|Resource Links: CPA Firms
|Other Resource / Link pages:
Crosby & Kaneda
CPA firm dedicatedly serving nonprofits in the Bay Area. They combine stout accounting guidance
and independence with a genuine care for, and involvement with the sector as well as excellent
politics. In July 05, taught a day-long Lorman seminar with Hilary Crosby on Tax Issues for Exempt
Organizations. Seems every time I look at a local nonprofit that interests me, Hilary is their auditor!
|MIKE FONTANELLO &
Fontanello, Duffield &
Well-grounded in tax theory, Mike Fontanello and Carol Duffield provide help to a number of
prominent advocacy-oriented and philanthropic nonprofits. They have been consistently generous
with their time and spirit, mentoring me, teaching me, and never refusing a call, even on the busiest
days of the year (when I forget, for example, that not everyone is on a May 15 reporting schedule).
They bring a seasoned mix of knowledge, and aren't easily intimidated by stupid redundant rules.
They have a strong practice in private wealth and private foundations, but I've also seen them tackle
large advocacy organizations of various types. Amazing versatility for a very small firm.
Gary McGee & Co.
|gary at garymcgee dot com, 503-222-2515 (2/7/13: still don't seem to have one of
these interweb sites, which is very odd given the generally fashion-forward interior of
their offices and gorgeous graphical financials they produce! :) Don't let that deter
Gary McGee & Associates specializes in nonprofit accounting and tax, and operates at the highest
level of mastery in the field, combining both tax and GAAP expertise to advise clients effectively. Gary
is a treasure and Portland is lucky to have someone practicing at his caliber and in such a caring
different from the days when he was a one man operation!. He's one of the kindest people I know,
and manages to juggle a busy practice yet invest continuously in his own knowledge base; his
comments to me have presaged entire trends in the industry. I'm lucky to count him as a mentor and
Armanino, LLP is often touted for its placement on many of the "best places to work" lists. In the
course of some recent work, I asked a number of colleagues about them, and what I kept hearing
was "they seem happy...I have a feeling it actually is a good place to work, else they wouldn't seem
happy; and their work is great!"
I first met Esther Ratterree, then a partner at Armanino McKenna LLP in the consulting area
specializing on nonprofits in 2005 (now retired, effective 1/1/2013, huge loss to the sector!). I had
assumed an interim Finance Director engagement, and had to rapidly get myself up to speed on the
mind-numbingly "powerful" (a/k/a complex) Blackbaud fund accounting software in order to
understand the client's costs in a five-segment chart of accounts with a sixth grant / job code (500
page general ledger!) Esther provided me with a day of tutoring. (It's the most I have ever personally
invested in professional services). I found her articulate, responsive, and of course, expert in her
field. Later, one of her staff provided me with remote support, and that worked flawlessly.
Barbara Cyphers, a tax partner, and the ever-capable Tammy Sugihara later became colleagues and
occasional clients for technical background on tax exemption matters; I am not sure if Barbara is still
in this role, but Tammy is still a stalwart (though not (yet?) a principal). Most recently in an interim
engagement, Bill Brause, Liz Marek and Grace Williams were my audit team and I really appreciated
their ability to focus on true issues that are material as well as the overall assessment of the
organization's capacity to make informed decisions on matters requiring interpretation. And finally,
their patience with my own disorganization as I was drinking from the proverbial fire hose. Bill Brause
and Paul O'Grady are audit partners; I suspect Bill has a healthcare focus and Paul the main
nonprofit focus, but this is speculation.
So far, all contacts I have had with the firm confirm their commitment to being a high-quality firm and
maintaining a high-morale organization.
Hydeh Ghaffari [HIGH-day GHA-far-ie] and her firm Ghaffari Zaragoza also specialize in serving
nonprofits here in the Bay Area. I have heard Hydeh give impressively clear information about the lack
of clarity on the meaning of "overhead" and "indirect" expenses. Hydeh is also a nationally-known
teacher of Federal grant accounting rules and negotiated indirect cost rates.
Brown and Cold
David Karlsson, through Brown and Cold, An Accountancy Corporation, is another CPA working to
specialize in nonprofit and charitable giving matters. Brown and Cold provide audit and assurance,
though I wish many donors had better advice, say, when giving through a fiscal sponsor.) David got
in touch with me when checking Google ratings (more fun than your own site stats!). In addition to his
work with Brown and Cold, he has large firm experience with Burr, Pilger & Meyer, I think on a contract
basis. The large firms have been having trouble staying staffed up with the skill level they need to
charge the rates they charge - I know it's the same way in law firms serving the tax and corporate
needs of nonprofits. Nonetheless, the range of firms is bound to strengthen David's work.
I first met Dennis Johnson when he was our tax partner when I was CFO of the Association for of the
of Basic Rights Oregon when I was Finance Director, so I know he cares. The McDonald Jacobs
(Dennis' firm) website has an unusual and intriguing pitch: "At McDonald Jacobs, we know we're
different. We're okay with that--and our clients are too." Nonprofits are the fist listed area of business
on the site. (The pitch reminds me of the joke: "What's the definition of normal?" A: "Someone you
don't know.") I've done some work with them making presentations, and occasionally kick around tax
questions with Sang Ahn as a colleague (if I may dare say so :).
|M. TONY POHL
Tony Pohl is another Bay Area CPA who invests in his ongoing education about issues in the sector
and whom I've seen tackle thorny client matters. He specializes in the audit and accounting side,
speaking, and is (was? I think he is at least semi-retired now) lead named partner of Pohl, McNabola,
Berg & Company, LLP.
particularly serving Labor and also with expertise on campaign finance reporting.
Mindi VanEvery is a CPA practicing in Albquerque with her husband Karl VanEvery and a couple other
professionals. I work with Mindi on a shared client with interesting nonprofit tax compliance issues
size, and with constant attention to staying abreast and investing time in learning this ever-changing
field. Without that attention, clients are lost. This firm is a good choice for groups in the Southwest.
Elliott Buckdruker is a solo practitioner (with the "coolest" office on the list, down on a pier) who is
steady demeanor of an experienced professional.
|CHRISTINE L. MANOR
Rockville, MD (D.C.)
|for Nonprofit Organizations which spells out how to use QuickBooks in a very advanced way where
Classes at the first level represent each class of Net Assets, and then at the sub-class level different
programs or functions or sub-groups of temporarily restricted net assets, and where Customers =
Funders and Jobs = Grants. In addition, Christine tells me that she is the "keeper" of the Unified
Chart of Accounts, discussed on the Resources - Information & Publications page.