FAQs: Financial/Good Standing

Accounting Software

Q. If I use a computer accounting program such as Quicken or Quick Books, do I still need to complete the Bank Reconciliation, Cash Receipts and Cash Disbursements forms?
No, on two of the three forms.  Quicken generates a report that will substitute the Cash Receipt and Cash Disbursement Forms. The chapter still needs to complete the Bank Reconciliation Form, attach the bank statements and then attach the Quicken report in the Miscellaneous Attachment area, to have a complete financial report submission. For questions, contact the Chapter Financial Coordinator at ChapterFinancials@aacn.org or (800) 394-5995, ext. 367. 

Chapter Budgets/Finances

Q. Our chapter planning committee members are having a discussion regarding the amount of money the chapter is/is not supposed to have in the checking account. I was hoping you can help clarify.

We currently have about $9,000-$10,000 in the bank. And there are a few members who think that it is too much money for a not-for-profit chapter to have in the bank. A few think that we should only have $3,000 in the bank. However, I told them that according to the “FAQs: Financial/Good Standing” on the AACN website, it states that "...chapters should have enough operating funds for one year's operations."

Our biggest event is the annual symposium/conference, and it costs about $10,000 total. I told them that we needed to have enough money in the bank to cover this event in case the unthinkable happens, and we have no one showing up and paying for the event.
Thanks for your question. You are correct. AACN recommends having enough money in the chapter account to cover one year's operating expenses. So you need to have enough to cover your symposium in the event of a "worst case scenario." If it costs $10,000 to put on that event, and you have no other events for the year, then you need to have at least $10,000 in the bank.

Q. The past treasurer told me our chapter cannot show a profit on our budget. That doesn’t make sense to me. Don’t we have to have an income in order to keep running year to year?
I don't understand your past treasurer's statement, except that they might have been thinking your chapter should not have a lot of excess funds, which is somewhat true. Ideally, chapters should have enough operating funds for one year's operations. Many chapters have more money than that, and will invest the excess to help produce income for future chapter events, and even donate money to charities or the AACN Scholarship Fund. Our Finance Department is available, if needed, to help counsel chapters on how to invest their excess funds. If you need help with your budget, please let us know at chapters@aacn.org

Financial Reporting

 Q. I am the new treasurer for our chapter. Could you please tell me how long the chapter needs to keep old financial records?
According to the Chapter Charter Agreement, chapters should keep the following records for three years: 

  • Business Records:
    • Meeting minutes from all Committee Meetings
    • Meeting minutes from all Chapter Board Meetings
    • Membership Records
  • Financial Records:
    • Bank Statements
    • Cash Receipts Records
    • Cash Disbursement Records
    • Bank Reconciliation Statements
    • Quarterly Financial Reports

Q. I faxed my quarterly financial report, annual check signer and annual chapter audit forms before the 8/15 deadline on 8/1, but my chapter’s Good Standing grid didn’t show "completed" until 8/3. Why?
First, thank you for submitting your reports before the deadline! We encourage all chapters to submit their reports as soon as they are ready, rather than waiting for the deadline.

Second, all faxed reports and forms have to be reviewed for completeness before they are marked as "completed" on the Good Standing grid. Therefore, please allow five business days after submission of your financial reporting forms for your status to be updated on your Good Standing grid.

Q. If my chapter has completed any financial reporting forms ahead of the "due date" on the website, can I submit them?
Yes! National has set the due date for quarterly Chapter Financial Reports 45 days after the close of the quarter. With many chapters using online banking, they can print bank statements and complete financial reports very quickly after the close of the quarter, and we encourage you to do so and submit your reports as soon as you complete them.

Q. My chapter is not in "good standing" because of missing financial reports from previous years. I don't have any way to get all the required information to complete the missing financial reports. What should I do?
All chapters are required to keep their records for three years. However, if this happens, please notify the Chapter Financial Coordinator at ChapterFinancials@aacn.org or (800) 394-5995, ext. 367.

Q. If there was no activity in any of our chapter's bank accounts for a given month, do I still need to complete all the financial forms?
No, the only thing that National requires is the bank statement for that given month to confirm there was no activity.

Q. Our chapter is very diligent about submitting our quarterly financial reports on time. Yet, we’re sometimes contacted that we haven’t turned in our reports, and then have to send them in again. Why is that?
We applaud your efforts to submit your financial reports according to the due dates. Oftentimes there’s confusion about what constitutes complete financials. Chapters must include all of the following items in each quarterly report: 

  • Bank statements for the three-month reporting period = three pieces
  • Cash receipts records for the three-month reporting period = three pieces
  • Cash disbursement records for the three-month reporting period = three pieces
  • Bank reconciliation records for the three-month reporting period = three pieces
  • Total number of pieces that constitute complete quarterly financials = 12 total pieces

If any of these pieces are not submitted, your financials are considered "incomplete." The online chapter financial reporting forms make it very easy to submit all the necessary documents. It’s also important to remember that any questions you have related to chapter finances should be directed to the Chapter Financial Coordinator at ChapterFinancials@aacn.org or (800) 394-5995, ext. 367.

