follow up on expected payments. We do not communicate with your vendors or customers directly, aside from sending invoices and bill payments.

Payments and deposits

System

Xero, ArtsPool app, Checkeeper

What ArtsPool staff does

Once you approve payments through the ArtsPool app, we make those payments through Checkeeper, an online check fulfillment service that integrates with Xero. Alternatively we can provide PDF checks for you to print in house on your own printable check stock. We also process online electronic payments as required by vendors. When necessary, we periodically review uncashed checks with you.

We make payments on bills at the time that approval is received. If payment is required at a later date (e.g. for cash flow purposes), you should approve the bill for payment at that time. We do not make any payments without explicit approval from your bank signatory or other authorized user in the ArtsPool app.

What member staff does

You provide a digital signature of an authorized check signer for check processing by Checkeeper during onboarding. You can view the status of payments in the ArtsPool app and/or in Xero if desired but we handle the payments as soon as approval is received. If you want a PDF check to print on your check stock, just let us know when submitting the bill for payment.

Bank statement reconciliation

System

Xero

What ArtsPool staff does

We access your bank activity through a bank feed linked directly to your books in Xero and reconcile your accounts monthly. We also access your bank and credit card online logins through our password manager (see below) in order to access monthly statements or to research transactions. We do not take over any authority on your account.

What member staff does

You can view the reconciliation status of your accounts in Xero, and/or request a report from us through the ArtsPool app.

Recording and reconciling credit card charges

System

Xero

What ArtsPool staff does

When possible we will activate Xero bank feeds for credit card(s). We will request supporting documentation for these transactions from your staff as new items come into these bank feeds. Reconciliation is ongoing and matching monthly card statements are stored as supporting documentation.

What member staff does

It is important for you to tell us which of your staff or board hold company credit cards, so that feeds from these cards can be set up for reconciliation in Xero. Any person holding a company card will be asked to provide receipts, coding, and/or other details to reconcile these transactions.

Payment processor transaction reconciliation

System

Xero, Google Sheets

What ArtsPool staff does

If your payment processor does not already integrate with Xero, assuming that costs are equal or better, we may suggest using a service that does integrate. Otherwise, we will download CSV files from the payment processor and prepare reconciliation, allocation, and general ledger entries.

What member staff does

You should consider using payment processors that integrate with Xero to facilitate our work with you. If you use payment processors that do not integrate with Xero, you will need to provide us with the information that we need to access, categorize, and reconcile data from the payment processor.

Recording and reconciling individual and board contributions

System

Xero, your donor management system

What ArtsPool staff does

We provide information from Xero for you to reconcile your donor management systems, and we will recode donations based on information you provide. We can also advise on best practices to manage donor databases and keep them up to date with the books.

We can distribute Board pledge documents for signature annually and enter signed pledges in the books, provided that your pledge form can be templatized for bulk sending via our digital signature system. We are not, however, responsible for tracking Board pledge fulfillment.

What member staff does

We will not use the books as a donor management system. If you want to track donations on some level of data beyond the Charts of Accounts and Program/Activity level, you must do this in a separate donor management system. You must provide accurate coding of donations, particularly with regard to separating individual contributions from fundraising event purchases; we are not responsible for determining this distinction based on dates, backup materials, or other sources.

You are responsible for tracking pledge fulfillment and following up with Board members regarding payment Board pledges that we have circulated to Board members for digital signature.

Inventory management, sales tax tracking and filing

System

Xero, Google Drive, state filing portals

What ArtsPool staff does

We track New York State sales tax on taxable sales in your books and assist you with required New York State sales tax filings, but we do not track or manage inventory. ArtsPool will record changes in inventory and cost of goods sold based on the data you provide annually, or more often as desired. Currently, we can support tracking and filing sales tax in New York State only.

What member staff does

Member is responsible for maintaining inventory, including the number of items on hand and the original cost. Member is responsible for counting inventory and providing an updated total value of inventory to ArtsPool on at least an annual basis, for purposes of year-end reconciliation. Members may provide data on inventory movements on a quarterly or monthly basis if desired for more up-to-date data in the books and budget. If taxable sales are a significant part of your earned revenue, we can recommend systems that you can use for your internal inventory tracking.

