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?
A. 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.
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.
A. 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?
A. 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 email@example.com.
Q. I am the new treasurer for our chapter. Could you please tell me how long the chapter needs to keep old financial records?
A. According to the Chapter Charter Agreement, chapters should keep the following records for three years:
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?
A. 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?
A. 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?
A. 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?
A. 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?
A. 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 if there was activity in any of the three months:
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?
A. 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 listed below. Contact the Chapter Department for a certificate copy.
Q. Where can I obtain the forms that I need to submit?
A. 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?
A. 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.
** Please submit your questions about chapter financial management and/or Good Standing to firstname.lastname@example.org. Thank you!