Q. Is my chapter “sales tax exempt” because AACN is a non-profit organization?
No. Chapters are not “sales tax exempt” simply because they are part of AACN. A chapter must apply for sales tax exempt status from the state in which the chapter resides. Currently, the states that AACN is “sales tax exempt” in are the following: 

  • Florida
  • Indiana
  • Massachusetts
  • New Jersey
  • New York
  • Texas

Q. Where can I obtain the forms that I need to submit?
All forms are located on the Chapter area of the website under Chapter Forms.

Q. Our chapter awarded two NTI scholarships to chapter members. Is there anything special we need to note on our Quarterly Financial Report?
Any chapter that gives money as a grant or scholarship needs to include it on the Cash Disbursements Worksheet, in your Quarterly Financial Report, using expense code 53002. Make sure to include the recipient's name, address and amount they were awarded — you can record that information directly below the worksheet itself or on the next tab/page. This information is required for National AACN to include on its Federal tax return.

Likewise, whenever a chapter receives any grant or scholarship money, they need to record it on their Cash Receipts Worksheet, in their Quarterly Financial Report, using revenue code 41408. Make sure to include who the money was received from, their address and the amount received — you can record that information directly below the worksheet itself, or on the next tab/page. This information is also used in preparation of National AACN's annual federal tax return.

Also, don't forget that all sponsorship and grant agreements must be reviewed and approved by National AACN before you enter into or sign them. 

Non-Employee Compensation Form

Q. If I pay an individual an honorarium less than $600 in a year, am I required to complete the Non-Employee Compensation Form and submit it to National AACN for that year?
Yes. Because all chapters operate under National AACN's federal tax ID number, AACN must report the cumulative total paid to all individuals, by all chapters, on one form. This information is gathered from the individual Non-Employee Compensation forms submitted by each chapter.

This means that even if your specific chapter may have only paid an individual $200 during the calendar year, that same individual may have spoken at other chapters during the same year, and National AACN is responsible for reporting all monies paid to that individual. Therefore, all chapters should keep a record of all non-employees you pay money to in a calendar year and then submit the Non-Employee Compensation form to AACN National.

Even if your chapter did not pay out any money to non-employees, your chapter should still submit the form with "$0 – no money paid out this year" noted on the form, so that we have the appropriate paperwork, should the IRS request to see our records. The form is for a complete calendar year — January 1 through December 31 — and should be submitted to National AACN by the following January 15th. (For example, the 2008 Non-Employee Compensation Form is for January 1, 2008, through December 31, 2008. It should be submitted by January 15, 2009.)

Q. It is the end of the year and in reviewing my chapter's records, we have paid individuals for honorariums, but never recorded their tax ID # and address and now have no way of contacting them. What should we do?
Even if your chapter did not obtain any of this information, please include at least the individual's name and the amount that you paid them on the Non-Employee Compensation Form. Since many of these individuals will speak at several chapter programs, chances are we have the required information from another chapter or it is currently in our system. However, you should not assume that is the case. To avoid the headache and frustration of trying to get this information at year-end, please make a point to request this information from the individual prior to paying them any honorarium. This is done by having that individual complete the W9-Speaker Form, which is located in the Chapter Resource Library, under the header of Chapter Finances.

Q. We gave one of our chapter members a scholarship to attend NTI. Do we need to add that payment to the Non-Employee Compensation Form?
No. This would be a chapter expense (scholarship), so you would not include it on the Non-Employee Compensation Form. The Non-Employee Compensation Form is to record money your chapter paid to someone when you "hired" them to perform a service. An example is when you hire a speaker to present at a chapter event and pay the speaker an honorarium.

Q. We are planning a chapter educational event with local speakers, one of whom is not charging us an honorarium. We are paying her airfare and accommodations for one night. Do we still need her to fill out a W-9 Form?
No. You do not need to have that speaker submit a W9 and would not include that individual on your Non-Employee Compensation Form.

Q. Our chapter paid out money to six different individuals this year. There are only three payment sections on the form, so how do we list all six?
You can submit the information using more than one form. Fill out the first form, type “Form 1 of 2” in the comments section and click on “Submit.” Open a new form, list the remaining information and type “Form 2 of 2” in the comments section.

** Please submit your questions about chapter financial management and/or Good Standing to chapters@aacn.org. Thank you!