AICPA Survey Shows Four in Five Favor Finance Training for Not-for-Profit Staff

Americans value the work and contributions of the nation’s not-for-profit organizations. Now, in a finding that provides further evidence of the sector’s growing economic importance, a public opinion survey conducted for the AICPA has revealed that nearly four in five Americans believe not-for-profit employees should be exposed to the same training as finance professionals at other businesses.

Seventy-nine percent of those surveyed in a recent ORC International CARAVAN® survey for the AICPA reported that they have donated money to or volunteered for a not-for-profit organization (such as a charity, foundation, social welfare or advocacy group or religious organization). In addition, specialized professional training was an important consideration for a significant majority – 78%. They believe employees of not-for-profits should get the same training and resources as other finance professionals.

The survey results will provide incentive for accountants and others who work in or with the nation’s not-for-profit sector to consider earning a certificate of educational achievement for their work in this important field through the AICPA’s new Not-for-Profit (NFP) Certificate Program. The NFP Certificate Program, which is being launched today, is a 40-hour on-demand experience covering the essentials of not-for-profit financial responsibility.

The needs of each of the nation’s 1.5-million not-for-profit entities differ substantially, and those advising them on financial matters may not necessarily be CPAs. The Certificate Program will allow all of these individuals to earn an award of educational achievement for their knowledge in the areas of accounting, tax, audit risk and governance.

“Tens of thousands of CPAs are involved with not-for-profits as external advisors, employees or board members,” says Clar Rosso, AICPA vice president for member learning and competency. “Beyond that, nonprofit employment accounts for approximately 10% of total employment in the United States. So there are a significant number of individuals – CPAs and others – who we believe will welcome and benefit from the opportunity to earn a certificate for their important work.”

More than half of those polled in the CARAVAN® survey – 57%– would be more likely to donate money to a not-for-profit whose employees receive regular updates about financial management issues and trends. “That should serve as a call for not-for-profit executives and board members to encourage their staff to pursue the necessary competencies,” Rosso added.

Next month, the AICPA will offer membership in a not-for-profit section that will provide timely communications, education opportunities, tools and resources for individuals who work with or for not-for-profit entities.