Because we currently only support sales tax tracking and filing in New York State, you are responsible for tracking and filing sales tax in other states or countries if you are doing business outside of New York. You are also responsible for ensuring that you are collecting sales tax on taxable goods and reporting these sales to your ArtsPool team.

Financial Maintenance

Fiscal controls and general financial management

System

Various

What ArtsPool staff does

We do not manage your internal controls or make financial or cash flow decisions on your behalf, but we will support you in accessing the tools with which we manage your financial data so that you are able to interpret it and leverage it for strategic decision making. We maintain policy templates and have resources of good practices, and if you have a question about your fiscal controls policy we'll try to help you answer it and recommend further expertise as needed.

What member staff does

You keep responsibility for all financial decision making, as well as the adoption and enforcement of internal fiscal controls. We require approvals from an authorized signatory on all bill payments, but other transactions requiring approval -- e.g. reimbursements, receivable invoices, etc -- should be flagged for approval at the time of submission.

Chart of accounts maintenance

System

Xero

What ArtsPool staff does

We set up and maintain your chart of accounts in Xero, a web-based accounting system. During onboarding, your chart of accounts will be converted to the master chart of accounts that we use for all members. Your specific chart of accounts will use a subset of this master chart of accounts that meets your management needs and aligns with various reporting requirements.

To ensure standardization and efficiency, we cannot change the master chart of accounts based on one-off requests from members. However, when a common need is identified across the entire membership, we will occasionally change it in consultation with our governance committees made up of member and ArtsPool staff.

What member staff does

You will have the opportunity to approve our initial setup of your chart of accounts at onboarding, but you should be sure to let us know of any tracking needs that change over time. We understand that certain unique tracking structures are sometimes required, but together we operate with the understanding that consistency keeps costs down.

Maintenance of balance sheet, reports, and schedules

System

Xero, Google Sheets

What ArtsPool staff does

We keep your balance sheet and other reports up-to-date in Xero. Additionally, we’ll provide key reports as part of monthly and quarterly packages. Certain balance sheet schedules that are reviewed as part of the annual audit will be maintained on an ongoing basis in spreadsheets.

Our standard templates provide clear and easily legible data that is useful to a variety of stakeholders. We do not provide bespoke reports or reformat data for view preferences, but we can point you to resources for creating your own.

What member staff does

You can view your balance sheet and other reports at any time in Xero. Sharing current budget details on a regular basis allows us to keep the budget reports we provide monthly and quarterly up-to-date and accurate. If you need bespoke report formats beyond our standard reports, we can point you to resources to help you create those reports directly in Xero or in Google Sheets.

Allocation of revenue and expense to programs

System

Xero, Google Sheets

What ArtsPool staff does

We allocate revenue and expense with each transaction entry according to budget and coding you provide through the ArtsPool app.

What member staff does

Your prompt responses to requests for coding ensure a timely monthly and annual books close that in turn provides you with the most accurate data for decision making. Requests generally decrease over time as we become familiar with your programs and activity.

Operating, capital, program, and grant budget maintenance

System

Xero, Google Sheets

What ArtsPool staff does

We convert your budgets to Google Sheets and maintain them in Google Drive where you can easily access them. On a monthly basis, we will gather input from appointed staff, compare your transactional activity to your budget, review any discrepancies, and update the budget documents accordingly. To maintain fidelity of the data in these documents, we grant you comment-only access to these documents and make all changes ourselves in consultation with your staff.

We will also prepare long-range budget planning (with your input) in the context of a grant request that requires it, but not otherwise. We can provide a pro-forma template tool that you can use for this type of long-range planning if needed.

We help you develop grant budgets that make sense within the context of your historical, working, and projected budgets. We will not present unrealistic projections as a strategy for fundraising (or for any other purpose), nor do we prepare or populate speculative materials with prospective numbers outside of our normal budget planning or grants process.

What member staff does

We will not make any changes to your budget without your input, so you should communicate any expected (or unexpected) budget or spending changes to us on a regular basis. You have access to the same transactional and budgetary data that we do, and we rely on you to review the monthly budget and transaction reports that we provide for any items requiring adjustment. If pricing research is required, that is your responsibility, though we will share information on pricing from prior research or other members if we have it.

