Audit, Tax & Consulting For Charter Schools & Charter Management Organizations
AAFCPAs’ Education Practice advises both start-up charter schools and multi-site proven providers, as well as the leading Charter Management Organizations (CMOs) in the country. Our valuable expertise has been earned through years of auditing and operational consulting in this industry, and makes us unique. We are intimately familiar with best practices in how charter schools and CMOs operate at every stage of development. We are involved and passionate supporters of the charter school movement!
In addition to best-value assurance and exceptional tax expertise, AAFCPAs provides guidance on areas critical to the success of our charter school/CMO clients.
PROACTIVE SOLUTIONS FOR CHARTER SCHOOL/CMO CLIENTS:
- Regulatory compliance
- Review of internal controls and financial management for best practices
- Preparation of Massachusetts’ 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, Qualified Zone Academy Bonds (QZABs), Qualified School Construction Bonds (QSCBs), New Market Tax Credits, 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
- Performance enhancement services
- Real estate activity
- Audit readiness
- Internal IT systems review
- Budgeting and forecasting
- Internal controls
- Accounting assistance
Guidance on Regulatory Oversight – AAFCPAs is well known and has professional relationships with state regulators, including the Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE), and we are frequently called upon for advisement. This familiarity has been helpful to clients, and positively impacts their credibility with these regulatory bodies. We advise clients has they attain or renew their charter, comply with the DESE audit guide, and we provide narratives in annual reports that resonate well with authorities.
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 proven expertise with the accounting and reporting requirements for all financing vehicles, and provide valued guidance for School’s investing in infrastructure fundamental to their long term viability and success.
Fundraising Support – AAFCPAs has extensive experience advising Schools executing capital campaigns, including guidance on: establishing appropriate accounting and reporting policies & procedures, evaluating fundraising effectiveness ratios, and dispersing funds in accordance with the fundraising intent. We can also provide guidance on the wording of your fundraising collateral so you may avoid common pitfalls, and ensure your appeal language does not have unintended implications on your accounting for the fundraising intent. Further, AAFCPAs appreciates the importance of financial statements to benefactors and donors, and we help clients relay financial information in a way that showcases your best attributes, accurately explains your school’s work, and demonstrates sound governance.
Facilities Financing Strategies – We are a trusted technical resource, providing guidance to clients so they may better understand the financial impact of various building finance strategies marketed to them. Additionally, we collaborate 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. This allows clients to analyze and interpret financial information in a more meaningful way, accurately track their financial positions, and make informed decisions.
Benchmarking – Our depth in the charter school space allows us to provide unique industry averages & peer comparisons. We provide insight to clients on where they stand competitively on financial benchmarks, such as: revenues per student, return on fundraising expenses, occupancy costs, net assets, working capital, and other measures. Further, AAFCPAs helps clients derive more meaning from these key performance indicators so they are better positioned to reach budgeting and revenue expansion goals.
Involved and Passionate Supporters – AAFCPAs is an active participant with the National Alliance for Public Charter Schools, and the Massachusetts Charter Public School Association. AAFCPAs presented, along with our client Uncommon Schools (New York, NY), an interactive workshop to explore key fraud prevention principles and techniques at the annual National Charter Schools Conference. AAFCPAs also hosts semi-annual Charter School Roundtables so clients may meet with peers to discuss challenges and share solutions to business office issues. In addition to guidance on compliance, clients benefit from an audit team deeply immersed in helping charter schools maximize and safeguard their financial resources.
AAFCPAs has significant experience advising Charter Schools and CMOs, including experience with diverse private, federal and state funders of these schools. Many clients began their trusted relationship with us at the time they were granted their charters, and remain proponents of AAFCPAs’ exceptional value.