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Charter Schools & CMOs

We know first-hand the unique challenges that charter schools face, including issues related to start-up and replication, funding, and surplus calculations.

Charter Schools & CMOs

Audit, Tax & Consulting For Charter Schools & Charter Management Organizations

Nearly half of all the charter schools in Massachusetts are satisfied AAF clients and strong proponents of our CPA firm. Many have been clients since the time they were granted their charter. We work with both start-up schools and multi-site proven providers, including some of the leading Charter Management Organizations (CMOs) in the country. We are intimately familiar with how charter schools operate at every stage of development.

We know first-hand the unique challenges that charter schools face, including issues related to start-up and replication, funding, surplus calculations, and overcoming political opposition. AAF clients benefit from a team with comprehensive knowledge and expertise that passionately believes in the educational mission of charter schools.


Regulatory Relations – We relate well with regulators, such as the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE), and we help clients attain or renew their charter, comply with the DESE audit guide, and provide narratives in annual reports that resonate well with authorities. We are frequently called upon by the DESE for advice.

Debt Financing – We have a deep knowledge of all new, existing, and changing debt financing options and tax credits, including: Qualified Zone Academy Bonds (QZABs) and Qualified School Construction Bonds (QSCBs), new markets tax credits, federal and state historic tax credits, as well as exit strategies for expiring tax credits. We have expertise with the accounting and reporting requirements for all financing vehicles.

Fundraising Support – We know how to optimize your fundraising structures, and help you tell your financial story effectively to benefactors and grant providers.

Building Finance Strategy – We are a trusted resource to help clients understand the financial impact of various building finance strategies marketed to them, and to work with consultants to optimize their implementation. Many of these complex strategies involve establishing separate real estate holding companies, and our clients benefit from close consultation.

Accounting Standards – We have extensive experience auditing in accordance with Government Accounting Standards Board (GASB) regulations and clearly communicating the difference between FASB and GASB standards.

Benchmarking – Utilizing our databases, AAF can demonstrate to clients how they compare to composite averages. We can provide a picture of where you stand competitively on revenues per student, return on fundraising expenses, occupancy costs, net assets, working capital, and other measures.

Proactive Services for Charter Schools

  • Regulatory compliance.
  • Review of internal controls and financial management for best practices.
  • Preparation of surplus revenue calculation for optimal results.
  • Recommendations based on benchmarking results.
  • Advise you of upcoming regulatory changes to determine potential impact.
  • Provide accounting and reporting for expanded learning time or extra-curricular programs.
  • Advise on tax-exempt bonds and other financing programs to assist with campus expansion.
  • Evaluate financial and personnel resource allocations.
  • Provide financial training for your board of trustees, management and personnel.