Audit, Tax & Consulting For Charter Schools & Charter Management Organizations
AAFCPAs’ Education Practice works closely with diverse academic institutions and Education Services clients spanning K-12 charter schools and charter management organizations (CMOs), private schools, special education schools, Education Services, and higher education. We serve start-up charter schools, mature multi-site proven providers, schools that are expanding, as well as the leading Charter Management Organizations (CMOs) in the country. Many clients began their trusted relationship with us at the time they were granted their charters and remain proponents of AAFCPAs’ exceptional value.
Our valuable expertise has been earned through years of auditing and operational consulting in this industry. The longevity and depth of our attention and impact on this industry makes us unique. We are intimately familiar with best practices in how charter schools and CMOs operate at every stage of development, including experience with diverse private, federal, and state funders of these schools. 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.
Primary Reasons Charter School/CMO Clients Appreciate AAFCPAs
Guidance on Regulatory Oversight – AAFCPAs is known and respected, 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 as they attain or renew their charter, comply with the state audit guides, and 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 Rehabilitation 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 and 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.
Facility 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.
Accounting Standards – We have extensive experience auditing schools in accordance with both the Financial Accounting Standards Board (FASB) and with Government Accounting Standards Board (GASB) regulations, and we are able to clearly communicate the difference between FASB and GASB standards. This allows clients to analyze and interpret financial information in a meaningful way, accurately track their financial positions, and make informed decisions.
Benchmarking – Our depth of experience in the charter school industry allows us to provide unique industry averages and 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 interpret and 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. Our Education Practice leaders have presented interactive workshops for the past two years at the annual National Charter Schools Conference. We host semi-annual Charter School Roundtables so clients may meet with peers to discuss challenges and share solutions to business office issues.
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
- Managed Accounting Solutions: Right-size, outsourced accounting solutions, from cloud-based bookkeeping to high level CFO oversight
- Business Performance, Internal Controls & IT Advisory
- Institutional investment advice, money management, financial planning & consulting, executive deferred compensation & retirement plan consulting, and succession planning solutions
- Fiduciary guidance and investment advisory solutions for employee benefit plan sponsors
- Technical Accounting Advisory: Implementation of new accounting standards, assistance with complex operational and financial transactions, audit preparation
When my co-founder and I reflect on our journey of successfully founding and running a charter school, AAFCPAs is part of the historical “all-star team”. I knew from the very beginning that AAFCPAs was trustworthy. Their authenticity shines, they keep their commitments, their pricing is fair, and their financial expertise is top-notch. The service we receive is best described as concierge level. The superior responsiveness from AAFCPAs sets the gold standard at Map Academy.
The Map Academy Charter School | Josh Charpentier, Co-Founder & Co-Director