You prepare your own long-range budgets if these budgets are not a requirement of specific grant applications, as well as any speculative materials with prospective numbers you might want for scenario planning.

Ongoing transaction review and monthly budget updates

System

Xero, Google Sheets

What ArtsPool staff does

We provide designated staff with a monthly budget update for comment through Google Sheets/Google Drive. Generally, we utilize the following spreadsheets as part of ongoing review and update:

  • Operating budget/actual/forecast with prior year comparison
  • Capital activities budget/actual/forecast
  • Program budget detail
  • Contributed income detail
  • Payroll and benefits detail and allocation.

We can add reporting of actuals against budget on the Activity level if requested.

What member staff does

You designate the staff who will participate in the budget process, and those staff must review materials in a timely manner in order for our work on your behalf to be up-to-date and accurate.

Support for financial portions of grant applications and reporting

System

Xero, Google Sheets

What ArtsPool staff does

We will provide the data for all budgets and reports for grant applications and reports. The bulk of this work is often on government grants and we will request online access to certain government data portals related to these grants. We will work with your staff or consultants' annual grant calendar to complete prequalification and compliance tasks (e.g. Grants Gateway, DataArts, etc) and prepare and submit necessary financial and workforce data, however we do not enter the application data directly into grant application/reporting portals or submit the application or report on your behalf.

We do not break out grant budgets in higher detail than what is reflected in the Chart of Accounts. Following the first year of service, which is a transition period, we do not prepare reports for grants for which we did not prepare the application.

What member staff does

You must inform us about upcoming grant application/report deadlines for which financial reports are needed; we generally ask for two weeks notice for these types of requests. You are responsible for creating any and all narrative materials, coordinating with us to prepare financial reports, and entering financial data prepared by us into the relevant grant application/reporting portal.

If you prepared the financial materials for the grant application without support from ArtsPool, you are also responsible for completing the financial portion of the interim or final report for the grant.

Financial reports for Board of Directors

System

PDF

What ArtsPool staff does

We can prepare reports for your board of directors upon request as submitted to the app. We will work with you to establish a report package that works for your organization using our standard templates. Normally, we expect that board reports will include:

  • Notes on financials and forecast
  • Operating budget
  • Capital activities
  • Program budget detail
  • Contributed income detail
  • Cash flow projection
  • Balance sheet.

While we do not lead financial presentations to your Board members or other stakeholders, we will help you confidently report on your data and we can participate in Finance Committee meetings at your request.

What member staff does

You should submit requests for reports to the app, review them, and inform us of any required adjustments. You should also be prepared to lead any financial presentations to your Board members or other stakeholders at meetings.

Annual financial reports for funders and others

System

PDF

What ArtsPool staff does

If you produce an annual report for your organization, we can provide relevant financial reports to be included.

What member staff does

You must alert us if you would like us to prepare a financial report for your annual report.

Support for annual audits and tax/regulatory filings

System

Xero, ArtsPool app, Google Drive

What ArtsPool staff does

We gather and prepare all of the materials requested by your auditor and/or tax preparer in connection with your annual audit/accountant’s review, IRS 990, and NY State CHAR500 filing. This process will require more involvement from you in the first year of service. In subsequent years, review of the materials we prepare before they are sent to the auditor/tax preparer is likely all that will be required. These materials are collected in Google Drive, to which you have access.

For audits of periods that predate your membership in ArtsPool, we will prepare data to the extent that it can be gleaned from your converted books. If your legacy data is in an outdated system that you cannot access, we can facilitate access if this is set up during onboarding.

We do not generate confirmation letters for audit, but we will provide data for the letters to the auditor.

After the first full year of service, we do not compile any backup materials for audit from legacy systems nor do we participate in on-site audits, but we can provide data from our current systems as needed.

What member staff does

In your first year as an ArtsPool member, you are responsible for coordinating your audit/accountant’s review, IRS 990, and NY State CHAR500 filing with your auditor. ArtsPool may be able to provide some assistance, but we do not participate in a substantive role. Thereafter, ArtsPool will work directly with your auditor to prepare your audit materials and tax/regulatory filings, requesting information from you as needed, and handing off to you at the final stage for approvals.

How did we do?

What ArtsPool does: an overview

Workforce Administration services

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